This post was last updated on August 10th, 2019 at 11:55 am
For the active traveler who enjoys an adventure, a visit to Mount Hua (Hua Shan) is a great option. This is a mountain in China, near the city of Xi’an where you can also find the Terracotta army. Although it is certainly not the highest mountain (the top is 2,155 meters, about 7000 feet), it is one of the most extraordinary mountains in China.
The mountain is part of the Qinling Mountains and is one of the five holy mountains of China. It plays an important role in the Taoist tradition and besides tourists you will also find many pilgrims here.
The Sacred Mountain
If you have the opportunity to visit Mount Hua you will find a giant staircase at the foot of the mountain that is so high that you can hardly see the end. This highlight is also not reserved for people with a poor condition. The view of this mega staircase is actually already worth a visit to Mount Hua.
TIP – The best base for visiting this mountain is the village of Hua Shan.
The surroundings of the mountain are of fairy-tale-like beauty. It is not surprising that the Chinese have chosen this mountain as one of the five Sacred Mountains. In the mountains there are ancient temples and life-threatening (but beautiful) hiking trails that monks used to get to the temples. Today the paths are mainly populated by day trippers.
Mount Hua Track
In addition to beautiful views you will also find one of the most challenging (or dangerous, depends on how you want to read it) climbs in the world at Mount Hua. The “Huashan plank trail” takes you to the top of Mount Hua through a narrow and dangerous track over thin boards. Google a photo of Mount Hua track and you will find more than enough photos that will make you sweat.
Although the track is known as one of the most dangerous in the world, the moment you are at the top is a moment to remember. The view is phenomenal and (literally) breathtaking! If you climb towards the top you will pass villages built on the mountain until you finally reach a gondola that brings you to the southern top. The challenging and bizarre climb awaits you from there.
Climbing to the top
Climbing to the top is the best thing to do, it is the reason that many people come here. There are three options for getting to the North Peak. This is the first of the 5 peaks.
Cable car – the first way is to take a cable car on the east side of the mountain. This is useful if you do not want to climb. Within 8 minutes you will arrive at the top, and you see a lot of beautiful things along the way. It will cost you 150 Yuan ($21.25) for a roundtrip or 80 Yuan ($11.30) if you want just want to go there (and want to walk back).
Soldiers Path – this sounds the most exciting, and that’s because it is! You walk/climb under the cable car route to the top. It takes approximately 2 to 3 hours. Along the way are two 50-meter stretches where there is nothing else than steel cable as a “handhold”. Try to Google Soldiers Path Huashan 😉
Walking – the most popular option is to follow the 6-kilometer (3.7 miles) path to the North Peak from the village of Hua Shan. This takes around 3 to 5 hours. The last 2 kilometers are quite tough.
If you don’t like extreme mountain climbing, the route to the northern summit (1,561 meters) is a must. This original route is 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) long and winds towards the top. You will also find a cable car that takes you to the top. Other routes are more extreme and certainly not suitable for the inexperienced climber or people with a fear of heights. From the top on the northern part, a number of buildings run to the various peaks of Mount Hua.
TIP – There are different peaks where you can go; the East, South, and West Peak. South is the busiest (and highest). East is the quietest. You can take beautiful pictures at all three peaks.
A breathtaking view
Once you reach the top, you know that you have risked your life for a reason. First, the view is breathtaking. Second, you will find an old Taoist temple that has been converted into a Chinese teahouse. Without a doubt the summit of Mount Hua is one of the most beautiful places in the world where you can drink a cup of tea. You do have to pay well for it. From Xi’an, excursions to Mount Hua are organized.
How do you get there?
Huashan is easy to reach from the big city of Xi’an. You can take one of the buses. It takes 2 hours and costs around 36 yuan, around $5.10. The buses run between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and depart around the Xi’an Train Station. Please note that you will be dropped off at Yuquan Lu. You can ask the bus driver if they can drop you off in Huashan.
If they don’t, take a taxi. Never pay more than 10 Yuan ($1.40) for the taxi to the village of Huashan.
Location of Mount Hua
Click the image to view the location in Google Maps!