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How To Hike Huangshan Mountain: China’s Magical Yellow Mountain


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Blinni Whatley



Perched majestically in the eastern part of China is Huangshan Mountain, also known as the Yellow Mountain. Renowned for its awe-inspiring granite peaks, ancient pine trees, and mystical sea of clouds, Huangshan Mountain has long been a popular destination for both local and international travelers.


Steeped in natural beauty and rich cultural history, Huangshan Mountain offers a truly enchanting experience for hikers of all skill levels. This UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts adventurers who are eager to witness the stunning landscapes and immerse themselves in the serene atmosphere of this magical mountain.


With its picturesque scenery and mythical allure, hiking Huangshan Mountain is an experience that will leave you in awe and create lasting memories. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a beginner looking to embark on a new adventure, Huangshan Mountain has something for everyone.


As you hike through the trails, you’ll be greeted by towering granite peaks that appear to touch the sky, adorned with ancient pine trees that have stood the test of time. The ever-changing landscape offers surprises at every turn, from cascading waterfalls to serene hot springs nestled amidst the mountains.


One of the highlights of Huangshan Mountain is the captivating phenomenon of the sea of clouds. As if from a painting, the clouds roll and dance around the mountain peaks, creating a surreal atmosphere that transports you to a different realm. This mesmerizing sight is best admired during sunrise or sunset, as the colors of the sky intermingle with the sea of clouds to create a breathtaking spectacle.


Huangshan Mountain is not only a natural wonder, but it is also steeped in cultural significance. It has inspired countless works of art, poetry, and literature throughout history. The mountain’s tranquil beauty and spiritual aura have been a source of inspiration for artists and writers alike.


Whether you seek solitude in nature or wish to immerse yourself in the profound cultural heritage of China, Huangshan Mountain offers an experience like no other. With its pristine landscapes, unique flora and fauna, and the opportunity for reflection and introspection, hiking Huangshan Mountain is a journey that will leave you with a deep appreciation for the beauty of the natural world.


Getting to Huangshan Mountain

Huangshan Mountain is located in the southern part of Anhui Province, China. There are several ways to reach this iconic destination, depending on your starting point. Here are some options:


By Air: The nearest major airport to Huangshan Mountain is Huangshan Tunxi International Airport. It offers domestic and international flights, making it convenient for travelers coming from different parts of China and the world. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach the mountain area.


By Train: If you prefer a scenic journey, you can take a train to Huangshan City Railway Station, which is well-connected to major cities in China. From the railway station, you can take a bus or a taxi to Huangshan Mountain. The train ride offers beautiful views of the countryside, giving you a taste of the natural splendor that awaits you.


By Bus: There are also bus services available from nearby cities to Huangshan Mountain. Many tourist agencies and hotels offer package tours that include transportation to and from the mountain, making it a convenient option for travelers.


Once you reach the base of Huangshan Mountain, you will need to take a cable car or hike to the summit. The cable car is a popular choice for those who want a more convenient and time-saving option. It takes you directly to the top, allowing you to start your hiking adventure without having to climb the steep stairs.


If you prefer a more adventurous approach, you can choose to hike from the base to the summit. There are several well-marked trails that lead to the top, offering different levels of difficulty. It is important to wear comfortable hiking shoes and pack essentials like water, snacks, and a map to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.


It is recommended to check the weather conditions and trail status before embarking on your trip to Huangshan Mountain. Inclement weather or maintenance work on the trails may affect accessibility, so it is important to plan accordingly.


Whether you choose to fly, take a train, or hop on a bus, getting to Huangshan Mountain is the first step in embarking on an unforgettable hiking adventure. The journey to this picturesque destination is part of the experience, as you soak in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes and anticipate the wonders that await you at the summit.


Choosing the Right Time to Hike

When planning your hike to Huangshan Mountain, it is important to consider the best time of year to visit. The timing of your trip can greatly impact your hiking experience and the scenery you’ll encounter along the way. Here are some factors to keep in mind when choosing the right time to hike:


Spring: Spring is a popular time to visit Huangshan Mountain, as the mountain bursts into vibrant colors with blooming flowers and blossoming trees. The weather is mild and pleasant, making it an ideal time for hiking. However, keep in mind that spring is also a peak tourist season, so the mountain may be crowded.


Summer: Summer offers warm temperatures and longer daylight hours, providing ample time for exploration. However, be prepared for higher temperatures and humidity during this season. It is advisable to start your hike early in the morning to avoid hiking under the intense afternoon sun. The lush greenery and lush vegetation make summer a visually stunning time to visit Huangshan Mountain.


