Famous Chinese Mountains: Huangshan - Yellow Mountain
As famous Chinese mountains go, you would have to count Huangshan or Yellow Mountain among the most popular and visited by both locals and tourists alike.
Located in the south of Anhui province, Yellow Mountain is certainly for the Chinese people one of the "must see" sights of China. So what is the attraction of Huangshan?
...It is the oddly shaped towering peaks surrounded by a sea of clouds
...It is the ancient dwarf pines growing from any crevice imaginable
...It is the soothing hot springs awaiting for you in the mountain
...It is the amazing sunrises and breathtaking sunsets
...It is the cristal clear waterfalls and streams
...It is all of the above and more that make for some of the most mind-blowing, jaw-dropping scenery you could ever experience.
Yellow Mountain has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is is here that some of the scenes from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were filmed.
Through the ages, these Chinese mountains have been immortalized in the backdrops of famous Chinese traditional paintings.
More recently, some claim they were the inspiration behind those beautiful floating mountains in the movie Avatar. It's not hard to see the similarities in the striking landscape as you wander around the mountain paths.
When is the best time to visit Yellow Mountain?
Huangshan is like all popular destinations in China, very crowded during peak season and national holidays, during these times, reservations are a must. Each season offers a unique aspect of this beautiful mountain.
Summer is one of the peak seasons, the mountain is green and refreshing, temperatures are cool and comfortable. Summer offers striking sunrises.
In the fall, the colors are at their brightest, blue skies and red maples make for picture perfect scenery. Autumn is also a peak season, specially during the October National holidays and it can be very crowded.
Winter is one of the prettiest seasons and the best time to appreciate the icy peaks surrounded by the Sea of Clouds as this is the season when it appears more often. Also, this is the most economical time to travel and when the crowds are smaller, except during the Chinese New Year Festival.
The promise of Spring brings fresh greens and wild flowers, waterfalls and streams are at their best. A beautiful time to visit and not as crowded as in the peak months of summer and autumn.
Regardless of when you visit, rain-gear or a poncho will come in handy, wear comfortable shoes or hiking boots, and most of all, enjoy the beauty of nature that surrounds you in these beautiful Chinese mountains!
The highlights of Yellow Mountain are concentrated in an area of roughly 60 square miles (154 square km). This scenic area is a showcase of nature, where you find the towering peaks and rock formations the area is so famous for.
The main peaks (some 70 of them) have been named and reach altitudes of over 1,000 meters. The most famous ones (and tallest) are Lotus Peak (1,864 m), Bright Top Peak (1,860 m) and Celestial Capital Peak (1,818 m).
There are two routes for climbers from the foot of the mountain, the Western Steps and the Eastern Steps. The Western Steps is the longer route, about 9 miles or 15 kilometers, but most claim it is the most scenic of the two. The Lotus and Celestial Capital Peaks are on this path.
The Eastern route is half the distance. You should allow between 5-7 hours for the longer route and about 3-4 for the shorter one to go at a leisurely pace. You could choose to go up on the shorter Eastern route and down the longer Western Route.
The paths are narrow and crowded at points, the steps can get very steep, and if you are afraid of heights, this might not be a good idea. Instead, you can choose to take the Cable Cars that whisk you up the mountain.
From the Cable Car Stations (there are several) there is a series of climbing paths and loops that bring you to all the main scenic areas of this beautiful Chinese mountain: the pavillions, the look out points and viewing areas. The paths are well-marked so it is easy to get around to where you want to go.
You can easily spend the whole day hiking around and exploring the many paths that take you to all the highlights or just enjoying the smaller loops.
Hotels and guest houses are available if you choose to overnight in the mountain, sunrise at Huangshan is really a treat.
The closest town at the foot of the mountain is the town of Tangkou. It is approximately 40 minutes from Huangshan City by bus. The buses drop you off by the parking lots and entrance gate. From here you must take a shuttle bus or taxi to the cable car station, and either you climb on the Western Steps or the Eastern Steps or ride to the peaks on the cable car!
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