Mount Emei is very competitive compared with other famous mountains in China, such as Yellow Mountain, Mount Hua, Mount Tai, Mount Wutai, etc., because it is not only World Cultural Heritage Site, but also World Natural Heritage Site. The mountain is one of the four greatest Buddhist mountains as well as a kingdom of flora and wild lives, and the hiking is the best way to get the significance of both culture and nature.
Relaxing and scenic walk trails
There are walking trails built from the foot to the summit of the mountain. Most of them are well-paved with stones, easy tow walk for all ranges of ages, but several sections of the hiking are sinuous and steep, which needs you to walk slowly and carefully. Some of the trails were constructed hundreds years ago. These trails may consume your time and energy, but award you with numerous beautiful landscapes to see - loquacious waterfalls, green lakes, lush forests, colorful flowers, wild monkeys, cloud sea, sunrise, sunset, etc.
Visiting peaceful monasteries and temples
Mount Emei is one of Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China. It is traditionally regarded as the place of enlightenment of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra. There are over 26 monasteries hidden along the hiking trails in the deep mountains, including the 8 most influential monasteries: Baoguo Temple, Fuhu Temple, Qingyin Pavillion, Wannian Temple, Hongchunping Temple, Xianfeng Temple, Xixiangchi Temple and Huazang Monastery. For first-time hikers, it is an impressive experience to meet so many unexpected temples during hiking. You can take a rest, explore Buddhist culture, and observe the living of monks in the monasteries.
Getting close to natural wildness
Stepping into Mount Emei, you enter a vegetable kingdom, animal paradise and geological museum. It is reported that there are more than 5000 species of plants, which is more than the total plants of Europe. There are also over 2300 kinds of wild animals, including some protective species, such as leaf butterfly, black stork, rana adenopleura, red panda, tragopan temminckii, etc. Among all these plants and animals, the wild monkeys are the most famous mainly because of their naughtiness and cleverness. To some extent, these monkeys are the real hosts of this magic mountain. They play, jump among trees. Some monkeys are too rude to rob foods from tourists. So you'd better not have foods in your hands or hang outside your bags. A cane is usually helpful to drive them away. Some monkeys are very friendly, and easy to play with. There are three main areas for monkeys - Ecological monkey area on the lower Emei, and Xixiangchi Temple region and Leidongping Region.
You can take Mount Emei an independent plan, or travel Emei with Leshan Giant Buddha, Chengdu, or other destinations in Sichuan. The most popular and regular way is to get to Mount Emei from Chengdu by car or train.
The distance from the foot of Mount Emei to the summit is 40~60km. One can't finish the whole route in a single day. You can choose to hike some highlights section, or hike in two days.
Route: Tourist Center – Eco-bus – Wuxiangang – Qingyin Pavilion - Walking – Wannian Temple– Cable Car – Eco-bus – Leidongping – Walking – Golden Summit – Cable car – Eco-bus – Tourist Center
Walking distance: 10km/4~5 hours (starting from tourist center and ending at tourist center)This hiking route contains two most essential part of Mount Emei, about 10km mostly uprising stone steps which needs about 4~5 hours to finish (excluding sightseeing time). It is recommended for those who want to explore Buddhist art and natural significance, at the same time, to enjoy some leisure hiking. It is the ideal hiking plan for family and seniors travelers.
Qingying Pavilion to Wannian Temple
The best highlights of this section is to enjoy the quiet and wild natural scenery of Qingyin Pavilion at the lower Mount Emei, and to visit the famous Wannian Temple which is located among mountains with ancient Buddhist temples, towers and ornate garden. Qingyin Pavilion is one of the most beautiful places in Mount Emei. It is located near Wuxiangang Parking Lot (五显岗). You will start hiking from the parking lot, towards the tranquil Qingyin Pavilion. Spend some time there to explore ancient temples, then keep walking about 2km/2hrs to Wannian Temple.
You can spend about 1 hour seeing temples, then walk down to Wannian Temple Parking Lot to take an eco-bus directly up to Leidongping, which takes about 2 hours. Leidongping is located at the upper region of Mount Emei with an elevation of 2430m. Walk about 1.5km (0.5hr) from Leidongping to Jieyin Pavilion (Cable car station). Here you have two choices: walking about 6km (1.5hrs) or take a cable car to the Golden Summit. Our recommendation is to walk up and descend by cable car, which is effeient, and has a lot of chance to enjoy beautiful mountain scenery. Golden Summit (3077m) is the second highest peak as well as the biggest highlight and very essence of Mount Emei. It usually needs about 1.5 hours to stroll around the Golden Summit to explore Buddhist architecture and tradition, and enjoy a panoramic view of Mount Emei and surrounding.
After sightseeing, you still have some time to descend the mountain, and go back to Chengdu. The last eco-bus usually departs around 18:00 from Leidongping. Ensure you descend Golden Summit before 17:00 or earlier.
