The Four Wonders
Huangshan is famed throughout the world for its “four wonders", namely grotesque pines, oddly-shaped rocks, sea of clouds and hot springs, lending it the reputation "China's strangest mountain".
Ⅰ. Grotesque Pines
Huangshan's grotesque pine trees are scattered over peaks and ravines. They commonly grow on alpine peaks about 800-1,800 meters above sea level.
Huangshan pines are different from others. They usually take root on steep cliffs and stand on alpine peaks and steep ravines where there is little soil. Their tortured branches twist together to form beautiful but odd and grotesque shapes. The following are the top 3 famous pines in Huangshan.
1. Greeting Pine
Located on Wenshu Cave on the east of Jade Screen Peak, this stands about ten meters high and is at least 800 years old. It looks like a host flinging out his arms to welcome his guests. This pine is an iconic symbol of Huangshan.
2. Seeing-Guests-Off Pine
Located beside the path of Jade Screen Peak, the branches of this pine are green and low. One lateral shoot stretches out, as if bowing to guests. Thus the tree is called the "Seeing-Guests-Off Pine".
3. Black Tiger Pine
Located where roads meet between the North Sea and Beginning-to-Believe Peaks, this tree is about 15 meters tall and 65 centimeters in diameter. The shadow of the tree’s crown is about 100 square meters and the tree is estimated to be about 700 years old.
A shaman who had just been to Lion Forest once passed by the tree and when he looked up, he saw a black tiger hunched up on top. The tiger, however, disappeared in the twinkling of an eye and only the tree remained. Hence the name, “Black Tiger Pine”.
The trunk of this pine is very stout. The tree’s needles are dull green and its majestic branches are full of vigor. The crown is dark green, nearly black.
There are other well-known pines in Huangshan, such as Double Dragon Pine, Phoenix Pine, Leading Pine, and Couple Pine, all awaiting your discovery. Why not check out our Top Yellow Mountain Tours to research your own way of experiencing Huangshan?!
Ⅱ. Oddly-Shaped rocks
Huangshan is a natural museum of rocks of all shapes and sizes. Some look like animals, others like characters out of a Chinese dictionary, yet others like other objects, and some are named after historical stories or mythical tales.
More than 120 have been named, among which the most famous are Flying-Over Rock (飞来石), Immortal Pointing the Way (仙人指路) and Monkey Watching the Sea (猴子观海).
Ⅲ. Sea of Clouds
For centuries, Huangshan has been called "the home of cloud and mist". Of the four wonders of Huangshan, the Sea of Clouds is thought to be the most wonderful. It is like a miraculous beautician, bedecking this "fairyland on earth". When it is cloudy, the peaks loom out of the mist.
The Sea of Clouds at Huangshan is divided into five areas: South of Lotus Peak and Heavenly Capital Peak is the South Sea or Front Sea.
1. The South Sea or Front Sea
The Wenshu Terrace in the Jade Screen Tower is the best place from which to observe the Front Sea. It is surrounded by clouds, which float at once higher, at once lower. "A pen of natural colors descends on the world and draws many peaks in the southeast."
2. The North Sea or Back Sea
North of Lion Peak and Beginning-to-Believe Peak is the North Sea or the Back Sea. The Lion Peak and the Refreshing Terrace are not only the best places from which to observe the Sea of Clouds, but also for observing the sunrise.
Air circles around and always changes in the twinkling of an eye. When the sun shines, the peaks bathe in sunlight. It is spectacular and splendid, incomparable.
3. The East Sea
East of White Goose Ridge is the East Sea Scenic Area. The White Goose Ridge stands guard against the wind at the entrance to the East Sea Scenic Area. Standing here, travelers can see dimly discernible clouds.
4. The West Sea
West of Red Cloud Peak and Flying-Over Rock is the West Sea Scenic Area. The Cloud Dispelling Pavilion (排云亭) is the ideal point for enjoying the scenery, which attracts crowds daily at sunset. It's a masterpiece created by God.
5. The Middle Sea or Heavenly Sea
This is in front of Brightness Top, at the center of the Front Sea, the Back Sea, the East Sea and the West Sea Scenic Areas.
Brightness Top is 1,800 meters above 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 the three main peaks of Huangshan – Lotus Peak, Heavenly Capital Peak and Brightness Top, they can have a marvelous view over all five sea scenic areas.
