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Mount Huashan – Challenge the World Most Dangerous Hiking Trail

Mount Huashan is Situated in Huayin City, 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Xi'an. It is famous for its natural vista of steep and narrow paths, precipitous crags, and a high mountain range. Its five peaks are the representative attractions and each has its distinctive charms: East Peak is the best place to enjoy the sunrise; South Peak has the highest altitude; West Peak is the most elegant; North Peak is famous as the Cloud Terrace Peak and Middle Peak is also called Jade Lady Peak.

Mount Huashan is also home to several influential Taoist temples, where many emperors of past dynasties took part in Taoist activities and sacrificed to the god of the mountain, making it a holy land of Taoism.

Mount Huashan Facts

Mount Huashan

Mount Huashan is especiallly famous as the root of Chinese culture. On this one of the "Five Mountains" in China, you will encounter with the world most dangerous hiking trail, gorgeous sceneries, temples, stories...

Type: Mountain, sightseeing place, historical & cultural site, ancient buildings, religious site

Altitude: 2,154.9 meters (7,070 ft)

Best Seasons: Lunar March 15th; April - October

Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 days

Opening Hours: West Gate: 24 hours; East Gate: 07:00-19:00 (peak seasons); 09:00-17:00 (off seasons)

Tickets: ¥160/person (Mar~Nov); ¥100/person (Dec~Feb)

Address: Huashan Town, Huayin City, Weinan City, Shaanxi Province, China

Mount Hua (Huashan) is one of the five sacred Taoist mountains in China. It will take 1½ hours' drive to get there from Xi'an. A variety of temples and other religious structures nestle on its ridges and peaks.

Mount Hua is well-known for its sheer cliffs and plunging ravines. Because of this, it is known as "the most precipitous mountain under heaven" and attracts many hikers for the challenge of climbing it. You can also take a round-trip cable car ride to get up and down the mountain and can enjoy the scenery along the way.

Famous Main Five Peaks in Mount Huashan

There are five peaks that make up the mountain: Cloud Terrace Peak (North Peak, 1614m), Jade Maiden Peak (Middle Peak, 2042m), Sunrise Peak (East Peak, 2100m), Lotus Peak (West Peak, 2083m), and Landing Wild Goose Peak (South Peak, 2155m).

North Peak

Yuntai Peak (云台峰) is also called the North Peak for its location at the north part of the whole scenic area. Of 1,614 meters high, it is one of the main peaks of Mount Huashan. To get to the other four peaks, you must pass the North Peak first. Since its especially precipitous terrain and there is only one mountain way to the south part, it is a place really hard to conquer. And the famous real story of Circumvent Hua Mountain just happened there at the North Peak. When visiting there, you would find a platform on the top, where is a fine place to look out the three peak and Black Dragon Ridge in the south part of Mount Huashan. Moreover, if you get a little tired, the half way up to the Yuntai Peak covered with lush plantations and fresh air is really great to have a short break.

Yuntai Peak

Besides, there a quite a lot of attractions to see on the North Peak, such as the Zhenwu Palace, Jiaogong Stone Chamber, Yunv Window, Yiyun Pavilion, Place of Laojun Hanging the Plough, and so on.

West Peak

West Peak

The West Peak on the west part is 2082.6 meters high. It is also called Lianhua Peak (莲花峰, Lotus Peak) or Furong Peak for its giant stone like the lotus petal on the summit. This mountain is a giant complete stone made by nature. The west and north sides are so cragged and straight, like peel buy a large knife, which also represents the mountain landform of Mount Huashan. After you climb up on the peak, you could see from a distance of the surrounding mountains rising up and down, clouds and sunglow fluttering lightly, like being in a land of immortals, and all the unhappy and pressure in your mind would disappear. And if time right, you would be lucky to enjoy the most beautiful sunset at this best place. Also, you could find a series of interesting places there, and the famous story of Chen Xiang saving his mother by blasting the cliff also took place at the West Peak, so you could go there to know how brave of that little boy and his deep love to his dearest mother.

