Yellow Mountain is a blend of the majesty of Taishan Mountain, the ruggedness of Huashan Mountain, the cloud of Hengshan Mountain, the flying waterfall of Lushan Mountain, the bizarre rock of Yandangshan Mountain and the beauty of E'mei Mountain. Mt. Huangshan is famous for its four supreme sights: strange pines, grotesque rocks, the sea of clouds and hot springs in the world. It has the reputation of being "China's strangest mountain".
In 1990, Yellow Mountain was added to the list of "Human Natural Heritage protected in the world" by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It has become a treasure of all mankind.
Yellow Mountain covers an area of 1200 square kilometers, with a well developed scenic area of 154 square kilometers. Yellow Mountain is a blend of the majesty of Taishan Mountain, the ruggedness of Hushan Mountain, the clouds of Hengshan Mountain, the flying waterfall of Lushan Mountain, the bizarre rock of Yandangshan Mountain and the beauty of E'mei Mountain. 2 lakes, 3 waterfalls, 16 springs and 24 brooks also show their beauty.
Yellow Mountain is famous for its "four wonders"-odd-shaded pines, grotesque rocks, the sea of clouds and the hot springs in the world. Xu Xiake a noted Chinese geologist from the Ming Dynasty, who has visited Yellow Mountain twice, said "Don't visit Yellow Mountain after you have been to the other for Mountains, and don't visit other four mountains after traveling Huangshan".
On November 8, 1982, Yellow Mountain was listed as a first state key scenic spots bythe State Council of the People's Republic of China. Yellow Mountain was added to the list of "World Cultural and Natural Heritage" by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.The Yellow Mountain is famed for its “four wonders" namely Oddly-shaped Pines, Grotesque Rocks, Hot Springs and Sea of Clouds.
Four Wonders of Yellow Mountain
Huangshan's odd-shaped pines are scattering about peaks and ravines. They commonly grow on the alpine peaks which are about 800-1,800 meters above the sea level. Huangshan pines are different from other pines. They usually take root on steep cliffs and stand on alpine peaks and steep ravines where there is little soil. The tortured branches twist together to form very beautiful but and odd and grotesque shapes.
Welcoming Guest Pine: Located on the east side of the Jade Screen Peak and on the Wenshu Cave, it stands about ten meters high. The diameter of its trunk is 64 centimeters, and the diameter of its root is 75 meters. The middle part of its trunk has two main lateral shoots, which are 7.6 meters long, and stretch forwards.
It looks like a hospitable host who flings her arms out to welcome the arrival of her guests warmly. This pine is the representative of Mt. Huangshan's pines. It's China's treasure.
Seeing-Guest-Out Pine: Located beside the path of the Jade Screen Peak,the branches of this pine are low green. One lateral shoot stretches out, as if to bowing its guests. It's called "the Seeing-Guest-out Pine".
Black Tiger Pine: Located at the road conjunction of the North Sea and the Beginning-to-Believe Peak, the tree ia about 15 meters high and the diameter of its trunk is 65 centimeters. Projection area of the crown is about 100 square meters and the tree is estimated to be about 700 years old.
A shaman who had been to the Lion Forest, passed by the tree and when he looked up he saw a black tiger hunched up on the top of the pine. This black tiger disappeared in the twinkling of an eye and He only saw a tall pine. The trunk of this pine is very stout. Pine needles are a dull green color and the majestic branches are full of vigor. The crown is a dark green which is nearly black.
Double Dragon Pine: Opposite the Echo Wall of the West Sea, the pine has two main trunks. It grows out from the crack of the rock and twists on the steep cliff. It looks like two dragons which are playing in the cloud sea and pine forest. In 1977, it was stuck by lightning and died. The trunk is still there, and travelers can imagine the splendor of this once beautiful tree.
PhoenixPine: 200 meters to the east of the Sea Heart Pavilion. The diameter of its root is 30 centimeters. The trunk of it is low and short. The tree divides into two branches. One extends slanting as if it were a phoenix stretching its neck; the other is flattened as if a phoenix were displaying its fine tail feathers.
Leading Pine: It is the third of the nine famous pines and is located on the Beginning-to-Believe Peak. Three sides of the Beginning-to-Believe Peak face ravines and just one side is capable of being climbed with climbing gear however the view is breathtaking. This pine stretches its branches as if leading travelers to pass ravines.
Couple Pine: On the way from the Black Tiger Pine to the Beginning-to-Believe Peak, the pine stands erectly from the earth. 2 meters away from the earth, the pine is divided into two branches. They join together again and grow up to the top on the same stalk. They are nearly in the same thickness and height and they are full of vigor. One branch is said to be Tangxuanzong (an emperor from the Tang dynasty) and the other is Yangguihui, his concubine.
Before their death, they had promised to come to Mt. Huangshan together to be husband and wife after their death. When Yangguihui died, she stood by her promise. She went to Mt Huangshan and lived in Penglai Three Islands. When Tangxuanzong died he also fulfilled his promise. They became this Couple Pine at the Beginning-to-Believe Peak near the North Sea.