Autumn: Autumn is considered the best time to hike Huangshan Mountain, as the weather is cool and comfortable, and the scenery is breathtaking. The mountain is transformed into a canvas of fiery red, golden yellow, and vibrant orange as the leaves change color. The crowds are generally smaller during this season compared to spring and summer, allowing for a more peaceful hiking experience.


Winter: Winter brings a unique beauty to Huangshan Mountain, as the landscape is covered in a blanket of snow. The snow-capped peaks and frost-covered trees create a magical winter wonderland. However, be prepared for cold temperatures and icy conditions. It is important to dress in multiple layers and bring proper gear for winter hiking.


In addition to the seasons, it is also crucial to consider weekdays versus weekends when planning your visit to Huangshan Mountain. Weekends and public holidays tend to be busier, with larger crowds of tourists. If you prefer a quieter and more serene hiking experience, weekdays are the best choice.


Ultimately, the best time to hike Huangshan Mountain depends on your personal preferences and priorities. Whether you wish to witness the stunning cherry blossoms in spring, the vibrant colors of autumn, or the tranquility of a winter landscape, each season offers a unique and captivating experience on this majestic mountain.


Permits and Entrance Fees

Before embarking on your hike to Huangshan Mountain, it is important to be aware of the permit requirements and entrance fees. These are necessary to ensure the preservation of the natural environment and to maintain the infrastructure of the mountain. Here is what you need to know:


Permits: In order to enter Huangshan Mountain, you will need to obtain a ticket or a permit. This can be done at the ticket office located at the base of the mountain or online in advance. The permit allows you access to the hiking trails, cable cars, and other amenities on the mountain. It is advisable to carry your permit with you at all times during your visit.


Entrance Fees: The entrance fees for Huangshan Mountain vary depending on the season and the areas you wish to explore. There are different ticket options available, including single-day tickets and multi-day tickets. Discounts may be available for students, children, and senior citizens. It is recommended to check the official website or inquire at the ticket office for the most up-to-date information on entrance fees.


It is worth mentioning that certain areas of Huangshan Mountain, such as the Xihai Grand Canyon and the Beihai Scenic Area, may require separate entrance fees or additional permits. These areas offer unique hiking experiences and breathtaking views, so it is worth considering adding them to your itinerary.


In addition to the permits and entrance fees, it is important to adhere to the rules and regulations set by the authorities. These may include restrictions on camping, littering, and activities that could pose a risk to the environment and other visitors. It is crucial to respect the natural surroundings and follow any instructions provided by the park staff.


By obtaining the necessary permits and paying the appropriate entrance fees, you contribute to the preservation and conservation efforts of Huangshan Mountain. This ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and serenity of this remarkable natural wonder.


Accommodation Options

When planning your hike to Huangshan Mountain, it is important to consider your accommodation options. There are a variety of choices available to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some of the accommodation options you can consider:


Mountain-Top Hotels: For a truly immersive experience, you can choose to stay at one of the hotels located on the mountain itself. These hotels offer stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and convenient access to the hiking trails. They range from luxurious resorts to more basic accommodations, providing a comfortable place to rest after a day of hiking. Keep in mind that these mountain-top hotels tend to be more expensive compared to off-mountain accommodations.


Hotels in Huangshan City: If you prefer to stay at the base of Huangshan Mountain, Huangshan City offers a range of hotels to choose from. These hotels are conveniently located near the transportation hubs, making it easy to access the mountain. Huangshan City also provides a wider range of amenities and dining options compared to the mountain-top hotels.


Guesthouses and Homestays: For a more intimate and local experience, you can consider staying in guesthouses or homestays in the nearby villages. These accommodations offer a glimpse into the traditional way of life in the region and are often family-run. They may provide a more personalized experience and the opportunity to interact with the locals. However, it’s important to note that the facilities and amenities in guesthouses and homestays may be more basic compared to hotels.


Camping: For adventurous hikers who enjoy camping, there are designated camping areas on Huangshan Mountain where you can pitch your tent and spend the night under the stars. Camping allows you to fully immerse yourself in nature and experience the tranquility of the mountain. However, it’s important to check the regulations and restrictions related to camping, as permits and additional fees may be required.


When choosing your accommodation, consider factors such as location, budget, amenities, and personal preferences. It is advisable to book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons, to ensure availability. Whether you choose to stay on the mountain or at the base, there are options to suit various needs, allowing you to rest and recharge for your hiking adventures on Huangshan Mountain.


