source: Shifen Scenic Area
Shifen Special Scenic Area is located in Shifenliao between Shiding, Ruifang and Shuangxi in northeastern Taiwan. Administratively part of Pingxi District, New Taipei City, the terrain here has been carved by a tributary of the Keelung River, northern Taiwan’s largest and longest river, into a ravine with a dissected topography. The faults and rock formations have given birth to numerous waterfalls along the river extending north from Houtong to Sandiaoling and onwards to Shifenliao and Pingxi. Among the biggest and best known of these falls, and a popular visitor attraction, is Shifen Waterfall.
Shifen Waterfall lies between Dahua Station and Shifen Station on the Pingxi Railway Line in Pingxi District, New Taipei City. Torrents of water thunder down this curtain-type fall like a white satin sheet. As the water plunges into the large, deep pool beneath, it raises mists that often enshroud the falls. On sunny days, the mists paint dazzling rainbows in the blue skies: a sight that has earned the waterfall pool the nickname of “Rainbow Pond.” Because its bedrock slopes in the opposite direction of the water flow, Shifen Waterfall is a cascade-type waterfall similar to North America’s Niagara Falls, earning it the nickname of “Taiwan’s Niagara Falls.”
The Pingxi Branch Rail Line extends 12.9 kilometers through Keelung River Valley from Sandiaoling to Jingtong stations. The line was built in 1918 to transport coal; and in 1992 it was repurposed as a tourism route. Shifen is one of the stops along the line. The station is located in a scenic area that greets visitors with beautiful waterfalls and streams. Shifenliao is home to a broad river terrace and is also traversed by the Pingxi Line. Homes hug closely to the tracks, adding to a nostalgic ambiance that has made the area a popular site for filming ads. Jing’an Suspension Bridge, a 128-meter-long span connecting the villages of Shifen and Nanshan, is one of only a few well-preserved pedestrian suspension bridges in Taiwan. The romantic beauty of the landscape has made this area a popular visitor attraction.
Shifen Visitor Center
The Shifen Visitor Center is located in the Ruifang Special Scenic Area. The scenic area covers an area of 56.89 hectares starting from the upper reaches of the Keelung River and embracing Shifen, Xinliao and Nanshan. This scenic paradise has been generously endowed with beautiful mountains, mighty waterfalls, and the intriguing river potholes in Dahua. The visitor center can be reached by a 15-minute walk from Shifen Station along the Old Street. The center presents free scheduled video showings daily; and group showings can be arranged by phone reservation. The center also offers classes on making sky lantern.