Chained to two flimsy harnesses against the mountain wall while balancing on a 7-inch wooden plank 7,000 feet up in the mountains. What I just described to you is the accelerating experience of climbing “China’s most dangerous hiking trail”- Huashan (Mount Hua). Famous for its stunning sunrise/sunset and the challenging hike for adventure lovers, Huashan is a famous mountain and hiking course for both locals and tourists.
How to get there:
To get to Huashan, you have two options. You can take a train from any large city or you can take a direct bus from Xi’an that drops you off in front of the main entrance of the mountain.
- Take a fast train to Huashan North Station (30-40 minutes from Xi’an North Station). When you get out of the station, walk out to the parking lot and take the free shuttle bus (#1) to Yuquan Yard (look for a giant lotus flower statue at a roundabout).
- Take a normal train to Huashan Station (1.5-2 hours from Xi’an Station). When you walk out of the station, take bus 608 (2rmb) to Yuquan Yard (look for a giant lotus flower statue at a roundabout).
- Take subway line 1 to Xi’an Fangzhicheng Bus Station and get a bus for Huayin (2 hours for 37.5rmb one way).
- Take a tourist bus from the east square in Xi’an Railway Station (1.5 hours for 39.5rmb one way or 66.5rmb round trip). This route is convenient because it drops you off right in front of Jade Spring Temple, which is the start of the hike up the mountain.
1 day or 2 days?
You can choose to complete this mountain in 1-day or in 2-days depending on how much time you want to spend up on the mountain and how challenging you want your hike to be.
- Take the new cable car from the west peak and make your way to the different peaks following the looped trail. To get to the west peak cable car, you can purchase your ticket at Yuquan Yard and take a 20-minute bus to the cable car entrance. 40rmb one way and 80rmb round trip. Start from the West Peak and follow the trail to the South Peak, East Peak, and finish your hike at the North peak where you can take another cable car back down (or you can go back to the west peak cable car). This trail is easier because if you start from the west peak, you will have more downhill trails than uphill. Choose this route if you just want the view without the physical challenge. (Level 1)
- Instead of taking the cable car up, take the north cable car up and starting from the north peak, make your way through the looped trail to the east peak, south peak, and west peak. You can choose to come down the west peak or you can choose to make your way back to the north peak to take the cable car down. This cable car is located at the ticket booth at Yuquan Yard. (Level 2)
- Instead of taking the cable car, walk up to the north peak, stay overnight at a hostel or pitch a tent, then take the cable car down from either the north or west peak. This is the route we chose for our trip. (Level 3)
- Climb up the mountain, sleep, and climb back down the next day. (Level 4)
|Entrance fee||180 RMB||100 RMB||50% off with ID card*|
|Cable car hours||7:00-19:00||9:00-17:00|
|West Peak cable car||140 RMB one way; 280 round trip||120 RMB one way; 240 round trip||50% off with ID card*|
|North Peak cable car||80 RMB one way; 150 round trip||45 RMB one way; 80 round trip||50% off with ID card*|
|Sky plank walk||30 RMB|
|Hostels||100-1000 RMB (price varies depending on the type of room)|
*You can use any type of student ID card. I used my old student ID card from college since it didn’t have a date on it. My friend used her teacher ID card (which didn’t work for the entrance ticket but worked for the cable car). Another blogger used their PADI license for everything. It doesn’t hurt to try.
For my trip to Huashan, I chose to do option 3– hike up the first day, stay overnight, and take the West Peak cable car down. When we got to Huashan North Railway Station, we made our way to the free shuttle bus (Bus #1) at the parking lot right outside of the entrance. From there, the bus will take you down to Yuquan Yard where you can buy all your entrance and cable car tickets. Since we wanted to hike up the mountain instead of taking the cable car, we had to walk to parking lot #2 to take another shuttle bus that would take us to Jade Spring Temple, which is the entrance to the walking trail up the mountain. If you also decide to take this path, make sure you bring a lot of water and snacks and mentally prepare yourself for a lot of stairs. It takes a good 4-6 hours to reach North Peak, but once you get higher up, the view is spectacular.
Once we reached North Peak, we walked into the first hostel we saw and checked in. The hostels up in the mountain take walk in check-ins so you don’t have to reserve ahead of time. There are also multiple hostels on different peaks, so you can choose your hostel based on how tired you are or how far you want to keep going. We chose the very first hostel we saw since we were exhausted.
The next day, we woke up early to start hiking again to the next peaks and stopped along the way to have breakfast and snacks. The hike the next day was difficult since our legs were already sore from the first day, but a lot cooler since we were higher up in the mountains. Our goal for the second day was to make our way to the Sky Plank Walk on the East Peak. Make sure you bring a jacket because the wind is very strong on this side of the mountain.
We arrived at the Sky Plank Wall at around 10 AM and already the line wrapped around the mountain. We ended up waiting for an hour to get harnessed in, but the line was a lot longer when we finished. Go early because it’ll get more crowded as people make their way up the cable car throughout the day.
Originally, we were thinking about walking down the mountain, but by the time we reached the South Peak, we were exhausted. We decided to take the West Peak cable car, which was one of the best decisions ever because the view down the cable car was stunning. Not only that, but we were also welcomed by a surprise roller coaster (30 RMB) that took us down to the bus parking lot. I highly recommend the roller coaster down.
-Pack lots of snacks and water. They have snack stands and restaurants, but it gets more expensive the higher you go up.
-Bring a jacket. Although it is really hot when you start climbing, it can get really cold and windy once you reach the peaks.
-Bring cash. There are no ATM machines once you start climbing. The only ATM machines are in the city and at the ticket booth.
-Pack instant ramen. All the hostels have free hot water, so you can cook a rewarding hot ramen after your hike.
–Gloves are optional. You do end up using your hands to climb up the stairs or to hold the chains while hiking up.
-Expect to get your photo taken by Chinese tourists.
-Expect crowds near the cable car peaks. It starts to get more crowded the closer you are to the cable cars.
-Pack toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
-Bring a small cloth. They have streams along the trails and it is refreshing to dip the cloth in the cold water to cool yourself.
-Pack your “student ID card”