Popular Hiking Trails

Huangshan Mountain offers a network of well-marked hiking trails that cater to hikers of all levels of experience. Whether you are a seasoned trekker or a beginner, there are trails that will allow you to explore the breathtaking landscapes and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the mountain. Here are some of the popular hiking trails on Huangshan Mountain:


Eastern Steps (Huangshan Front Mountain): This is the most popular and accessible trail, starting from the eastern side of the mountain near the Yuping Cable Car station. The trail features stone steps that lead you through scenic areas such as the Bright Summit and Cloud-dispelling Pavilion. Along the way, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.


Western Steps (Huangshan Back Mountain): The western steps trail offers a quieter and less crowded alternative to the eastern steps. It begins near the Yungu Cable Car station and takes you through serene forests, stunning rock formations, and picturesque viewpoints. The trail leads to highlights such as the West Sea Grand Canyon and Flying Rock.


Front Mountain Loop: This loop trail combines both the eastern and western steps, allowing you to experience the best of both worlds. You can start from either side and hike in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. The loop takes you through various scenic areas, including the famous Lion Peak and the Begin-to-Believe Peak.


Lotus Peak: For more experienced hikers, the Lotus Peak trail offers a challenging and rewarding adventure. It is the highest peak in Huangshan Mountain, standing at an elevation of 1,864 meters. The trail is steep and requires stamina and agility to navigate. However, the panoramic views from the summit make it all worthwhile.


Xihai Grand Canyon: Xihai Grand Canyon is a must-visit area on Huangshan Mountain, known for its dramatic landscapes and breathtaking views. The trail stretches along the western side of the mountain, featuring staggering cliffs, narrow pathways, and suspension bridges. It is a thrilling and exhilarating hiking experience that will leave you in awe.


These are just a few examples of the many hiking trails available on Huangshan Mountain. Each trail offers its own unique perspectives and highlights, allowing you to discover the natural wonders and cultural heritage that make this mountain so enchanting. Before setting out on your hike, it is advisable to obtain a map or guidebook that provides detailed information about the trails and their difficulty levels. This will help you plan your itinerary and ensure an enjoyable and safe hiking experience.


Highlights and Scenic Areas

Huangshan Mountain is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and iconic scenic areas. As you hike through this majestic mountain, you will encounter numerous highlights that showcase the incredible beauty and grandeur of the surroundings. Here are some of the must-visit highlights and scenic areas on Huangshan Mountain:


Yellow Mountains (Bei Yi and Xi Hai): The Yellow Mountains are the main attraction on Huangshan Mountain and are known for their unique granite peaks, thick pine forests, and breathtaking views. The Bei Yi (North Sea) and Xi Hai (West Sea) areas are particularly famous for their stunning landscapes. The jagged cliffs, towering peaks, and sea of clouds make for awe-inspiring sights that have inspired countless artists and poets throughout history.


Xihai Grand Canyon: The Xihai Grand Canyon is a picturesque area on Huangshan Mountain that offers a thrilling and adventurous hiking experience. With its narrow pathways, steep cliffs, and suspended bridges, this canyon provides stunning views and dramatic landscapes. The views of the sea of clouds from this area are particularly mesmerizing, providing a truly unforgettable sight.


Hot Springs (Xin’anjiang Hot Spring and Huangshan Hot Spring): After a long day of hiking, what could be better than rejuvenating yourself in the soothing waters of the hot springs? Huangshan Mountain is home to several hot springs, including Xin’anjiang Hot Spring and Huangshan Hot Spring. These natural springs offer relaxation and a chance to unwind amidst the tranquil surroundings of the mountain.


Sunrise and Sunset at Dawn Pavilion: The Dawn Pavilion is a popular spot for watching the sunrise and sunset on Huangshan Mountain. It offers a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and the sea of clouds. Witnessing the first rays of sunlight painting the landscape in golden hues or enjoying the serene colors of sunset is an awe-inspiring experience that should not be missed.


Hot Spring Valley: Hot Spring Valley is a scenic area known for its beautiful waterfalls, hot springs, and lush vegetation. It offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere, perfect for nature lovers. The area is dotted with well-maintained paths and picturesque spots where you can relax and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings.


Black Tiger Pine: The Black Tiger Pine is a famous ancient tree on Huangshan Mountain that is said to resemble a crouching tiger. It is a symbol of endurance and strength and is considered a highlight by many visitors. The gnarled branches and distinctive shape of the tree make it a popular spot for photography.


