Mount Hua, formerly known as "Xiyue"(西岳), is the westernmost mountain of China's Five Sacred Mountains. It is located in Huayin city, Shaanxi Province, 120 km (75 miles) from Xi'an. Mount. Hua is well-known for its sheer cliffs and plunging ravines. It is the most dangerous mountain in China for climbers.
The Five Peaks
There are five peaks in the mountain, among which the most famous three are Sunrise Peak( East Peak), Lotus Flower Peak( West Peak), Falling Goose Peak( South Peak).
East Peak (Sunrise Peak)
There is a precipitous platform on top of the East Peak at an altitude of 2,096 meters (6,877 feet), with views free of any obstructions, called Sunrise Terrace (观日台). It is the best place for watching the sunrise on Mount Hua. There are dozens of special sights on East Peak. The most famous is Immortal's Palm Peak (仙掌崖), ranked as the first of Eight Scenic Wonders of Xi’an. Its name comes from the natural rock veins of the cliff, which look like a giant palm-print. Other recommended sites: Welcoming the Sunshine Cave ( Ying Yang Dong迎阳洞), Somersault Cliff (鹞子翻身) and Chess Pavilion (下棋亭).
Sunrise watching tips:
The approximate time for sunrise at East Peak:Spring: 05:00 – 06:00; Summer: 04:30 – 05:20;Autumn: 05:00 – 05:20 Winter: 05:30 – 06:00.
South Peak (Wild Geese Landing Peak)
South Peak is regarded as the king of the mountain at an altitude of 2,155 meters (7,070 feet), for it is the highest peak among the Five Sacred Mountains of China. The name Wild Geese Landing Peak comes from a legend that wild geese returning from the south often landed at this peak. It’s a good place for viewing the sunset. To the east and west of the Wild Geese Landing Peak there are two peaks, Songhui Peak (i.e. Pine and Juniper Peak松桧峰) and Xiaozi Peak (i.e. Filial Son Peak孝子峰) respectively. The latter looks like a Titan sitting in a chair.
As one of the most breathtaking paths on Mount Hua, the Changkong Plank Road (长空栈道) is outside the Heavenly South Gate (南天门), on a sheer cliff face with only a chain along the cliff for support. Other recommended features: Baidi Temple (i.e. Jin Tian Gong金天宫, the temple of the deity Shaohao), Heaven Watching Pool (仰天池), Black Dragon Pool (黑龙潭) and the Greeting Pines (迎客松)
West Peak (Lotus Peak)
A boulder shaped like a lotus petal stands at the summit of West Peak at 2,087 meters (6,846 feet), hence the name Lotus Peak. Scenic spots are many at West Peak, such as Cuiyun Palace (翠云宫), Lotus Cave (莲花洞), and Sacrificing Cliff (舍身崖), coming with various beautiful myths and legends. For instance, the Appeared Stone (斧劈石) beside Cuiyun Palace is said to be the place where Chenxiang, one of the main characters in the movie Lotus Lantern, ripped open the mountain to save his mother, the Heavenly Goddess San Sheng Mu.
North Peak (Cloud Terrace Peak)
There are precipitous cliffs on all sides of North Peak, at 1,615 meters (5,298 feet), making it look like a flat terrace in the clouds, hence the name Cloud Terrace Peak. There are some impressive sights on the way to the summit, like the Taoist Temple of a Group of Immortals (群仙观), Laojun Furrow (老君犁沟), and Macaque Sorrow (猢狲愁).
Halfway up the North Peak, trees are luxuriously green, creating a good resting spot. There is a platform at the summit, which makes it a good place to look back over the other peaks and Green Dragon Ridge (苍龙岭). Upon arrival at the North Peak, you can walk to the Cableway Station in 3-5 minutes and take a cable car to go back down.
Middle Peak (Jade Maiden Peak)
Middle Peak, at an altitude of 2,038 meters (6,686 feet), clings to East Peak and is located at the center of East, South and West Peaks. There is a Taoist temple on the peak named Jade Maiden Temple (玉女祠).
Legend has it that the daughter of Qin Mugong (569-621 BC) loved a man who was good at playing the Chinese tung-hsiao (vertical flute) and she gave up life as a royal to become a hermit, cultivating her spirituality here, hence the name Jade Maiden Peak.
Most scenic spots here are related to this legend, including Jade Maiden Temple and Jade Maiden Basin for Shampooing. Other landscapes like Rootless Tree (无根树) and Sacrificing Tree (舍身树) also have beautiful stories and add to the supernatural atmosphere of Middle Peak.
Mount Hua Hiking Routes
Take a cable car from the foot of North Peak – 8 minutes to North Peak – Macaque Sorrow – Laojun Furrow – Taoist Temple of A Group of Immortals – back to the North Peak Cableway Station and take the cable car to descend.
This route is good for visitors who want to relax and whose time is limited.
One- Day Hike
Take a cable car from the foot of West Peak – 20 min to West Peak – walk 1 hour to South Peak – 5 min to Heaven Watching Pool – 25 min to Changkong Plank Road – 5 min to Heavenly South Gate – about 35 min to East Peak (Somersault Cliff & Chess Pavilion) – 10 min to Sunshine Welcoming Cave – 15 min to Middle Peak – 20 min to Jinsuo Pass – 25 min to Green Dragon Ridge – 5 min to Heavenward Ladder (天梯) – 5 min to Ear-Touching Cliff – 10 min to Laojun Furrow – North Peak Cableway Station and take the cable car down the mountain.
This route includes about 5 hours of walking, appropriate for tourists in good physical health and with a spirit of adventure.
First Day: Jade Spring Temple – Mount Hua West Gate (ticket office) – Five-Mile Pass (五里关) – Stone Gate – Maonu Cave (毛女洞) – Mind-Changing Stone (Huixin Stone回心石) – Thousand-Foot Precipice (Qian Chi Zhuang千尺幢) – Hundred-Foot Valley (Bai Chi Xia百尺峡) – Taoist Temple of A Group of Immortals – Laojun Furrow – Macaque Sorrow – North Peak – Ear Touching Cliff (Ca Er Yan擦耳崖) – Heavenward Ladder – Green Dragon Ridge – Five-Cloud Peak (五云峰) – Jinsuo Pass – Cloud Ladder (云梯) – Immortal's Palm Peak – East Peak (stay overnight at East Peak hotel)
Second Day: watch sunrise at Sunrise Terrace – Somersault Cliff & Chess Pavilion – Heavenly South Gate – Changkong Plank Road – Heaven Watching Pool – South Peak – West Peak (take a cable car down the mountain here)
This itinerary applies to travelers who have ample time and want to fully enjoy the beauty of Mount Hua.
Huashan Mountain Hiking Experience Trip
If you want to challenge your endurance and physical strength then choose to climb the Huashan Mountain.
Cable cars are available and take tourists to the northern summit of the mountain. However, you are kindly advised to begin your arduous journey early in the morning, even before the sunrises, this way during your trek you can be lucky enough to nourish your aching body with the breath-taking sunrise which dances over the horizon when you reach the summit at morning.