Manyueyuan (Full Moon Park 滿月圓) is one of the 18 fascinating national forest recreation areas in Taiwan. It is named after the round shape and calm appearance of the mountain opposite the recreation area. Covering an area of 1,573 hectares (3,888 acres) at altitudes ranging from 300 meters (984 feet) to 1,700 meters (5,577 feet) in northern Taiwan’s New Taipei City, Manyueyuan is a fascinating attraction that is especially famous for spectacular waterfalls and picturesque hiking trails.
For more images of the Manyueyuan National Forest Recreation Area, please watch the following short video.
Due to the special geography, many spectacular waterfalls form in this park, and among them are Chunu (Virgin) Waterfall (處女瀑布), and Manyueyuan Waterfall (滿月圓瀑布).
Chunu Waterfall is nestled upstream from the Rueizai Creek tributary. As rainbows can be seen in the spray of this waterfall, it is also called Rainbow Waterfall. With water flowing from the top of a 25-meter (82 feet) high cliff, the waterfall forms a 10-meter (33 feet) wide water curtain.
It is fantastic to appreciate the beautiful waterfall and colorful rainbow and experience the mist with abundant hydroxide ions with a negative charge. In addition to a tiny steel observation deck in front of the waterfall, a three-level waterfall observation pavilion is also a great location to view the magnificence of the entire waterfall from a close distance.
Manyueyuan Waterfall is another impressive waterfall hidden in a small canyon, which is the source of the Rueizai Creek. With a pool with crystal clear water in the front and a huge rock on the right-hand side, the waterfall is 20 meters (65 feet) high.
Visitors can take in the splendid waterfall from the narrow bridge in front of the waterfall, though it is partially blocked by a huge rock and some trees on it. However, visitors can go up to the observation pavilion on the top of the highland on the other side to appreciate the majestic waterfall from above, and listen to the thundering sound of the powerful water pouring from the top of the cliff in the canyon.
Colorful rainbows produced by mist from these waterfalls are usually visible on sunny afternoons. The sprinkling water drops in front of the waterfalls not only create an ethereal atmosphere but also produce high volumes of negative ions, which generate a pleasant and healthy atmosphere for visitors.
Picturesque trails and forest
There are five well-maintained trails in this recreation area, including Chunu Waterfall Trail (580 meters), Manyueyuan Waterfall Trail (400 meters), Self-guided Trail (1,200 meters), Hiking Trail (1,600 meters), and Tongman Trail (7,600 meters). Along with them, there are some distinctive rest pavilions on which the roof is covered with lush bird’s nest ferns, grass, and moss.
With the warm and moist climate, Manyueyuan is a paradise for diverse flora and fauna. There are a variety of ferns, moss, and plenty of other plants in the forest. Among others, visitors can spot many bird’s nest ferns thriving naturally in the branches and trunks of trees along these trails, which form a distinctive landscape of the national park.
Referred to as butterfly valley in northern Taiwan, over 170 species of beautiful butterflies have been recorded in the forest. In addition, the forest is also home to Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) introduced from Japan in 1896, where visitors can spot Formosan macaque (Macaca cyclopis) from time to time.
What’s even better, it is reported that Manyueyuan National Forest Recreation Area tops the list for having the highest volume of negative ions in Taiwan. There are as many as 1,854 negative ions per cubic centimeter along the hiking trails, and the number around the two main waterfalls is even up to 27,192.
Furthermore, there is a 1,210 meter (3,969 feet) long walking path where visitors can appreciate the maple leaves, beautiful birds, various insects, and the amazing creek.
The Rueizai Creek is the main river winding through this recreation area. It is very special that the creek ultimately combines four different creeks higher up in the mountains that form into one larger river flowing from Manyueyuan down to Sanxia District of New Taipei City.
As the creek is very rocky, with many large rocks and falls, there is a cluster of smaller waterfalls along the creek, which form amazing views in the park. Besides, the roaring sound of moving water in the creek during the rainy season makes the creek even more romantic.
Another highlight of the creek is the unique fish ladders built in the creek along the Rueizai Creek Ecological Trail to facilitate the upstream migration of fish in this fantastic stream.