Wanggu Waterfall is a less known set of four waterfalls near Wanggu Station on the Pingxi Railway Line, located in Pingxi District of New Taipei. The short hike from Wanggu Station will take you to a series of waterfalls, with the second waterfall being the biggest. The trail is a pleasant hike and also a relaxing place to swim.
To read a great blog about this place in Chinese, check Willy Chang's incredibly extensive blog of the area here, from which I have pulled some information.
The Pingxi Railway was completed in 1921 during the Japanese Era of Taiwan mainly to transport coal in the area. Wanggu Station was completed in only 1972 as the coal industry was gradually declining. It is an unmanned station, where you are on your honor to buy a ticket and the station you get off at because there is no one working at the station (or use an Easy Card). Wanggu Station was originally named Qinghe Station "慶和車站" after the main coal mine right next to it, but was later named to Wanggu Station in 1989.
There is a broken suspension bridge near the train station, nemed Qinghe Suspension Bridge (慶和吊橋) that used to ship coal from another mine across the Keelung River before it was brought to Wanggu Station.
By the 1990's, Taiwan's coal mining industry was in decline, and it was hard to produce cheap local coal.
As of 2017, there was an average of 18 people a day arriving or leaving from Wanggu Station.
How to get there:
By Train: Take the TRA to Ruifang Station, and then switch to the Pingxi Railway line. Get off at Wanggu Station, and then walk west down the road up the bridge and over the train tracks, you will see the trail to the waterfall at the top of the bridge.
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 east toward Pinglin, then get off the main highway once you reach Shifen. Then turn right and go west on county raod 106 until you reach the Wanggu Station turnoff. After that, you have to drive on a narrow road between old buildings and the train tracks, then cross over the tracks to the hiking trail entrance. Parking is free and plentiful along the road.
Please see below:
I have been to Wanggu Station twice. It is a quite stop along the Pingxi Railway line that not many people stop at. Because I live close to Pingxi, I usually go there by scooter.
There is not much to see here really. If you didn't know there was a waterfall here, why would you get off the train?
Next to Wanggu train station is a camping area where apparently they offer canoe rides down the Keelung River. It sounds really fun actually.
Wanggu Station 望古車站
The station itself (pictured above) is small with a small roof, and usually empty.
Near the station are some derelict buildings. There used to be a restaurant here that shut down a while ago. According to Willy Chang, only two houses next to the station are inhabited.
This part of the road is narrow and only one vehicle can fit through at a time, but you have to go this way to get to the waterfall.
Qinghe Suspension Bridge 慶和吊橋
Qinghe Suspension Bridge (慶和吊橋) was built to transport coal from Qinghe Mine, the main mine next to Wanggu Station, and also bring the mining carts to another mine across the river before finally crossing back to Wanggu Station. Qinghe Mine sits at the end of the tracks to the right.
The other side of the suspension bridge can be seen on the opposite side of the river.
Wanggukeng Bridge 望古坑橋
Next you need to cross the Wanggukeng Bridge (望古坑橋) to cross the tracks and get to the waterfall.
View to the west from the top of Wanggukeng Bridge.
View of sloping bare mountain tops near the trailhead.
The trailhead starts here, and this is where everyone parks.
Tourist map of Wanggu and some illegible English text.
Rock strata near the trail entrance.
Hu Family Ancient House 胡氏古厝
If you go onward up the road to the other trail entrance, you will come across the Hu Family Ancient House (胡氏古厝) which was built by settlers from Fujian during the Qing Dynasty, with many of the family members still living nearby.
Wanggu Waterfall Trail 望古瀑布步道
The trail to Wanggu Waterfall is pretty simple, as can be seen from the map above.
Near the back entrance you can see someone is making good use of the land, as well as recycling bathtubs for agricultural use.
Wanggu Fourth Waterfall 望古四瀑布
In this blog I'm starting from the top and working my way to the bottom. The first waterfall you come across is Wanggu Fourth Waterfall, a small waterfall that comes out of the farmland nearby.
From the fourth waterfall you need to walk down a dirt path until you come to some wooden steps.
There are quite a few steps but the hike will take you only 10 minutes tops.
Wanggu First Waterfall 望古一瀑布
Once you come down the steps you will be greeted by Wanggu First Waterfall, which is the smallest waterfall and the first one you will see coming from the main entrance.
The trail then snakes along the river to the main waterfall.
The water here is deep, which means its a great swimming hole. Be careful to check for rocks before you jump in though.
The Wanggukeng River rises at Zhongyaojien, in the Jien Liao Zhong Mountains and flows south down the Keeling River. Because of the rejuvenation and headward erosion of the upper rock layers here you will find a lot of waterfalls and deep pools results in the deterioration of horizontal strata with different degrees of rock hardness. There are trails that lead to the 1st and 2nd falls but not the 3rd and 4th falls."
Wanggu Second Waterfall 望古二瀑布
The second waterfall is the biggest and most grand, and also has the biggest swimming hole. This is where people will hang out, go swimming, take selfies, set up tripods, and contemplate human existence.
Panorama of the falls.
The water wasn't very big when I came, so maybe the best time to come is during the summer when it is more rainy.
Secondary waterfall to the right. When this waterfall is at full capacity, there is water flowing across the whole wall.
People relaxing at the base of the falls.
Children and parents playing in the stream nearby.
Sun breaking through the forest canopy.
A skylight opens over the falls.
There you have it. What about the third falls you say? There is no trail to it but you can river trace your way there or bushwhack from the trail if you want to for fun. It's not a very high waterfall but it has a sizable pool.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more of our adventures on the Pingxi Railway line!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.