Mt. Huashan
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Mt. Huashan

Situated in Huayin City, Mt. Huashan is 120 kilometers (about 75 miles) from Xian. It is famous for 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.

The Mountain 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 mountain, making it a holy land of Taoism. At its foot, are the representatives of its Taoist elements:

 Climbing Route

For many years most people have taken a traditional but efficient walking-ascending and cable-car-descending route for this mountain climbing. By taking this route, visitors can experience not only its danger, but also the major meaningful scenic spots. At the foot of the mountain, you can start your trip by visiting the Jade Spring Temple. After that, you can walk to the Memorial Archway in about 15 min, and then in 5 min you will get to Five Dragon Bridge, next to which is the ticket office.

Mt. Huashan, China Mount Huashan

Passing through the ticket office, you will see the scenic spots one by one:
walking about 30 min to Fish Stone – 20 min to Five-Mile Pass – 15 min to Stone Gate - 10 min to Shaluo Terrace – 10 min to Maonv Cave – 10 min to Qingke Terrace – 10 min to Mind Changing Stone (Huixin Stone) – 10 min to Thousand-Foot Precipice – 15 min to Hundred-Foot Crevice – 15 min to Taoist Temple of A Group of Immortals – 15 min to Laojun Furrow – 10 min to Ear-Touching Cliff – 5 min to Heavenward Ladder – 5 min to Black Dragon Ridge – 25 min to Golden Lock Pass – 10 min to Five-Cloud Peak – 15 min to Sunshine Welcoming Cave – 5 min to East Peak.

 Dangerous Passes

Along the way to East Peak you should be very careful when passing the major dangerous passes, such as the above-mentioned Thousand-Foot Precipice, Hundred-Foot Crevice, Black Dragon Ridge and Golden Lock Pass.

  East Peak (Facing Sun Peak)

Climbing to the top of East Peak takes 4 to 6 hours. It has an altitude of 2,090 meters (about 6,857 feet), forming a platform for visitors to view the sunrise. An astronomical telescope is provided here. The reference time for sunrise is 5:00a.m.-6:00a.m. in spring, 4:30a.m.-5:20a.m. in summer, 5:00a.m.-5:20a.m. in autumn and 5:30a.m.-6:00a.m. in winter.

Huashan Mountain, ShaanxiOne well-known scenic spot, the Immortal's Palm Peak, ranked as one of the Eight Scenic Wonders of the Guanzhong Area (the plain in the middle of Shaanxi Province), is located on the East Peak. It refers to the natural rock veins of the cliff, which look like a giant palm-print.

The legend goes that on March 3rd of the Lunar Calendar a torrential flood destroyed the villages within the Mt. Huashan area. This disaster was caused by the Queen Mother of the West, who held her Flat Peach Carnival celebration that year. She carelessly spilled a little jade wine down from paradise, causing a serious flood below. This news was quickly reported by Deity Shaohao to the Jade Emperor in Celestial Paradise. He gave a prompt order to Deity Juling to go down to tame the flood. When Deity Juling, full of vigor and vitality, descended from the clouds, he arrived at the precipitous cliff of East Peak. At the moment that he laid his left hand on one side and his right leg on the other, he ripped the mountain into two halves and immediately a flood rushed out. This tale adds luster to East Peak.

* After enjoying the sunrise at East peak, you can descend according to this route in case you have missed some scenic spots: East Peak – about 35 min to Heavenly South Gate – 5 min to Plank Road – 25 min to Heaven Watching Pool – 5 min to South Peak – 35 min to West Peak – 15 min to Middle Peak – 20 min back to Black Dragon Ridge – 25 min to Macaque Sorrow – 5 min to North Peak.

 South Peak (Landing Wild Geese Peak)

The Shoushen Cliff on Mt. HuashanWith an altitude of 2,160 meters (about 7,087 feet), the South Peak is regarded as the monarch of the mountain because it is the highest peak and also the highest peak among the Five Sacred Mountains of China. Visitors who summit South Peak are undoubtedly winners. Looking around when standing at the peak, the surrounding landscapes are luxuriantly green; the Yellow River wanders far below and everything seems small. A legend goes that the wild geese returning from the south often landed at South Peak, giving the area the name Landing Wild Geese Peak.

At the top of South Peak, the Black Dragon Pool at the summit and the Greeting Pines on the southwestern cliff are two attractive resorts. At each side of the Landing Wild Goose Peak there are two peaks, Songhui Peak (Pine and Juniper Peak) in the east and Xiaozi Peak (Filial Son Peak) in the west. The three peaks form a picture of a Titan sitting in a chair. The most dangerous place is Plank Road, a plank path built along the side of a vertical cliff, about 0.3 meters (about 1 foot) wide. Below is a bottomless gulf which makes visitors shake with fear. In addition, there is a Taoist temple called Baidi Temple or Jintian Palace, considered to be the host temple of Deity Shaohao.

 West Peak (Lotus Flower Peak)

Mt. HuaWest Peak has very high cliffs standing erect with an altitude of 2,086.6 meters (about 6,845 feet). There is a Taoist temple called Cuiyun Palace, before which a huge rock looking like a lotus flower comes into view, hence the name Lotus Flower Peak. There are another seven rocks beside Cuiyun Palace, which is said to be the place where Chenxiang (a main character in the movie Lotus Lantern) ripped the mountain to save his mother (The Heavenly Goddess San Sheng Mu).