South Peak

South Peak

The South Peak of 2,154.9 meters high in the south is the highest peak among all the five main peaks at Mount Huashan, and ancient Chinese called it the “Head of Mount Huashan”. The South Peak is also named Luoyan Peak (落雁峰), meaning landing wild geese, which is because the wild geese returning to the southern China would fly down at this peak to have a break according to the legend. Reaching the summit of the South Peak, you could feel the sky is so close that you can even reach to pick the stars. And all the beautiful views of the rolling mountains, winding Yellow River and Wei River, plains, valleys, and so forth are all contained in your eyes. And at this moment, you could know how it feels when standing like at the boundary of sky and stepping on the clouds, which is interesting and unbelievable.

East Peak

East Peak

Located in the east part of Mount Huashan, the East Peak is about 2096.2 meters high and is called Chaoyang Peak (朝阳峰) which means facing the east. There is a platform at the top with high but perilous location, and you could appreciate the appealing sunrise at this famous place with wide view. On the East Peak, big trees are vigorous and flourishing. Walking or hiking there is really comfortable and inspiring with the spread of trees like giant umbrella above your head, lyrical sound of the streams, and so peaceful atmosphere along the way. You could enjoy really wonderful and relaxing time there at the East Peak.

Middle Peak

Middle Peak

The middle Peak is about 2037.8 meters high and is situated at the middle of the East Peak, South Peak and West Peak. As there is a Taoist temple called Yunv Temple on the peak, and it was once the self-cultivation place of Nong Yu (弄玉) who is the daughter of the Duke Mu of the Kingdom Qin during the Spring and Autumn Period, later the Middle Peak started being called Yunv Peak (玉女峰, Peak of Daughter Yu). And you could enjoy many other good places related to Nong Yu and her husband Xiao Shi.

Highlighting Attractions on Mount Huashan

There are over 210 interesting attractions in Mount Huashan, Hua Shan boasts a lot of religious sites: Taoist temples, pavilions, and engraved scriptures are scattered all over the mountain. and among all of them, we listed some of the top highlights that are full of great views, great stories, thrilling paths to go through, etc. Check the facts of them below before you go.

Changkong Plank Trail

Huashan Plank Walk, Changkong Plank Trail (长空栈道) is the most dangerous and thrilling way in all the dangerous ways in Mount Huashan. This over 700 year old plank trail was constructed at the South Peak by He Zhizhen who cultivated himself to be an immortal at Mount Huashan and put up wood together with stone pins knocked in the vertical cliff. The trail is only more than 30 centimeters with no handrail but only iron chains on the cliff for you to seize. Passing this cool path, you should face cliff, and if you look down, there is no place could be seen even hundreds of meters deep. From ancient time to nowadays, continuous groups of people including scholars and celebrities have been visiting this Huashan trail to experience its danger and test their braveness. If you also are eager to stand on the really thrilling trail in the air, just go! (Note: for your safety, there are safety ropes for rent (¥30/person/time, which is required for travellers passing the Changkong Plank Trail.)

Black Dragon Ridge

Black Dragon Ridge (苍龙岭) rising up to the sky, seems a flying black dragon, therefore, it is called Canglong which means black dragon. After reaching the North Peak and walking the Heavenly Ladders, you would see the long ridge in front of you. Since the over 530 steps up to the top of mountain ridge is about over 2 feet (about 2 thirds meter) wide and on the two sides are bottomless valleys, and moreover, the ridge has an incline of over 45 degrees, with the height different of about 500 meters from the top to the foot. At this ridge, you could see afar the green pines and while clouds at Mount Huashan, hear the roaring wind and marvel at the thrilling mountain like a knife.

Thousand Feet Zhuang Path

The Thousand Feet Zhuang Path is called Qian Chi Zhuang (千尺幢) in Chinese, which is reputed as the “throat of Mount Huashan” for its very precipitous and key location for the whole mountain. This very narrow path is wandering on the cliff. The more than 370 steps dug in the mountain body are only enough for putting the sole of a person, and only one person can go at one time for the narrow width. When you passing there, you need to handle the iron chains and climb the very steep mountain with both your hands and feet. As this is the first thrilling path you would meet in Mount Huashan, prepare to challenge your heart from there.