When the Sea of Clouds rises to a great height the peaks look like numerous islands in the sea, appearing and disappearing on the waves.
The Five-Old-Men Boating (五老荡船) at the foot of Gongyang Mountain looks vivid among the Sea of Clouds. The Fairy Walking Bridge (步仙桥) at the West Scenic Area exhibits the wonderful phenomenon of walking on the clouds when the floating clouds spread apart.
Ⅳ. Hot Springs
The Hot Springs are listed as one of four wonders in Huangshan. In ancient times, they were also called "Tang Springs" or "Vermilion Springs".
According to Song Shengyou's Huangshan Map and Records, Huangdi, the earliest ancestor of the Chinese nation, bathed here. The hot springs smoothed away his wrinkles and Huangdi became young again. Hot springs were renowned for this.
Hot springs are located at the foot of the Purple Rock Peak. They are 650 meters above sea level.
The average temperature at the mouth of the main spring is 43℃ (109℉), and at the mouth of the second spring is 41℃ (106℉). The temperature of the spring water changes depending on atmospheric temperature and the quantity of rain falling.
3. Health effects
The spring water is said to have certain therapeutic effects for treatment of metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease and malfunctions of digestive and nervous systems. Travelers can bathe here to refresh themselves after mountain-climbing.
The main scenic spots at the Hot Spring Scenic Area are the Inverted V Falls (the Renzi Falls), the Three Folds 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 Scenic Area. The Area is the tourist reception center for Huangshan, where villas are built in groups and houses are dotted around. The Huangshan Hotel is also in this area.
The environment around Peach Blossom Brook, in front of the hotel, is quiet and secluded. There are many beautiful scenic spots around the brook and beside the brook are hot spring bathtubs and a swimming pool.
Ⅰ. The Best Sight-Seeing Places
Sunrise on Yellow Mountain
1. Best for sunrise: Refreshing Terrace, Lion Peak, Brightness Top, Jade Screen Mansion, Dawn Pavilion, Red Cloud Peak, Beginning-to-Believe Peak, Turtle Fish Peak
2. Best for sunset glow: Cloud-Dispelling Pavilion, Red Cloud Peak, Flying-Over Rock, Brightness Top, Lion Peak
3. Best for Sea of Clouds: Front Sea – Jade Screen Mansion; Back Sea – Refreshing Terrace; East Sea – White Goose Ridge; West Sea – Cloud Dispelling Pavilion; Heavenly Sea – Brightness Top
4. Best for snow-covered landscapes: North Sea (Front Sea), West Sea, Heavenly Sea, Jade Screen Mansion and Hot Springs.
Ⅱ. Sunrise Times on Huangshan
5:30-6:00 in spring; 5:00-5:40 in summer; 6:00-6:40 in autumn; 6:20-7:00 in winter
Ⅲ. Cable Cars
There are three cableways (with enclosed cars): Yuping (the front of the mountain), Yungu (the back of the mountain), and Taiping (the North Gate).
Opening hours: 7:00-17:00 (6:30-17:00 on weekends)
One-way price (per person):
High season (from March to November): Yungu and Taiping – 80 RMB; Yuping – 90 RMB
Low season (January, February and December): Yungu and Taiping – 65 RMB; Yuping – 75 RMB
Please note: Every year during the low season from December to February, the three cable cars will take turns to stop operation for annual maintenance. So it may be important to check up-to-date information before you travel.
Ⅳ. Nearby Attractions
1. Hongcun – A Village Alive in Chinese Painting
Located in the southwest corner of Huangshan, Hongcun is a peculiar cow-shaped ancient village, surrounded by lakes and mountains.
2. Xidi – A Hidden Land of Peach Blossoms
Situated at the foot of the southern slopes of Yellow Mountain, Xidi Village is endowed with an idyllic valley of clear-flowing streams, goldfish ponds and paddy fields, with a 900-year-old opulence.
3. Tunxi – A Famous Ancient Street of Chinese History and Culture
Tunxi Ancient Street is currently the best-preserved ancient pedestrian street in China, with architectural styles from the Song (960-1279), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.
There are more than ten ancient villages in Huangshan. Walking around these quiet picturesque villages will surely relieve your tiredness after getting down from Yellow Mountain.