Walk like a Hidden Dragon: Yellow Mountains

Walk like a Hidden Dragon: Yellow Mountains

Beginning to Believe peak, Mt Huagnshan

Trek Essentials

Where: Yellow Moutains, Anhui province, South China
When:
 Mild all year round
Best Sights: Ancient pine trees floating in icy mists & warming hot springs
Remember to Bring: Waterproofs, the mists can be suprisingly dense

The Oscar winning film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon made many people dream of running up trees and sword fighting among the treetops or flying off a bridge into the mist filled mountains below. The good news for fantasists is that these dramatic scenes can be recreated yourself (at least the scenery bit) in the Yellow Mountains of the south China Anhui province where much of the movie’s filming actually took place. These mountains have lured not only filmmakers but also millions of poets, painters and the general population for centuries that wanted to experience the awesome beauty of the jagged rocky peaks dotted with odd shaped pines, and mountains floating in the seas of mist. These are the peaks that modelled for the traditional Chinese paintings and inspired the famous poet Li Bai to write his poem:

Once I was on its lofty summit,
Admiring Tianmu Pine Below.
The place is still traceable where the immortal
Before ascending to heaven made elixir out of jade.

Since 1990, this mountain range, where the scenery changes from minute to minute, has been declared a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site. With 72 peaks and numerous mountain trails, this spot also make an ideal haunt for the adventure and beauty seeking trekker. The temperatures are agreeable all year round (from 60-70F) and multiple hot springs are waiting to soothe the sore legs and feet of any trekker upon their return from the mountain trails.

How to Get Started:

The entrance fee for the Mt. Huagnshan area in general is 65 Yuan and this can be bought at the start of the eastern steps near the Yungsui telpher stop. There are three ways to get to the summit (Lotus Flower Peak - the highest peak in the range at over 5,000ft):

Eastern Steps: The moderate sloped 7 1/2 miles to the top will take around 3 hours with chances for a stop at the Cloud Valley Scenic Spot.

Western Steps: This is a much more difficult route, twice as long and strenuous as its eastern brother. It may be tough work but the spectacular scenery and multiple scenic spots offering a place of rest will reward you. The trail begins from the Mercy Light Temple, about 2 miles above the Hot Springs Scenic Area. “Locks of love” pave your route, as this is the spot where young lovers come to fasten their name engraved locks to the chains along the path to symbol that they are locked together in love.

Telphur: This is by far the easiest and least painful way to get to the summit. Telphurs are the cable cars that take only a matter of minutes to whisk you away to the highest point in the mountain range and enjoy the views from there. But wouldn’t that just be cheating?

Scenic points and Trails

Along the trails, many scenic spots offer spectacular views of the various peaks and odd-looking rock formations, all named according to the things or ideas they resemble. The scenes change from minute to minute as the mist tides ebb and flow offering hours of spectacular viewing entertainment.

Among the many scenic points and peaks, the Beginning to Believe Peak is one of the most spectacular. This is the point where they say you really come to appreciate the incomprehensible beauty that your senses have been overloaded with up until now. The view from this spot is exactly what you had pictured in your mind with mountains floating in the seas of mist and fog, obscure rock formations and lone standing pine trees that have weathered the years of erosion.

The Cloud Valley scenic area is the jump off point for those interested in longer than day hike. From here, various mountain trails can offer days of trekking pleasure. Don’t forget your rain gear since the mist is unrelenting in this land of the heavens.

More Information

Li Bai Poem
The infamous poem about the Yellow Mountains.

Huangshan Travel Guide 
Information about Huangshan City and Mt Huangshan including maps, route information, best scenic spots and places to stay.

By Amy Jurries

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