These are just a few of the many highlights and scenic areas that await you on Huangshan Mountain. As you explore the trails, you will come across numerous breathtaking viewpoints, stunning rock formations, and hidden gems that add to the charm and allure of this remarkable mountain.


Safety Tips for Hiking Huangshan Mountain

Hiking Huangshan Mountain can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it’s important to prioritize safety during your journey. Here are some essential safety tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience:


Be Prepared: Before setting out on your hike, research the trails, weather conditions, and any potential hazards. Familiarize yourself with the route, trail maps, and emergency contact information. Pack essential items such as a first aid kit, extra clothing layers, sufficient water, snacks, and a flashlight. It’s also advisable to carry a fully charged mobile phone, a whistle, and a compass.


Check the Weather: The weather conditions on Huangshan Mountain can change rapidly. Check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for variations in temperature, wind, and precipitation. Avoid hiking during severe weather conditions, such as storms or heavy fog, as it can impact visibility and increase the risk of accidents.


Use Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes or boots that provide good traction and ankle support. The trails on Huangshan Mountain can be steep and slippery, particularly during rainy or snowy conditions. Having appropriate footwear will reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls.


Stay on Designated Trails: Stick to the designated hiking trails and follow the signs and markers. Venturing off the marked paths can lead to getting lost or encountering hazardous areas. It’s important to respect the natural environment and preserve the delicate ecosystems of Huangshan Mountain.


Hike with a Companion: It’s always safer to hike with a companion, especially if you’re a beginner or unfamiliar with the trails. Having a hiking partner provides an extra set of eyes and support in case of emergencies. If you’re hiking alone, inform someone about your plans, estimated hiking time, and when they should expect to hear from you.


Stay Hydrated and Pace Yourself: Carry an ample supply of water and stay hydrated throughout your hike. Take regular breaks to rest and replenish your energy. Pace yourself and avoid overexertion, especially on steep sections of the trail. Pay attention to your body and listen to any signs of fatigue, dizziness, or shortness of breath.


Be Mindful of Wildlife: Huangshan Mountain is home to various wildlife species, including monkeys. While they can be entertaining to observe, keep a safe distance and avoid feeding or approaching them. Respect their natural habitat and do not engage in any behavior that may disrupt or harm the wildlife.


Notify Authorities in Case of Emergency: If you encounter a medical emergency, injury, or get lost, remain calm and try to find the nearest emergency phone or contact park authorities. Be prepared to provide relevant information such as your exact location, nature of the emergency, and any necessary details that will help rescuers locate and assist you.


By following these safety tips, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable hiking experience on Huangshan Mountain. Remember that safety should always be a priority, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty and magnificence of this natural wonder.


What to Pack for the Hike

Proper packing is essential to ensure a comfortable and successful hiking experience on Huangshan Mountain. Here are the essential items you should pack for your hike:


Hiking Gear: Invest in a good-quality, comfortable backpack with adjustable straps to distribute the weight evenly. Pack a lightweight and waterproof tent and sleeping bag if you plan to camp overnight. Don’t forget to include a reliable headlamp or flashlight, trekking poles for added stability, and a multi-tool for various purposes.


Appropriate Clothing: Dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions. Opt for moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials. Start with a base layer, such as a thermal shirt and leggings, to regulate body temperature. Pack lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a waterproof jacket to protect against rain and wind. Carry a warm fleece or down jacket for cooler temperatures at higher elevations.


Proper Footwear: Wear comfortable, sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good ankle support and traction. Make sure they are broken-in before your hike to avoid blisters and discomfort. Carry extra pairs of moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry and prevent friction.


Food and Water: Pack nutritious and energy-rich snacks that are lightweight and easy to carry, such as trail mix, energy bars, and dried fruits. Carry a sufficient amount of water to stay hydrated throughout the hike. Consider using a hydration bladder or water bottles with a filtration system to refill water from natural sources if necessary.


Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by packing essential items such as a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and sunscreen with a high SPF rating. Apply sunscreen generously and regularly, especially on exposed areas of the skin.


Navigation and Safety: Carry a map and a compass, or a GPS device, to navigate the trails accurately. Invest in a whistle to attract attention in case of emergencies and a fully charged mobile phone with an extra power bank. Pack a well-stocked first aid kit with essential supplies for minor injuries and ailments.


Other Essentials: Don’t forget to pack essentials such as insect repellent, a lightweight and quick-drying towel, a reusable water bottle, a small roll of duct tape, and a pack of wet wipes for cleanliness.


