Asia China Destinations

3 FUN HIKES IN CHINA. From Hard to Easy.

When you think about amazing mountainous landscape, what countries come to mind?
For me it was always Switzerland, Austria, and New Zealand.
But after visiting China I now know what country will be number one on that list.

The mountains in China blew me away.
It was only a matter of time before I decided to spend a day(or 2) on those hiking trails.

There’s a lot of good spots for hiking in China.
But I didn’t want my legs to feel like jello everyday.
So I just did these 3:


Getting to Mt. Emei is the easy part.
Located 105 miles(170 km) south from Chengdu and only 17 miles(28 km) west from Leshan.
Once you arrive at the base of the mountain prepare yourself for a brutal hike.

The main peak of Mt. Emei, the Golden Summit, is 10,103 feet (3079 m) above the sea level.
Sooooooo many stairs.
But you do have the option to make this hike not a hike at all.
You can choose to have a bus take you to many different stops on the mountain.
And it can even take you almost to the top.
But I chose torture, and decided to hike up the whole thing.

Hikes in China. Sunrise lighting up distant hills from the summit of Mt. Hua.

The hike up is very quiet.
Not a lot of people want to hike up this gigantic mountain.
Besides the absolute ass kicking I was getting from all the stairs the hike is pretty relaxing.

Along the way you start to see signs that warn of aggressive Tibetian Macaques.
So when you finally enter the area where they are do not play around with them.
Try to avoid them or keep your distance.

Once you pass through their monkey neighborhood it’s back to a peaceful hike.
Once you start getting higher up you come across more viewpoints.
Some of the view points could become a little crowded, due to the buses of people.
But if you wait for their bus to leave you can have the spot all to yourself.

As you get closer to the summit you’ll start to come across a few places to stay.
I stayed overnight in a monastery that was about 6 km down from the summit.
It was about $13 a night and it unfortunately did not have a shower.
But the people at the monastery brought me a rag and a big bowl(like a wok) full of hot water.
So I was at least able to wipe all my sweat off.

There’s a hotel that’s very close to the summit but that place was expensive.

The next morning I woke at 4 am and was back hiking by 5 am.
I reached the summit just in time for the sunrise.
Once I was finished at the summit I hiked back past the hotel to the nearest bus stop.
There was no way I was hiking down.
I relaxed my legs as the bus took me all the way back to the bottom.

It was a very rewarding hike, but I’d probably never do it again.


75 miles(120 km) east of Xi’an is Mount Hua.
Daily trains from Xi’an take you to Huashan North Station.
Exiting the station a bunch of cab drivers will try to give you a ride.
But there’s FREE Green buses that will take you right to Huashan Visitor Centre.
The buses are parked along the main road in front of the square.
And they depart approximately every 20 minutes.
Although the journey to Huashan Visitor Centre is only 5km, the buses might take up to 20-30 minutes to reach it.
This is because the buses have to serve all city bus stops along the way.
Your drop off point is at the roundabout in front of Huashan Visitor Centre.

Once you walk to the visitor center and buy your ticket you will then have to wait for another bus.
That bus will take you a bit further up the mountain to the cable car station.
From here you can hike up(if you’re an insane maniac) or you can take the cable car.
I took the cable car because I knew I was gonna do a lot of hiking once I got to the top.
And I was also going to be hiking down.
So I wanted to have some energy.

Hikes in China. Mount Hua mountain range.

Of the five main peaks, the highest is the South Peak at 7,070 ft(2,154 m).
The South Peak is also the peak that has “the most dangerous hike in the world”.
Which is something I wanted to do, but I didn’t look into any info before I arrived.
So I never found the hike.
I just assumed I’d stumbled upon it easily.
That wasn’t the case.

Which is probably a good thing because I forgot to take out money that day.
And the “Plank Walk In The Sky” is an additional $5 which I didn’t have.

For more info about Prices and which cable car you should take GO HERE.

Even when you’re at the top there’s still a bunch of steep steps.
And most people going up act like they’ve never walked up stairs before.
They’ll be using their hands and knees.
It’s quite entertaining, but it makes the hike up SO SLOW.

Depending on what you want to see on Huashan you’ll want to research the mountain first.
Otherwise you can spend all day up there hiking between the different peaks.

While I was aimlessly walking around I did stumble across the “Sky Ladder”.
This was steps carved into a flat wall that went straight up.
There’s some chains bolted into the side of the steps that you can pull yourself up with.
It wasn’t difficult at all.
And it was so fun I decided to go up it twice.

The views all throughout this hike are incredible.
And it’s a nice place to relax if you can manage to get away from the crowds.

The hike back down wasn’t difficult, but there were a few areas similar to the sky ladder that you had you go down.
So definitely watch your step.


Located only 37 miles(60 km) north of Lijiang City, Yunnan.
The hike itself is around 9.3 miles(15 km) in length.
The gorge is located between the mountain ranges of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain.

The only area of this entire hike that was difficult is an area called The 28 Bends.
It’s a section of steep switchbacks; guess how many?
Luckily there’s a food stand before the bends where you can rest and buy snacks, liquid, and even weed.
I was surprised by that.
Once you clear the bends the rest of the hike to halfway point is fairly easy.

This hike can be completed in one day.
But most people decide to take their time and split it into 2 days.
There’s a handful of guesthouses at the halfway point of the hike.
I stayed at the Halfway Guesthouse(very creative name).
The views that surround these guesthouses are amazing.
Even if you’re not staying at any of the guesthouses you can still rest and order food at their restaurants.
So either way it’s a good place to stop for a bit.

Hikes in China. Small house overlooking the Tiger Leaping Gorge mountain range.

The 2nd part of the hike is much easier and shorter than the first part.
As you approach the end you’ll start seeing paths that lead you down towards the river.
Some of the look-out points near the river are free to walk out to.
But some of them you have to pay a local villager to enter onto.
I always chose the free ones and still had good views of the rapids.

To go back up to the guesthouses at the end you have 2 options.
You can hike the paths back up or you can climb the Sky Ladder.
The Sky Ladder is a 90 degree metal ladder consisting of about 100+ rungs.
It looks super unsafe but I definitely had to do it.
As you climb up the ladder it looks like it is bolted into an old wooden ladder that MIGHT be bolted into the rocks.
Nothing about it says Top Craftsmanship, but it seemed secure as I was climbing up it.

Once you’re back at the top you can rest at Tina’s Guesthouse and wait for the buses.
The bus will take you back to Jane’s Guesthouse at the beginning.
And from there you can continue on to your next destination.

Those were the 3 mountainous hikes I did in China.
They were all quite different from each other and each one had really nice scenery.

The hike I’d recommend the most out of these 3 would be Tiger Leaping Gorge.
It’s easy to get to, the hike isn’t difficult, and the views might be the best.

Have you done any mountain hikes in China?
What was your favorite?

Let me know in the comments below.

Jeremiah Cooper

By Jeremiah Cooper

Welcome to Live Life Extreme, a travel blog about thrill-seeking travel through some of the largest cities to off the beaten path getaways.

My name is Jeremiah and I'm a photographer from Arizona.
I'm always in search of picturesque landscapes and adrenaline pumping adventure.
Follow me as I show you What and What Not to do when visiting new places in search of Cheap Travel and Cheap Thrills.

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