Ranked among the world's most dangerous hiking expeditions, reaching the summits of Mount Huashan is a dream for avid trekkers the world over. While there are a great many challenges to overcome along the way, the panoramic views available from its vaulted heights are more than worth the effort. From planning the hike to experiencing what lies in between the mountain's base and its zenith, here are some guidelines to follow for first-time visitors.
Those who intend to hike up Mount Huashan must first understand that this is not your average hiking experience in China. Ranked among the world's most dramatic trekking adventures, reaching the top of Mount Huashan requires not only mental stealth but also physical strength and fitness. This is why only those with hiking experience and those who are in good health should attempt this feat as it will prove difficult to those not used to hiking in difficult conditions. As most travellers embark on the hike after dark in order to reach the summit to catch the sunrise, it is important to dress properly and carry all the necessities. Food and snacks must be prepared earlier and safely packed along with bottled water. A torch or a head torch is also essential as well as hiking boots, gloves, raincoats and hiking attire.
Time the Trip
Those who are embarking on a hiking expedition on Mount Huashan from tourist hotspots in Shaanxi Province such as Xian should head to Huayin towards the late evening. Day trippers based at lyf Dayanta Xian or any other Xian co-living hub should keep in mind that the hours of sunrise differ during each season so the timing of your drive to Huayin will depend on whether it's summer, spring, autumn or winter. The best time to visit Huashan Mountain is during the month of March when the annual Mount Hua Temple Fair takes place. A grand celebration takes place on and around the mountain during this period complete with cultural showcases and other fun activities.
Hire a Guide
One of the biggest hurdles hikers will encounter in China is the language barrier as most locals are not fluent in English. The safety briefing before each hike is also delivered only in the Chinese language so tourists may find it difficult to comprehend these crucial tips. This is why it is best to use a translator or a local guide to hike with you in order to stay safe during the journey to the top. North Peak or Yuntai Peak is among the most precipitous sections of the climb although it offers breathtaking views of the Black Dragon Ridge and three of the other peaks. West peak is the next hurdle at 2082.6 m in height. Called the Lotus Peak, the massive stone at its summit really does resemble a lotus flower.
What to See on Mount Huashan
Travellers should be aware that there are more than 200 individual attractions and points of interest on Mount Huashan and it is not feasible to visit every single one on a single hiking experience. While this may be the case, there are certain highlights that are considered must-visit sites. This includes the Huashan Plank Walk and the Black Dragon Ridge while The Chess Playing Pavilion and Yuquan Temple are equally engaging venues to visit. The latter is a holy Taoist spiritual epicentre. Connected with many a myth and legend, Yuquan Temple is a major spiritual hotspot in the area.
Hikers should be aware that not all hiking expeditions cover all 5 peaks. The ones that do usually start early in the morning and are specifically designed for catching the sunrise. On the other hand, there are separate hikes that begin after sundown and cater to those who want to experience the beauty of a sunrise from the peaks. Those with vertigo and similar issues should skip the plank walks as they can be quite difficult to navigate.