Huangshan is a natural museum of grotesque rocks. Some look like animals, some look like characters, some look like objects, and some get their name from historical stories or mythical tales.More than 120 have been named.
The Hot Springs are listed as one of four wonders in Huangshan. They are also called "the Tang Spring" or "the Vermilion Spring" in ancient times. According to the records of Songshengyou's Huangshan Map and Record, Huangdi, the earliest ancestor of the Chinese nation, bathed here. Spring smoothed away his wrinkles and Huangdi became young again. Hot springs were famous for this and called "the Ling spring".
Hot springs are located at the foot of the Purple Rock Peak and on the north bank of the Tang Spring Brook. They are 650 meters above the sea level. The average temperature at the mouth of the main spring is 42.5 degrees centigrade and the mouth of the second spring is 41.1 degrees centigrade. The temperature of spring changes depending on atmospheric temperature and quantity of water falling.
The largest discharge in spring is 219.51 tons s day, and the smallest is 145.23 tons. The spring water is said to have certain therapeutic effects for treatment and health care for metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease and malfunctions of digestive, nervous and material systems. Travelers can have a bath here to ease their tiredness from the mountain climbing.
The main scenic spots at the Hot Spring Scenic Area are the Inverted V Falls (the Renzi Falls), the Three Folding Spring, the Ringing String Spring, the Red Well, the Tipsy Rock and the Mercy Light Chamber.
Travelers commonly take a bus to the Hot Spring. The Hot Spring is the tourist reception centre for Mt. Huangshan. Villas are built in groups and houses are here and there. The Huangshan Hotel is also in this area. The environment of the Peach Blossom Brook which is in front of the hotel is quiet and secluded. There are many beautiful scenic spots at the Peach Blossom Brook and beside the brook are hot spring bathtubs and a swimming pool.
Since early times, Huangshan has been called "the Yellow Sea". Of the four wonders of Mt Huangshan, The Sea of Clouds is thought to be the most wonderful. The Sea of Clouds is a miraculous beautician who bedecks "the fairyland on earth". When it is cloudy, the peaks loom in mists. There are thousands of images, and many more can be imagined.
The Sea of Clouds at Huangshan isdivided into five sea areas: South of the Lotus Peak and the Heavenly Capital Peak is the South Sea or the Front Sea.
Cloudscape of Huangshan Mountain
The Wenshu Terrace in the Jade Screen Tower is the best place to watch the Front Sea. It is surrounded by clouds, which float suddenly higher and suddenly lower. "Natural color pen comes to the world and draw a lot of peaks in the southeast".
North of the Lion Peak, the Beginning-to-believe Peak is the North Sea or the Back Sea. The Lion Peak and the Refreshing Terrace are not only the best place to watch the Sea of Clouds, but also to watch the sunrise. Air circles around and is always changing in the twinkling of an eye. When the sun is shining, the peaks bath in sunlight. It is very showy and splendid, with which nothing can compare.
East of the White Goose Ridge is the East Sea Scenic Area. The White Goose Ridge stands against wind at the entrance to the East Sea Scenic Area. Standing here, travelers can see cloud is dimly discernible. West of the Red Cloud Peak, the Lying-over Peak is the West Sea Scenic Area. The Cloud Dispelling Pavilion is the ideal point for enjoying the scenery, which attracts crowds daily at sunset. It's a masterpiece made by god.
In front of the Light Top Peak is the Heavenly Sea, which is located in the middle of the Front Sea Scenic Area, the Back Sea Scenic Area, the East Sea Scenic Area and the West Sea Scenic Area. The Light Top Peak is 1,800 meters above the sea level. The terrain is flat. Clouds rise up from the soles of travelers' feet. The clouds and the sky merge together.
If travelers climb three main peaks of Huangshan-the Lotus Peak, the Heavenly Capital Peak and the Light Top Peak, they can have a marvelous view over all five sea scenic areas.
When the Sea of Clouds rise to a great height the peaks look like numerous islands in the sea, appearing and disappearing on the waves. The Five-Old-Man Boating at the foot of Gongyan Mountain looks very vivid among the Sea of Clouds. The Fairy Walking-on-stilts at the West Scenic Area shows the wonderful gesture of walking on the clouds when floating clouds spread apart.
A huge tortoise swims to steep ridges and peaks on the unbounded sea in the southwest of the Light-top Peak. Odd peaks and grotesque rocks at Huangshan appear more complicated and confusing with the foiling of errant clouds. Grotesque rocks become more grotesque and odd peaks become odder. This adds some tempting artistic appeal to Mt. Huangshan.
People who have visited Huangshan all say: The theme of Mt. Huangshan is in the clouds. That's to say, the best view in Huangshan is in the high peak zone and it's the best when it's cloudy.
