The Qinling mountain range is one of the largest in China and many people are surprised to see how close they are on a clear day in Xian. Hua Shan’s jagged peaks and stunning landscape are one-of-a-kind which means that to hike Huashan mountain is definitely worth adding to your Xian itinerary. For the adventure seeker, it also holds the Plank trail, often dubbed as the most dangerous hike in the world!
We’ve taken every possible route up and down the mountain. Here we’re going to cover the best way to get there, the best scenic route to take, ticket prices, and what to expect along the way. It’s a huge thing to see, so even by taking our more efficient method the whole trip still lasts from sun up to sun down. There are guesthouses to stay in up the mountain if you want to take your time (please book ahead,) and there are several routes down if you don’t want to do our entire route.
Don’t forget to check out our Xian Travel Guide to round out your stay with other must-see sights and good eats!
What to Expect:
People and exercise! Killer views. An adventure day. Many beautiful areas in China have been made accessible to the masses. On one hand, this is great because it encourages people to get out and see the highlights of each region. On the other hand, it can mean that nature becomes a Chinese tourist attraction. You should expect paved trails, stairs, cable cars, and many other Chinese tourists taking in the scenery and altitude. The views are incredible and it is an excellent chance to experience the local tourist culture (hint: think women hiking in heels and men in suits!)
It’s a double-edged sword as well, although there are crowds you also get the occasional conveniences of public restrooms, snack kiosks, restaurants, coffee shops, temples, and even meteorological centers. The mountain is well designed and organized for tourists.
What Not to Expect:
You will not be hiking rugged dirt paths and switch-backing up snow-capped mountain passes in remote areas. You will also not be alone, no matter when you go.
Also, most bathrooms in China are not Western-style, you’ve been warned. Don’t expect ATMs or shops that accept plastic, carry everything in cash or have a digital wallet like Alipay or WeChat ready.
When to Go:
The mountain is open and available all year long. Our favorite time to go is in winter because the crowds are significantly lower, but of course, you’ll need to prepare for very cold temperatures. Summer will be busy, but as long as you know what to expect then you’ll have a great time. As with any tourist attraction in China, avoid public holidays whenever possible. This is a full-day trip, so plan accordingly.
Hua Shan Facts:
Hua means flower and Shan means mountain. So loosely translated, the name means Floral Mountain. Hua Shan is one of five Great Mountains known all over China for having a long history of religious significance, which adds to its popularity. Five separate peaks make up the area, which are:
– North Peak: 1614m (5298 feet)
– Central Peak: 2042m (6699 feet)
– East Peak: 2096m (6877 feet)
– South Peak: 2154m (7067 feet)
– West Peak: 2082m (6831 feet)