Leave No Trace: Lastly, remember to pack a small trash bag to carry out any waste you generate during your hike. It is crucial to practice Leave No Trace principles and leave the natural environment as you found it, keeping the mountain pristine for future visitors.


Packing the right gear and essentials ensures that you are well-prepared and equipped for your hike on Huangshan Mountain. Remember to consider the weather conditions, the duration of your hike, and your personal needs when selecting and organizing your items. With a well-packed backpack, you’ll be ready to embark on a memorable and enjoyable adventure in this breathtaking mountainous terrain.


Other Activities and Attractions in the Area

While hiking Huangshan Mountain is the main highlight of any visit to the area, there are also other activities and attractions in the vicinity that are worth exploring. Here are some options to consider:


Hot Springs: After a long day of hiking, immerse yourself in the healing waters of the hot springs in Huangshan City. Xin’anjiang Hot Spring and Huangshan Hot Spring offer a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, perfect for soothing tired muscles.


Xidi and Hongcun Ancient Villages: Located at the foot of Huangshan Mountain, these UNESCO World Heritage Sites are renowned for their well-preserved traditional architecture, old-world charm, and rich cultural heritage. Take a stroll through the ancient streets, visit historic buildings, and immerse yourself in the ancient atmosphere of these picturesque villages.


Tunxi Ancient Street: Explore the bustling Tunxi Ancient Street in Huangshan City, a lively pedestrian street lined with traditional-style buildings, local shops, and delicious food stalls. Get a taste of the local cuisine, shop for souvenirs, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this historic street.


Shexian County: Embark on a day trip to nearby Shexian County, known for its beautiful Huizhou-style architecture and historical sites. Visit attractions like Tangyue Archways, Xuguo Stone Archway, and the ancient ancestral temples to get a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage.


Qiyun Mountain: If you have extra time, consider visiting Qiyun Mountain, located in Xiuning County near Huangshan City. This mountain is known for its unique rock formations, ancient temples, and stunning views. The peaceful trails and serene atmosphere make it a great alternative hiking destination.


Photography Opportunities: Huangshan Mountain and its surrounding areas offer magnificent photo opportunities for nature and landscape photographers. Capture the jagged peaks, the sea of clouds, the ancient trees, and the breathtaking vistas from various vantage points. Don’t forget to bring your camera and tripod to capture the beauty of this remarkable landscape.


Local Cuisine: Indulge in the local cuisine of Anhui Province, known for its delicate flavors and fresh ingredients. Try specialties such as crispy fried tofu, braised pork belly, bamboo shoots, and the famous Huangshan Maofeng tea. There are numerous restaurants and eateries in the area where you can savor these regional delicacies.


These activities and attractions offer a well-rounded experience in the Huangshan area, allowing you to explore not only the natural beauty of Huangshan Mountain but also the rich cultural heritage and unique offerings of the surrounding region. Take the time to immerse yourself in the local culture, try new experiences, and create lasting memories beyond the hiking trails.



Hiking Huangshan Mountain, also known as the Yellow Mountain, is an extraordinary experience that combines natural beauty, cultural heritage, and a sense of adventure. From its awe-inspiring granite peaks and ancient pine trees to the enchanting sea of clouds, Huangshan Mountain offers a magical journey for hikers of all levels.


As you navigate through the well-marked trails, you’ll witness breathtaking landscapes, discover hidden gems, and be immersed in the tranquility of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether you choose to hike during the vibrant colors of spring, the warm days of summer, the stunning hues of autumn, or the ethereal winter wonderland, each season brings its own unique charm to Huangshan Mountain.


Remember to plan ahead, prepare for the hike, and prioritize safety. Ensure that you have the necessary permits, adhere to trail regulations, and stay hydrated throughout your journey. Pack appropriate clothing, footwear, and essential gear to make your hike comfortable and enjoyable.


Beyond the hiking trails, the area offers additional attractions such as hot springs, ancient villages, cultural sites, and delicious cuisine. Take the time to explore the nearby towns, savor the local flavors, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region.


Huangshan Mountain is a place that captivates the senses and touches the soul. Its breathtaking beauty, serene atmosphere, and awe-inspiring landscapes create an unforgettable experience. Whether you seek adventure, spiritual solace, or a deeper connection with nature, Huangshan Mountain will leave you with a profound appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.


So pack your backpack, lace up your hiking boots, and embark on a journey to Huangshan Mountain. Let the towering peaks, ancient trees, and mystical clouds guide you as you discover the enchantment that resides on this majestic mountain. With every step, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views and memories that will last a lifetime.