Route: Eastern Route from Wannian Temple to Golden Summit via Elephant Bathing Pool
This tour is recommended for those who are looking for a moderately paced hiking. Starting the most important monastery of Mount Emei – Wannian Temple, you will hike upwards to the top of the Mountain to enjoy the beautiful Golden Summit with one night staying at Leidongping where the hotels are comfortable while prices are lower than Golden Summit. Apart from some old and peaceful Buddhist temples, you also have a chance to experience the diversity of Mount Emei’s nature existence.
DAY 1：Walking from Wannian Temple to Leidongping
Walking distance: 27km/7~8hrs
Tourist Center – Eco-bus – Wannian Temple Parking Lot – Wannian Temple– Xixin Temple – Chu Temple – Huayan Temple - Leidongping
Firstly, you need to get to Wanniansi Parking Lot by eco bus, which takes about 30 minutes. Then walk about 30 minutes to visit the Wanniansi Temple. Visit the Buddhist halls, towers, beautiful gardens within 1 hour. Then you need to set out for the long hiking to Leidongping. First, hike about 12km from Wannian Temple to Jiuling Hill. On route, you will meet two other old and peaceful Buddhist temples with little monks - Xixin Suo and Chu Dian. Jiulinggang is the jointing place where can join other travelers who go another way from Qingyin Pavilion. Keep hiking 2.5 km to see the Xixiangchi Temple. Unlike the former route, your final destination for today is Leidongping where you can get better accommodation and meals.
DAY 2: Walking from Leidongping to Golden Summit
Leidongping– Walking –Jieyin Pavilion Taizi Ping - Golden Summit – Cable car – Eco-bus – Tourist Center
Walking distance: 8km/2~3hrs
This day’s hike can be completed in a half day so that you can use the rest time to transfer back to Chengdu or to catch a high speed train/flight leaving. Time is short but the things to see are even more than Day 1 because you will hike to the summit of the mountain where the most beautiful natural wonders and sacred golden Buddha statue are. If you want to see the amazing sunrise of Mount Emei, you need to get up about 4 o'clock to start hiking, or get up later and catch the first cablecar operating at 05:30 A.M. If sunrise is not your desire, you don’t have to start hiking that early. This hiking from Leidongping to Golden Summit is about 7.5km long. The first part from Leidongping to Jieyin Pavilion is easy without many ups and downs. The hardest part comes after Jieyin Pavilion. Some sections are very steep. One has to walk carefully and slowly. However, don’t worry too much as all steps are well-paved. After getting to Taizi Ping, the paths get flat with little uprising, leading you to Golden Summit along beautiful wild forest.
After spending some wandering around Golden Summit, you can either take a cable car down or walk down to Leidongping to catch an eco-bus to the tourist center. The rest time is to transfer back to Chengdu or other place. 2 days classic Mount Emei hike ends.
Route: Western Route from Qinyin Pavilion to Golden Summit via Elephant Bathing Pool
This is a challenging but rewarding hiking of 2 full days. If you are energetic or wanting to sweat and unwind from crowdedness or expecting to encounter closer with this world heritage site of both culture and nature, this is the hike for you. You even have a chance to stay a night in a temple on the mountain. What an experience it is!
DAY 1: Walking from Qingyin Pavilion to Xixiangchi Temple
Tourist center– Eco-bus – Wuxiangang Parking Lot - Walking –Qingyin Pavilion - Wild Monkey Zone - Xianfeng Temple – Yuxian Temple– Jiuling Hill – Elephant Bathing Pool – Leidongping
Walking distance: 32km/8~9 hours
To get started, you need to take an eco-bus (about 0.5hr)to Wuxiangang Park Lot first from the tourist center at the foot of the mountain. Pack light and wear comfortable is very imfportant as you have so many steps to climb this day. Find the entrance, then take the old stone steps to head to Qingyin Pavilion. There are many small old temples and stone carvings along the away as good chances to stop and look around. From Qingyin Pavilion, remember not to take the right path which is heading to Wannian Temple. You should take the left path going along the valley. Walking a short white, you will reach Ecological Monkey Zone which is the biggest kingdom of the wild monkeys in Mount Emei. It is interesting to meet these lovely monkeys in freedom, but you should know beforehand that they may be very aggressive to rob foods from tourists if they find someone having foods in hands or hanging on bags. Three useful tips are: 1) put all your food including water in your bag, don’t take food in your hand; 2) use alpenstocks or bamboo sticks to frighten them away; 3) keep some distance away from the monkeys. If a monkey jump on your shoulders stay calmed, don’t try to drive him away. He will leave if you have no food in your hand.
Keeping walking from the monkey zone, you will find the paths starting to directing to higher elevations, which make the walking harder and harder, until you reach Xianfeng Temple which is the halfway of today’s hiking. Take a rest there to have a vegetarian lunch. Continue hiking from Xianfeng Temple to Yuxian Temple. This section of hiking is ups-and-downs, wriggling along small hills. After Yuxian Temple, the path is very steep, some sections of which are nearly vertical. Take a rest at Jiuling Hill where the path from Wannian Temple joins your path. Then comes the hardest hiking of today – Zuantian Slope (Slope Drilling into Skye) which rises vertically 300m with 32 turns and more than 1500 steps. Todays’ final destination is Elephant Bathing Pool (2070m). Named as a pool, the Elephant Bathing Pool is actually an old Buddhist temple with magnificent far-reaching views of surrounding hills and valleys. Legend says the white elephant of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva used to bath in the pool in front of the temple. The temple now also provides some rooms and vegetarian food for hikers. Showering is available but outside your room. Hot water is provided either. Monkeys often haunt in this area, and try to keep a distance with them.
