Imagine standing above the clouds and watching them roll over mountains like a waterfall. Imagine granite peaks, unlike anything in the U.S., shooting up from the depths of the abyss below you. Imagine a perfect setting in which you realize that your view is the inspiration for so many famous Chinese paintings. This is Huangshan.
Prior to coming to China, hiking this mountain was at the top of my list. It is said that James Cameron found much of his inspiration for the scenery in Avatar from this location.
Huangshan is considered one of the top three most famous places to hike in China. Located in China’s Anhui province in south-eastern China, this mountain range is not to be missed for any avid outdoor enthusiasts coming to China.
There are MANY routes throughout Huangshan. Over a 100 to be exact. However the two most popular routes are as follows. Walk up the Eastern steps and down the Western steps or, you guessed it, walk up the Western steps and down the Eastern steps. Walking up the eastern steps is MUCH easier than walking up the Western steps. I hiked up the eastern steps and walked down the western steps and was more than satisfied with the experience.
walking down the western steps
From Shanghai you can take a regional flight to Huangshan airport, about 40 miles from the mountain range. If you want a cheaper option, there are many buses that run daily from Shanghai South Bus Station. The ride is about 5 hours.
Hostels: $25-30 USD for two person room. $10 for a bunk bed in a communal room.
Huangshan entrance ticket: $40 USD
- Bring lots of snacks
- Try to go from September December when the crowds are less and the weather is cool.
- Spend the night on the mountain. You must do this. Seeing the clouds roll over the mountains at 6:00 was one of the coolest things i have ever done. There are lots of hotels on the mountain. If you are going in summer, MAKE A RESERVATION. There are several hotels, i believe six, that are on the mountain itself.
- Make sure your hotel has a restaurant. You will be hungry. Our first hotel didn’t have a restaurant so we checked out and went somewhere else.
- Sunscreen. Seriously though, in a lot of parts there isn’t much coverage and you will fry without sunscreen.
- Relax after a long day of hiking, have a mountain beer and enjoy the most incredible sunset.
- Carry a lot of luggage. There are some very steep steps and your legs are going to already be sore as it is the next day.
- Hire a guide. You will be ripped off. There are lots of maps around the park.
- Rely on cable cars. In the summer you might have to wait for two hours just to get in line.
- Be this girl.
Suck it up and hike the whole thing. It is SO worth it!