Shimen Plank Road Scenic Area

Ancient Plank Road
Shimen Plank Road, Hanzhong
Located about 9 miles (15 km) to the northwest outskirts of Hanzhong city, Shimen Plank Road Scenic Area relies on the Shimen Dam and bears the beautiful natural scenery and traditional Chinese architecture. The most famous attractions in this scenic area are Shimen Plank Road, Shimen Tunnel and Shimen Dam.
 

Shimen Plank Road

Plank Road refers to the ancient passage built along mountains and cliffs. Ancient Chinese people cut holes on the cliff and inserted wooden beams, on which planks were laid to make a passage. Wooden railings were erected alongside to ensure the safety of users. Its history can be traced back to the Warring States Periods (476 BC-221 BC). In Qin (221 BC-206 BC) and Han (206BC-220) Dynasties the construction scale was largely expanded.

Among the countless ancient plank roads, Baoxie Plank Road is the most famous one. It was originally built in the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD). The place where the south entrance was located was called Bao and the north entrance was called Xie, thus the plank road was named Baoxie. It was 146 miles long. However, the original Baoxie Plank Road has been destroyed, only leaving holes in the mountain.

In 1969, along with the construction of Shimen Dam, the south entrance of ancient Baoxie Plank Road was flooded and an imitation was built on the cliff 77 feet above its former location. The new plank road, Shimen Plank Road is hanging on the cliff with a length of 2.03 miles (3.26 km). It fully follows the building styles of the ancient Baoxie Plank Road and perfectly reproduces a courier station, three postal kiosks, two trestle bridges and the original Tianxin Bridge.
Hanzhong Plank Road
Plank Road by Mountain Side
Baoxie Plank Road
Shimen Plank Road Scenic Area
 

Shimen Tunnel

Along Baoxie Plank Road, there is a section that was built inside, instead of on the surface of the mountain because the cliff was too precipitous. This tunnel, nowadays called Shimen Tunnel, measuring 17.8 yards long and 4.6 yards wide, was the first man-made tunnel in the world. The original tunnel was also flooded while building the Shimen Dam. But a 17-yard imitation was chiseled on the cliff. It is a marvelous reproduction of the miracle in the ancient history.

Inside the original tunnel and on its surrounding cliff, many famous officials and scholars in ancient times left inscriptions. They have been moved to Hanzhong Museum for better protection because of the construction of the dam.
 

Shimen Dam

When you go to Shimen scenic area, you cannot miss the Shimen Dam which was built in 1969. The dam is a comprehensively-utilized large scale hydro project mainly used for power generation, irrigation, flood control, tourism etc. Standing on the dam, you can see beautiful scenery along Qinlin Mountain and Ba Mountain.

Besides, you can also travel on the Baohe River by a boat, which would be a good way to experience the charm of nature and appreciate the sceneries along the riverside. The blue sky, fresh air, bright sunlight, green trees and mountains will guarantee you a wonderful journey. And when you travel around the scenic area, the Jitou Pass, Archaized Street, Lover Bridge and many statues will also leave you a great impression. Many statues there will provide a chance for you to know more about the stories of the Three Kingdoms and Chinese history.

 How to get there from Hanzhong:
Take bus no. 21 or 102 to Hedongdian Village, and then walk about 20 minutes northward to the destination.
March - November December to the Next February
Admission Fee CNY 75 CNY 55
Opening Hours 08:10 – 17:50 08:10 – 17:20

 Further reading:
As an important traffic hub along the way from Shaanxi to Sichuan in ancient times, which is blocked by Qinling Mountains, Hanzhong city has many plank roads except the famous Baoxie Road, such as Ziwu Road, Jinniu Road, Litchi Road, Micang Road, Chencang Road, and Lianyun Road. But it is a pity that we cannot travel along every route nowadays because most of them have been destroyed and only some relics remain. 
- Last modified on Apr. 13, 2021 -
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