DAY 2: Xixiangchi Temple - Golden Summit
Elephant Bathing Pool – Leidongping – Walking –Jieyin Pavilion - Taizi Ping - Golden Summit – Cable car – Eco-bus – Tourist Center
Walking distance: 15km/5~6 hours
Today’s hiking starting from Elephant Bathing Pool and ends at Golden Summit. Walking among the upper region of Mount Emei, it is relatively relaxing without very lofty steps, which is also a great experience to enjoy the clean fresh airs, explore some aged wild huge trees, or see the beautiful azaleas. Vegetation in the upper area of the mountain is quite different from those in the middle and lower mountain. They are mainly old fir trees. After about 7.5 km's walking, you will reach Leidongping. Leidongping has some better restaurants for you to have a feast meal. Then you have to take the last hiking up to the Golden Summit, approximately 7.5 kilometers, which can be completed in around 2 hours. You can also use cable cars to save time and energy. The rest of today is to descend the mountain and transfer back to Chengdu or other places.
1. Where to stay, on the Mountain or in the city?
Find a place to stay in not a troublesome in your Mount Emei hiking. You can stay in Emeishan city, Baoguo Temple area at the foot of the mountain, temples in the mountain, hotels on the top of the mountain. Before deciding an accommodation, you need to know what you want to do and how much time you have. If you want a leisure day hiking, you can stay in the city or Baoguo Temple area for the night you arrive. If you want to take a moderate-paced hiking, or an in-depth hiking, you need to spend a night on the mountain where there are temples and guest houses offer rooms, but not as good as you’ll get at the bottom of the mountain. If you start the hiking from Qingyin Pavilion to Golden Summit, you usually need to stay a night in the temple of Elephant Bathing Pool. If you start your hiking from Wannian Temple, you can stay the night in Leidongping area where food options are greater and there’s an overall higher level of comfortness, then ascend the mountain next day. The Golden Summit area also provides several hotels, one of them is 4 stars standard, but the room rate is usually high especially during weekends and holidays. If you stay at Golden Summit, you are rewarded amazing sunset and sunrise.
2. You can use Eco buses and cable cars to shorten your hiking
Walking all the way up and down the mountain is not necessary, actually it is even a tough hiker for the experienced hikers. The knees may not be supportive thus you need to use eco-bus and cable cars to shorten your hiking and save energy. Firstly, you usually need to take a bus from the tourist center to Wuxiangang Parking Lot or Wannian Temple to start your hiking. The buses can also transport you directly to Leidongping so that you can reach Golden Summit in short time. After visiting Golden Summit area, you also need to take a bus back to the tourist center at the mountain foot.
There are two cableways on Mount Emei, one connecting Wanian Temple Parking Lot to Wannian Temple , the other connecting Jieyin Pavilion to Golden Summit. The cableways have two ways, our suggestion is to take one-way cable car and walk the other way, i.e. walking up Golden Summit and descent by cable car.
3. How to Get to Mount Emei
Chengdu is usually used as the gateway to Mount Emei. The city provides several efficient transport solutions, including high speed train, tourist bus as well as travel agencies ’private transfer. Taking high speed train is most recommended. The fastest train takes only about 1 hour to get to Emeishan Railway Station at the foot of Mount Emei. There are about 11~ 13 high speed trains departing from Chengdu downtown to Emeishan every day between about 07:30 in early morning to nearly 22:00. Most of the trains depart from Chengdu East Railway Station, and a few depart from Chengdu South Railway Station. Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport also has about 4 high speed trains to Mount Emei every day. One can also take tourist bus from Xinnanmen Bus Station to get to Mount Emei. For those who want a quality and valuable Mount Emei trip, we recommend our private tour packages for you which covers not only comfortable private transfer, but also tour guide, hotels, dining, etc.
4. Best Time to Hike Mount Emei & Wearing Tips
Mount Emei is available for hiking all year around. There are different things to explore in different seasons, such as floras in spring, waterfalls in summer, red leaves in autumn and snow in winter. The best two periods are April to June and September to November when the weather is more enjoyable and there are less crowds. If you go to visit Mount Emei in winters when the scenery is also very stunning, you need to walk very carefully as the steps are slippery with frozen ice.
5. What to Pack for Mount Emei Hiking
You are supposed to walk for long time on the mountain and the hotels are located on the mountain top areas, so you’d better leave your big luggage at your hotel in downtown or hotel at the foot of the mountain before hiking the mountain. You can bring a small bag to keep your personal belongs and necessities for 1 or 2 days.
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