The forests here are drier, neutral warm temperate forests, and the major species, including 889 kinds of vascular plants, come mainly from the Lauraceae and Fagaceae families. Ferns, especially rock ferns, are abundant in this warm temperate valley climate. The formation of alternating cliffs and valleys aid the flourishing of early succession plants such as Taiwanese Red Pine, Formosan Alder, Subcostate Crape Myrtle, Zelkova Serrata, and Liquidambar. Of these, the pine and liquidambar forests are the most impressive. The shape of the pines may be tall and straight or distorted; visitors can experience the charm of these pines from anywhere within the area. The fame of Aowanda is derived from the precious liquidambar trees, which attract more than half of all visitors to the park in late autumn, particularly in December when the eight hectares of pure liquidambars color the region with a golden yellow hue. The charm of the red leaves lies in the poetic feelings and emotions that they evoke. Liquidamber is not the only color-changing species in this area. Others include Subcostate Crape Myrtle, Green Maple, Zelkova Serrata, Green’s Chestnut, Chinese Cork Oak, Rhus semialata ,and Bald Cypress. Each of these is very visually appealing and eye-catching. The period of color change for these species is earlier than for liquidambar. Young red leaves in early spring such as from Japanese Mallotus, Fragrant Cinnamon, and Wax Tree are both impressive and pleasing to observe. The colorful, flowery world of Aowanda is best in early spring when the trees blossom. Wushe Cherry Blossoms, Puli Azalea and Hibiscus flourish in spring, while Taiwanese Cotton Roses blossom and flourish in autumn and winter.
Due to a tremendous number of plant species, there are numerous butterflies and 120 varieties of birds including Swinhoe's Pheasant and Taiwanese Blue Magpie, which often appear in Aowanda’s stable environment. In addition, since the endangered diminutive Fortail also maintains a stable population around Aowanda Falls, this area has been listed as an internationally important bird-watching site. The recreation area management has set up many nest boxes and pinhole cameras for filming the breeding and feeding behavior of birds such as the Green-backed Tit, Yellow Tit, Nuthatch, and Green Tit. Except during particularly harsh winters, visitors can observe 123 bird species. April to May is the best season for watching fireflies. In this area full of Fagaceae trees, flying squirrels are easily sighted at night in fall and winter.
The small canyons, river platform, waterfalls, pines, maples, color-changing plants, wild birds, and butterflies are the most valuable resources here. Mountainclimbing, hiking, forest bathing, bird-watching, going on butterfly tours, observing the leaves, and learning about natural history are the main recreational activities. Visitors who stay overnight, hike, and observe the nature at a slow pace will bring back unforgettable memories.