Golden Locks Pass

The Golden Locks Pass (金锁关) is a stone archway like a gate tower. Located on the way from the North Peak to the other main peaks in Huashan, it is regarded as the Gate to the Sky. From here, you could find the Black Dragon Ridge more thrilling. This pass is surrounded by very old emerald pines, and has lots of stones of strange shapes. If you go there, you could appreciate the beautiful scenery of the countless red ropes and colorful strings, layers of locks for love and peace hanging on the iron chain on the two sides of the way, which would fly with the wind. With the sparkling sunshine reflecting on the locks and the whole mountain, your eyes can get a big treat.

Chess Playing Pavilion

At the southeast side of the East Peak is an isolated peak called Botai, which has a flat summit. The clouds and mists make it like an island on the sea, flickering magically. There on the summit is a stone pavilion and in which is a stone table. Why is it called Chess Playing Pavilion (下棋亭)? In ancient times, people see there is a square stone that is uneven like a set of chess composition on the Botai, so they called it the Chess Stone. And later in Song dynasty, a pavilion was built on the Botai, hence, the pavilion got its present name as Chess Playing Pavilion.

Yuquan Temple

Yuquan Temple

Yuquan Temple (玉泉寺) is the major site for holding the Taoist activities of Mount Huashan. Visitors visiting Mount Huashan would only have pass this temple from Huashan Valley. Therefore, it is regarded as the entrance to Mount Huashan. According to the legend, the Princess Jinxian of Tang Dynasty cleaned her hair at the Jade Well but dropped her jade hairpin in the water incautiously. After returning to Yuquan Temple, she found the jade hairpin when washing her hand at the spring and gave the same name of Yuquan (meaning jade spring) to this spring. Therefore, this temple was then called Yuquan Temple.

Besides the above recommended attractions in Mount Huashan, you could also have wonderful and exciting moments at the Huayue Immortal Palm, Heavenly Ladders, Huixin Rock and so forth. You could go there to savor the real features and charm of all them in your Huashan Tour!

Recommended Route to Visit Mount Huashan

Hiking at Mount Huashan

Complete Hiking Routes - 2 Days

Hikers need 2 full days to finish the complete hiking trails on Huashan, which is not very rcommended for families, senors or who mind the poor accommodation condition on the mountain. Below is the itinerary:

Day 1: start to visit the Yuquan Temple to know the story of Princess Jinxian, hike along the way and then reach Huixin Rock, start for the difficult hiking way for the following. Hold tightly of the iron chains and be bold to pass the hard Thousand Feet Zhuang Path, Hundred Feet Valley, etc. to get to the North Peak to appreciate the fantastic sightseeing. Have a break as you like in the middle way. Next, climb the steep Heavenly Ladder, experience the wide view from the Black Dragon Ridge, and then get to the Golden Locks Pass to enjoy the stunning view of the thousands of locks and colorful strings. Finally, reach East Peak to appreciate the bird view of the Mount Hua. Stay overnight on the East Peak.

Day 2: get up early and enjoy the terrific sunrise of the East Peak, and then hike to the South Peak, the highest peak among all the five in Mount Hua. After getting beautiful pictures, head for the Central Peak, where you could savor the rich Taoist culture in the ancient temples and constructions. After that, continue your hiking tour to see the West Peak and know the touching story of Chen Xiang saving her mother. Take the cableway to the foot of the Huashan.

(Tip: if you want to admire the sunrise on day 2, you are recommended to accommodate in Mount Huashan, on the East Peak or the Middle Peak. Since the road is hard to be seen clearly in the early morning before the sunrise, a head torch is best prepared to light the way.)

>> 2 Days Classic Mount Huashan Hiking Tour

1 Day Mount Hushan Hiking - Strongly Recommended

With the help of cable cars, you can finish Huashan hiking in a single day. But you’d better get to the tourist center at the foot of the mountain in the early morning before 8:30, or you will have to wait in long lines to purchase tickets, ride sightseeing bus and wait for cable car.

