A nice, leisurely walk in nature, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of animals, flowers, trees, mountains, streams, and more; is there any simple pleasure in life more remarkable than a hike? How about the adrenaline rush that comes from hiking not a simple trail, but rather the most dangerous hiking trail in the world, Mount Huashan? Extreme sports enthusiasts who have gone on multi-country hikes and ascended to Everest’s death zone will want to keep reading because this hike is not for the faint of heart.

How is this for a challenging hike: A series of narrow wood planks on the Eastern side of the South Peak of Mount Huashan which form a walking path constructed over 700 years ago? This challenging path was created by a Taoist priest named He ZhiZen, who affixed stone nails to wooden rafters while on a fear-inducing journey to cultivate his own morality. Today, local governments regularly strengthen those wooden planks to enhance the safety of the thousands of tourists that visit Mount Huashan. Still, this passageway is a far cry from “safe.” Especially since the way up the planks is also the only way down. Cramped with two-way traffic, the 1-foot wide path rises 985 feet, and one wrong move will send an unprepared hiker into an eternal abyss.

Mount Huashan Trail Overview

While it’s not officially known, it is rumored that 100 people each year plummet to their death attempting to cross the narrow path that leads to the Huashan teahouse. Mount Hua, as it is also called, is located in Shaanxi, 75 miles away from Xian. With an elevation of 7,070 feet, it is the tallest of the five sacred mountains of China. The Mount Hua plank walk is an adrenaline-producing, thrilling journey across the mountain that takes adventure lovers for what may be the longest walk of their lives. Though technically not long, the trek to complete this 330-foot section of the Mount Hua trail requires approximately six hours of “holding on for dear life.”

Permits and Regulations

The easiest way to reach Mount Huashan is by flying into Xian Airport (XIY). Hikers can purchase railway tickets in advance to reach Huashan North Station, where free shuttle buses will provide transportation for the remaining 3.1 miles to the mountain. Rail ticket prices will vary depending on the season. Mount Huashan permit prices also vary according to the season but are approximately 30 dollars.

The best time of year to visit Mount Huashan is between April and October when the weather is most pleasant. 

Highlights And Points Of Interest On Mount Huashan

The pass to hike Mount Hua is good for two days. The fee will grant access to the Jade Spring Temple, the Xiyue Temple, and the Xianyu Scenic Area. Mount Hua is mostly granite rock but hosts a thriving ecosystem of colorful flowers, rare trees and shrubs, and a wide range of birds, insects, and other animals, such as deer and foxes.

Safety Considerations For Hiking Mount Hua

Springtime on Mount Hua is often cloudy. Summers are rainy and wet, autumn tends to be foggy, and winter is cold and snowy. Proper clothing should be considered during these weather conditions, and hikers should always check the weather on the day of their excursion. Footwear should be sturdy and anti-slip, such as hiking boots. People with health conditions, people over 55 years old, or those under 4.9 feet should not attempt the plank walk. Appropriate gear, including harnesses, hiking gloves, and helmets, is needed when walking Mount Hua. All are available for rent.

Planning And Preparation

Nearly everything needed to hike Mount Hua is for sale or rent on the mountain. Gear, food, water, coats, flashlights, tents, and more can be acquired there. However, the higher up the mountain, the more inflated the pricing. At the very least, two bottles of water and several high-energy snacks should be packed. It takes a day or two to hike Mount Hua, and its legendary sunrise is on the itinerary for most hikers. Hiking the mountain can be accomplished from many routes and directions.

Maps should be checked in advance to plan the best route. Various paths, traveling from different directions, will take more time to hike than others. This is partly due to cable cars and other transportation available in certain sections. Some routes offer accommodations, but the mountain itself only has three hotels. There are also bathrooms along the way, and package tours are available. 

People Ask: Hiking Mount Huashan

Q: What is Mount Huashan?

A: Mount Huashan is a mountain in the Shaanxi province of China.

Q: How tall is Mount Huashan?

A: Mount Huashan is approximately 2,160 meters (7,087 feet) tall.

Q: Is Mount Huashan difficult to hike?

A: Yes, Mount Huashan is considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the world and is not recommended for novice hikers.

Q: What is the best time of year to hike Mount Huashan?

A: The best time to hike Mount Huashan is spring and fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.

Q: How long does it take to hike Mount Huashan?

A: The hike can take 6 to 10 hours, depending on your fitness level and how many stops you make.

Q: What equipment do I need to hike Mount Huashan?

A: You will need sturdy hiking shoes, warm clothing, a headlamp or flashlight, and a harness if you plan on hiking the plank walk.

Q: What is the plank walk?

A: The plank walk is a narrow walkway bolted onto a cliff that hikers must cross to continue climbing Mount Hua.

Q: Is there a fee to hike Mount Huashan?

A: There is a fee to enter the park and hike Mount Huashan. The fee varies depending on the time of year.

Q: Can I hike Mount Huashan alone?

A: You can hike Mount Huashan alone, but hiking with a group or hiring a guide is recommended.

Q: Are there any accommodations on Mount Huashan?

A: There are several hotels and guesthouses on the mountain for hikers who want to stay overnight.

A peaceful hike is an opportunity to ponder the vastness of the universe. Bound with laws, this universe of mind-boggling natural wonders reminds humanity they have little understanding or control over their existence. Through the intensity of extreme sports, however, humanity dares to defy the laws of that universe. They challenge limitations to gain a deeper understanding of one’s place in this world and beyond. The Mount Huashan hike in China allows us to experience the duality of our greatness and insignificance simultaneously.