Are you an adrenaline junkie that is looking for a dangerous yet thrilling mountain trek to embark on? You should add Mount Huashan to your next to-do list. One of the main reasons it is a must-see is because it is in a relatively remote area and in terms of tourism, it is quite underrated compared to other treks.
Huashan in Mandarin simply means Mountain Hua as shan is the Mandarin word for mountain. It is one of the five mountains that are referred to as The Five Great Mountains of China. Mount Huashan has five peaks and is of strong cultural and religious significance for Daoism.
The trek itself is around 12 km long and is in the city of Huanyin, in the southern part of Shanxi province in Northwestern China. It is found about 120 km away from the busy tourist hotspot city of Xi’an (Xi’an is the city with the infamous Terracotta warriors).
You will also get the chance to walk through some beautiful temples and shrines, giving you the chance to learn and appreciate the cultural history of the site. Needless to say, there will be breath-taking scenery of the mountains peaking through the clouds for you to savour.
What makes Huashan dangerous
Hiking up Mount Huashan has been referred to as one of the most dangerous in the world by several media outlets such as Business Insider. Mount Huashan gets this reputation because of the part of the trail known as The Plank Walk.
The trail is at an elevation of around 1,800 m and all you have to rely on is a narrow, wooden planks to walk on and a chain to hold on to!
The original trail took around 3,000 years to build. If it took that long to build, you only have to imagine how challenging the original trail would have been. Traversing a trail that snakes around rough mountain edges while being treated to an incredible view and the chance to appreciate the beautiful architecture of the temples built along the way, is what makes Mount Huashan every adrenaline-junkie’s dream.
However, this does not mean that you have to be a professional at rock climbing or mountaineer to go on this trail. The government has tried to boost tourism in the rural area and has installed new safety and accessibility features. For example, there is now a cable car that can take you to the top of the peak and gives you the chance to the incredible views of the mountains.
There are also wider pathways, railings and stairways now.
The trail still has incredibly narrow walks and very steep stairs still makes it a relatively tough trek to embark on.
The Mount Huashan Trail
You will start off with a very easy path lined with many trees, a river and a lot of temples and shrines along the way.
As you approach and start the ascent up Mount Huashan, you will need to brave very steep and small stairs carved into the stone with chains lining the paths to act as handrails.
There are five peaks altogether at Mount Huashan: East, West, Middle, North and South peaks. It could take up to 4-6 hours to reach the East Peak of Mount Huashan depending on your pace and fitness level.
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