 Middle Peak (Jade Maiden Peak)

Middle Peak clings to East Peak and is in the center of East, South and West Peaks. There is a Taoist temple on the peak named Jade Maiden Temple. Legend has it that the daughter of Qin Mugong (569 - 621 BC) loved a man who was good at playing Chinese tung-hsiao (vertical flute) and she gave up the royal life to become a hermit who cultivated her spirituality here, hence the name Jade Maiden Peak. Today Jade Maiden Temple and Jade Maiden Basin for Shampooing can be found on the peak. Other scenic spots in Middle Peak include Rootless Tree and Sacrificing Tree, which have beautiful stories and add to the supernatural atmosphere of Middle Peak.

  North Peak (Cloud Terrace Peak)

Lotus Cave on the Mt. HuashanThere are precipitous cliffs on all sides of North Peak, making it look like a flat terrace in the clouds, hence the name Cloud Terrace Peak. It is 1,614 meters (about 5,295 feet) high. Three sides are cliffs and one side is to the Ear-Touching Cliff, which is the fourth precipitous path where visitors can climb up only by pressing an ear close to the cliff. Almost halfway up the North Peak trees are luxuriantly green, creating a good rest spot.

Upon arrival at the North Peak, you can walk to the Cableway Station in 3-5 min and take the cable car to descend.

 Tip on Easy Climbing by Cable Car

Visiting the mountain by cable car is another good choice for visitors. On the east side of Yuquan Temple, Cable Car on Mt. Huashanthere is an about 8 kilometer long (about 5 miles long) concrete road leading up to Wamiaogou where you can take a cable car directly to the North Peak. The top station is located on the east cliff of North Peak. The whole ride is more than 1,500 meters (about 0.9 mile) long and takes seven or eight minutes. The other cable car line starts from Donggoukou to West Peak with a stop at White Sparrow Temple. The whole ride is about 4,211 meters (about 2.6 miles) long and takes about 20 minutes. It is easier to get to the South and East Peak from West Peak compared with the North Peak. 

 See more practical Travel Tips on food, water, clothing, safety, sunrise watching and accommodation and so on.


 How to go there from Xian:
1. Take high speed trains (30-40 minutes) from Xian North Railway Station to Huashan North Station. There are green minubuses picking tourists up outside the station to the mountain for free.
2. Take normal trains (1.5-2 hours) from Xian Railway Station to Huashan Station. Take bus 608 to Baoliandeng Square (Huashan Shengtai Square), which is near the entrance.
Click Xian Train Schedule to search for detailed information on time and price.

3. Take subway line 1 to Xian Fangzhicheng Bus Station and take the regular bus to Huayin. The bus runs every 30 minutes between 07:45 and 19:00. The bus ticket costs CNY 37.5 and the bus ride takes about 2 hours.
4. Take Tourism Bus Line 1 (out of service at present) at Xian Railway Station. It leaves at 08:00. The ticket costs CNY 22 and the bus ride takes about 3 hours. It is suspended from January to March.
 Xian Bus / Subway Search

 How to get back to Xian:
1. Take a taxi from Dongshanmen Parking Lot to Huashan North Station with a cost of about CNY25, and then take high speed trains back to Xian.
2. There are many buses at Xishan Gate (the middle section of Yuquan Rd.) to Xian Railway Station and just leave when a bus is full. The ticket costs about CNY 30-35.
3. Take the Tourism Bus Line 1 (out of service at present) which starts from Dongshanmen Parking Lot to Xian Railway Station at 18:00.


Entrance Fee (including main peaks scenic area, Jade Spring Temple, Xianyu Scenic Area and Xiyue Temple):
March 1 to November 30: CNY 180;
December 1 to end of next February: CNY 100;
Note: The ticket is valid for two days.

Cable Car Service: (two lines)
March 1 to November 30: 07:00-19:00
December 1 to end of next February; 09:00 - 17:00

 Donggoukou - White Sparrow Temple - West Peak
March 1 to November 30: CNY 280 (round trip); CNY 140 (one way)
December 1 to end of next February: CNY 240 (round trip); CNY 120 (one way)
1) Wengyu Tourism Bus (CNY40 for one way and CNY80 for a round trip) runs between Tourist Service Center and Donggoukou, the lower station of West Peak cable car.
2) Visitors can get off at White Sparrow Temple. After visiting the temple, continue to take the cable car to the West Peak.

 Wamiaogou - North Peak
March 1 to November 30: CNY 150 (round trip); CNY 80 (one way)
December 1 to end of next February: CNY 80 (round trip); CNY 45 (one way)
Notice: Huangfuyu Tourism Bus (CNY20 for one way and CNY40 for a round trip) runs between Tourist Service Center and Wamiaogou, the lower station of North Peak cable car.

Best Time to Visit: April to October

 Recommended Tours:
Tang Imperial Temple & Mt. Huashan: 4 days of the mountain & ancient Xian travel
Huashan Hiking Adventure: with suggested route and travel tips
More Xian Tours

 Further Readings:
Known as “the Number One Precipitous Mountain under Heaven”, Mt. Huashan is one of the five sacred mountains in China. The other four are Mt. Taishan in Shandong, Mt. Hengshan in Hunan, Mt. Hengshan in Shanxi, and Mt. Songshan in Henan.