Experienced travelers say that people who want to get the best from their visit to Huangshan must climb up the high peak zone, or they miss the best scenery. A cable car has been opened so travelers can take a bus from the Hot Spring to the Cloud Valley Temple, and then take a cable car to the White Goose Ridge of the North Sea in Mt. Huangshan. Go up from the back of the mountain and go down from the front of the mountain.
Young travelers, who are energetic and healthy can up from the front mountain and go down from the back mountain.
The North Sea Hotel is the reception centre for the back mountain. On the right of the North Sea Hotel is the Scattering Flower Collection where people can enjoy the famous and spectacular sights of "Flower-Dream out of a Writing Brush". Opposite the North Sea Hotel is the majestic Lion Peak and the famous rock "Monkey Watching Moon". The Refreshing Terrace, which is the main point to watch the scenery of the North Sea, is on the side of Lion Peak.
People can come here to watch magnificent sunrise on the Sea of clouds. The Stone Bamboo Shoot Rainbow is located to the east of the North Sea Hotel, and is called the most spectacular sight at Huangshan. A forest of Stone pillars stand at different heights on the Stone Bamboo Shoot Rainbow. Odd-shaded pines and grotesque rocks show different beauty. "Eighteen-Arhat towards South Sea" is vivid and engrossing.
How to Enjoy
The best place for enjoying scenery in the West Sea is the Cloud Dispelling Pavilion. The many mountains are like an arrow forest. Big peaks are boundless and majestic. Little peaks lap over. When clouds wind around, tier upon tier of mountains sometimes appear and sometimes disappear, which look like numerous islands on he boundless sea. When the sun sinks below the horizon, the mountains are aglow with vivid sunset colors.
The Light Top Peak is the spot to enjoy scenery at the Heavenly Sea. Because the ground is high and spacious, it is the best place to watch sunrise and the Sea of Clouds. Walking south from the Light Top Peak, travelers will pass vivid "Turtle Fish Peak" and "Old Monk Sleeping". Walk down "One Hundred Step Cloud Stairs" and arrive at the Lotus Peak. Lotus Peak is sheer, tall and majestic and looks like a young lotus.
Walk southeast from Lotus Peak, and arrive at Jade Screen Peak. It's the centre of three main peaks at Huangshan. All marvelous scenery seems to have collected here. It has the reputation of "the Best Place in Mt. Huangshan". It's the place to enjoy the scenery of the Front Sea. The Welcoming Pine stands on the eastern side of the Jade Screen Peak.
Walk east from the Welcoming Pine, and arrive at the Heavenly Capital Peak, which is the steepest peak of three main peaks at Huangshan. It isn't easy to climb Heavenly Capital Peak. Travelers must pass the steep and lofty Heavenly Ladder and Heavenly Bridge, the Carp Back and three caves before arriving. The Carp Back is the most dangerous. When travelers climb up the Heavenly Capital Peak and then descend the mountain. The scenery along the paths is wonderful.
West Sea Grand Canyon
The Xihai, also called West Sea, is a Scenic Area of Yellow Mountain offers some of the most charming landscapes. Visitors pay a visit to the canyon will be breath-taking when look down from the V-shaped canyon. Bizarre shaped rock can be imagined to be different images and have imaginative nicknames such as Upside-Down Boot, Lady Playing the Piano, Dog Watching the Sky, and Man Walking on Stilts.
In addition, the visitor can appreciate several cloud-bathed peaks such as Archway Peak, Double Bamboo-Shoot Peak, Nine-Dragons Peak, Pine-Forest Peak, Stone-Bed Peak, and Stone-Pillar Peak.
The canyon’s landform decides it involves a relatively sharp descent, the surrounding cliffs and peaks appear to extend higher and higher. Due to the ideal climatic conditions and majestically tall altitude, pine trees are to be seen everywhere, some being so old and the local people like giving them names according to the oddly shape of the pines.
The scenery changes as one proceeds along this route, which, in some places, is along a sheer drop, though protected by a barrier. From the bottom of the canyon floor one proceeds back along the other leg of the "V" towards the exit at the White Cloud Area (alternatively, one can take the reverse route).
The Walking Fairyland Bridge in the south and the Cloud-Dispelling Pavilion in the north are the entrance and exit of the West Sea Grand Canyon. From either of the two entrances, visitors have to cover a distance of 9.5 km. The canyon is a good place properly preparing for the visitors who are fond of hiking. It will take about 4 hrs to complete the "V" of the West Sea Grand Canyon tour.
A complete tour beginning at the Cloud-Dispelling Pavilion involves a 4.5 km hike to Walking Fairyland Bridge, where one has a spectacular view of the canyon, and then on to the canyon floor itself at Tianhai (Haixin Pavilion), which corresponds, roughly, to the "bottom" point of the tour's "V".
The complete, entrance-to-exit West Sea Grand Canyon tour is a demanding hike that is decidedly not for the frail or faint of heart. For those who require a less-rigorous hike, an easier option would be to follow only a portion of the route from either entrance, then return to that entrance point along the same route.
Under all circumstances, the visitor should definitely follow a portion of the hike, as it will provide stunning imagery that will last a lifetime.