1 Day Classic Hike: 8~9 hours (starting from tourist center and ending at tourist center)

Tourist Center – North Peak Cable Car – East Peak – South Peak – West Peak – West Peak Cable Car – Tourist Center

1 Day Leisure Hike: 6~7 hours (starting from tourist center and ending at tourist center)

Tourist Center – West Peak Cable Car – West Peak – South Peak – East Peak – West Peak – West Peak Cable Car – Tourist Center

Best time to visit Huashan

Mount Huashan belongs to the warm temperature continental monsoon climate zone. For its steep mountains, the temperature changes sharply from the bottom to the peak area. For the part lower than 1000 meters, the average temperature of the hottest month is around 24℃-28℃. And at the upper area more than 1000 meters, the average temperature is below 8℃, with an average temperature of -2.5℃-10℃ for the coldest month and 21℃-24℃ for the hottest month. In spring (April to May), it often is rainy and foggy at the upper areas, so you could often see the sea of clouds. And in winter (December to February), it snows a lot, which may cause the way slippery for walking. During summer time (June to September), it rains a lot, particularly during July to September, but changes to sunny very quickly, when you could appreciate the Mount Huashan in rain. June to August is the warmest period, when the temperature is about 16℃-18℃ on the mountain and 24℃-26℃ at the foot part. And in autumn, sunny days appear mostly with some rainy days, and the Huashan in fog is impressive. As the temperature at the summit is about 10℃ lower than that at the mountain foot, cold protective clothing is highly recommended in all seasons, sweaters, hat, and scarf especially in winter.

Tips to Go to Mount Huashan

1. Mount Hua Temple Fair: the temple fair is held in every Lunar March. And it is a big festival on Lunar March 15th, which is called Chaoshan Day that is like a Pilgrimage Day in Buddhism. If you visit Mount Huashan around that date, you could enjoy the very grand temple fair and a lot of interesting jubilant activities. That is a good time to get close to the local culture and the joy with many other people.

2. Clothing: prepare a pair of comfortable hiking shoes, comfortable clothes for hiking, gloves for hold on to the chains, rain gears. If you plan to accommodate outside the Mount Huashan Scenic Spot and would hike the mountain during night to watch the sunrise, it is advised to prepare your head torch of good quality to light your way.

3. Sunrise: during 05:00~06:00 in spring; during 04:30~05:20 in summer; during 05:00~05:20 in autumn; during 06:30~07:30 in winter.

4. Prepare some food before your hiking on Mount Huashan, especially a lot of drinkable water, since there is not much on the mountain.

How to Get to Mount Huashan

Mount Huashan is located in Weinan City in Shaanxi Province, about 120km from Xian city. Since there are coaches, high speed trains, normal trains from other cities, you could get to Mount Huashan without much effort.

Location Map of Mount Huashan

From Xian to Huashan

You could get to Mount Huashan from many places in China. However, most travellers go there from Xian for the convenient and multiple choices of transfer.

By air

The nearest airport is Xian Xianyang International Airport, and you could take a flight from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Wuhan, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Bangkok, etc.

By train

There are about 40 daily high speed trains from Xian North Railway Station to Huashan North Railway Station, which run about only 30-40 minutes to arrive. The station is only 5km away from Mount Huashan, so you could take a local tourist bus to get to the Huashan Tourist Center. Also, you could take a taxi there.

Besides, since the Shanghai Lanzhou High Speed Railway passes Huashan North Railway Station, you could take the bullet train from Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing, Kaifeng, Zhengzhou, Tianshui, Lanzhou, etc. to visit Mount Hua with speed and convenience.

By coach

Over 20 long distance coaches depart from Xian Bus Station to Huashan, which take about 2 hours.

By self-driving

If you drive from Xian city to Mount Huashan, it would take about 1.5-2 hours covering about 120-150km based on the route you choose and the practical condition.

How to Plan a Xi'an Tour

Xian has a lot of places to visit. Terracotta Warriors and Horses buried for more than 2000 years is definitely a must-see. After that, take a stroll or rent a bike on the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China, to enjoy panoramic views of modern Xi’an. Then try some local snacks at the bustling and lively Muslim Quarter. On the next day, you can go to visit Da Cien Temple and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda to feel the Buddhist culture, then get a deeper understanding of the past of this city in Shaanxi History Museum. If you are interested in mountain climbing, don’t miss the challenging Mount Huashan which is famous for lofty peaks and steep paths. If you have other ideas or questions about a Xian tour, please feel free to contact us. We are also specialized in customized tours according to your own requirements, interests, travelling budgets, etc.

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