One of 12 designated National Forests in Taiwan, Neidong National Forest Recreation Area (內洞國家森林遊樂區) is the closest to Taiwan’s capital, Taipei and about 4km past the popular Wulai Waterfall. If you’ve never been, Neidong is a perfect family-friendly destination to enjoy a fantastic day out along easy, meandering hiking trails through a mix of broadleaved and cedar forests. Take in the river views and raging waterfalls, especially the three-tiered Xìnxián Waterfall.
Less than an 1 1/2 hours south of Taipei and with plenty of beautiful scenery and photo opportunities, as well as great trails to explore, Neidong National Forest is a perfect destination for day trips from Taipei.
Wildlife is abundant in this park s birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects are all commonly spotted including multiple kinds of toads, frogs and snakes. The region is particularly well known for its abundance of frogs, so keep your eyes out for our leaping friends.
Along the Nanshi River, there are countless smaller waterfalls however the trails at Neidong National Forest lead to the larger and more beautiful waterfalls that make this park worth the journey.
Hikes/Trails & Points of Interest:
The three trails located inside Neidong National Forest all connect as a loop and make for over 5km of hiking. Taking your time, making stops for snacks, rests and enjoying the natural scenery make this a perfect day trip from Taipei.
Most of the trails at Neidong National Forest are suitable for beginner and novice hikers, and overall the area is accessible for those with strollers or those who require wheelchairs. A wonderful nature experience for all!
Download the Neidong National Forest Park Map here.
Waterfall View Trail (1km) – This trail connects the parking lot, ticketing center, visitor center along a relatively flat and mostly hard surfaced trail. Meander along this trail with views across the Dabao River and to the surrounding mountains. Spot fish in the river and if your lucky, Crested Serpent Eagles perched in the trees above looking for an easy meal. This is a beginner & stroller-friendly trail that features great views, plenty of spots to stop and rest.
Forest Bath Trail (1.7km) – This trail starts between the lower and upper viewing platforms for XinXian Waterfalls and takes hikers south from Nanshi River into the bounty of the recreation area. Enjoy lush sub-tropical forests with seemingly endless greenery for nearly two kilometres before connecting to the Scenic Trail at a small forest pavilion.
Scenic Trail (1.5km) – Connecting to the Forest Bath Trail in the southern stretches of this 11,000 hectare park, this trail also runs north-south and reconnects visitors to Neidong National Forest Recreation Area to the park’s visitor centre. Take in the extensive ferns found along this stretch of the trail network. There are 65 different species that can be found in this area. Don’t forget to look up, as many are found growing out the sides of the towering broadleaf and cedar trees.
Points of Interest:
Visitor Center – The Neidong National Forest Visitor Center is relatively small but offers some bilingual and interactive exhibits on local animal & plant ecology! Washrooms and water are available on site.
XinXian Waterfalls: This stunning waterfall actually consists of three separate levels, each visible from several viewing platforms. Take the time to sit and relax amongst the beautiful Japanese cedars forest that surrounds the falls and encloses it from all sides. Well worth the hike!
Nanshi River (南勢溪) – Meander along the Waterfall View Trail for 1km and take in the frequent beautiful views of the Nanshi River and surrounding area, a major watershed for greater Taipei. At approximately 45km in length, this river is one of the tributaries of the larger Xindian River. After a large rain, this river swells and makes for a spectacular site. If you’re lucky, spot Crested Serpent Eagles or Crested Goshawks perched on dead tree branches overlooking the river.
Valley of Frogs – Wawa Valley, as the area is also known as, is a popular destination for spotting these amphibians. Emerald Tree Frogs are commonly spotted throughout the park and if you get here near dusk just sit and take in the orcastra of sounds. You’ll know why this areas claims this name.
Valley of Ferns – While not an official name, because Neidong National Forest Recreation Area is warm and humid and is located at an elevation between 230 to 800 meters, it is a true paradise for ferns. Find up to 65 species of ferns, including the rare Weeping Phlegmariurus and Lomariopsis cochinchinensis. All of these are delicate guests clinging onto tree trunks, so keep your eyes peeled (up!).