Yellow Mountain

Yellow Mountain Mountain Huangshan

Nora Zheng
3179 Words/13 Minutes, By Nora Zheng, Updated February 12, 2023

Where is Huangshan?

Located in southern Anhui Province, Huangshan is well-known worldwide for its four wonders that include the strange pine forest, oddly-shaped stone, Sea of Clouds and hot spring. It is one of the most famous mountains in China.

It has an area of 154 square meters with 72 peaks that have different dimensions. The three main peaks are the Lotus Peak, the Bright Summit Peak and the Tiandu Peak which are all above 1,800 meters.

The main scenic areas in Yellow Mountain start from hot spring, which is the entertainment center for visitors of Yellow Mountain.

What to see:

With a height of 1,810 meters, the Tiandu Peak is the most dangerous peak among the others. On the top, there are stone carvings saying "reach the summit", from where you can see the vast sky and experience the majestic mountains.

Hiking to the top of the Tiandu Peak, you will pass a long carp back which is the most dangerous "heaven ladder" ascending Tiandu Peak. You must hold cables to walk up because of the bottomless valley is below.

Looking at the beautiful poem-and-painting-like scenery allows you to forget how dangerous the course is.

It is best to climb from the road on the foot of the mountain to Wenshu Yard, which is another fantastic place with strange stones, peaks and sea of clouds. Then, you may hike along the mountain road to the Yuping Building, where you will meet steep rock slopes of many meters. Please be careful.

Before arriving at the Yuping Building, you will come across the One Line Sky. It is a long and narrow lane between two peaks where only one person can pass through at one time. If you look up to the sky, you will see the blue sky in a line, this is how "One Line Sky" got its name.

After One Line Sky, you will see three small stone peaks with different heights. The strange pines are standing straight on the peaks with a sign that says "three island in Penglai.” Walking forward, you will get to the Yuping Building, which is accompanied by strange pine, stone and sea of clouds. This building is acclaimed as the most beautiful place among the scenic spots of the Yellow Mountain.

From the Yuping Building, you can reach the Lotus Peak and Bright Summit Peak through the North Sea. Along the way, you’ll pass many scenic areas such as the Putuan pine, rhinoceros watching the moon, ladder with hundreds of steps, old monk seeing the sea, turtle peak, sky sea and peach peak, all having their own characteristics.

The pine forest, which is one of the most beautiful sceneries in Yellow Mountain, is worth visiting and appreciating. The pines on Yellow Mountain have short and thick needle leaves. While the top is flat like it was pared with a knife and shaped strangely.

Some pines grow from stone seams, strong and straight. The famous pines are Guest-Greeting Pine, Lying Gragon Pines, Black Tiger Pine, Qilin Pines and Putuan Pines, etc.

At 1,600 meters high, the Guest-Greeting Pine in front of Yuping Building is more than thousands of years old with thick leaves. It is considered as the symbol of Yellow Mountain.

The beautiful scenery of the strange stone is the outstanding work by nature. Some of they look like human beings, while others look like animals. The most famous strange stone is titled "monkey watching sea". This huge stone on the top of the lion peak appears like a monkey squatting on the ground is appreciating the sea of clouds with a different scenery.

Other strange stones are "immortal playing chess", "rhinoceros watching moon", "gold cock calling heaven door" and "peacock playing lotus”, which are not only vivid but also interesting.

On the Yellow Mountain, besides the four wonders, there are various precious flowers and beautiful trees, like Azalea, Chinese primroses, peach flower, pear flower, iris, plum blossom and orchids, etc. They bloom year round, adding more beauty of the mountains.

Several years ago, many lakes with different dimensions were found in the four valleys to the east of the Yellow Mountain. These lakes are not only very clear, but rainbows appear often there. The jadeite valley with lakes has already become the new scenic area now, while the colorful pond is also regarded as the 5th scenic area on the Yellow Mountain.

The Yellow Mountain is also one of the best places to view sunrise in the whole China.

Huangshang, or the Yellow Mountain, was well acclaimed in Chinese literature and art (the prime time there refers to the flourishing of landscape painting in the mid-16th century). It has the reputation of being China’s most grotesque mountain. Today, it is famous for its peculiar shaped pine trees that have roots in the granite peaks and the grotesque rock formation looming in the sea of clouds, holding a great fascination to tourists, poets, painters and photographers throughout the world.

Introduction to Huangshan Mountain:

Located in southern Anhui Province, Huangshan has an area of around 1,200 kilometers, 40 kilometers in width and 30 kilometers in length, with its most charming scenic area stretching 154 kilometers.

Huangshan is influenced by subtropical monsoons. The thrusting peaks and deep valleys contribute to vertical changes in climate. As its northern and southern sides receive various amount of sunshine, the weather at the same altitude can vary widely. As a result, it’s humid, foggy and rainy in the mountain. Its main peak, Lianhua Peak, rises 1,864.8 meters above sea level. The six major scenic areas in the mountain including, hot springs, cloud valley, pine tree valley, sea of clouds, jade screen and fishing bridge, all appeal to visitors with their unique charms.

History of the Mountain:

Huangshan was originally named Yi Mountain. Legend has it that the ancient Emperor Xuanyuan, considered as the common ancestor of the Chinese people, once practiced austerity to be immortal. In 747 AD (the Tang Dynasty), the name was changed to Huangshan on June 16, designated as the birthday of Huangshan by Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty. Today, it has a worldwide reputation for its majestic and magnificent scenery. Additionally, with rich natural resources and a complete ecosystem, it has become a national level scenic area and summer resort known for both natural beauty and cultural legacy.

What amazes the visitors is that all merits of other major mountains are in Huangshan, which is known by its peculiar shaped pine trees, grotesque rock, sea of clouds and hot springs. As a land by nature, it has received many compliments throughout history. It is believed that trips to China’s five great mountains render trips to other mountains unnecessary, while a trip to Huangshan renders trips to the other great mountains unnecessary.

Cultural Heritages:

Time-honored Religious Culture:

Throughout history, Huangshan has been intertwined with religion. As recorded in the ancient Taoist annals of the Tang Dynasty, the stories of Emperor Xuanyuan, Rong Chengzi and Fu Qiugong’s gaining immortality there have been passed down through generations. Today, many names of the peaks are closely related to these stories such as Xuanyuan Peak, Fuqiu Peak and Immortal Peak, to name just a few. The name of Huangshan is said to be related to the story of Emperor Huangdi’s seeking for immortal pills. The earliest Taoist temples built there are Fuqiu Temple and Jiulong Temple. In the late Song Dynasty, Taoist Zhang Yinfu practiced austerity in Huangshan and established Songgu Taoist Rite. Since the late Ming Dynasty, Taoist activities started to fade away in China. According to historic annals of Huangshan, Buddhism was introduced to Huangshan as early as in the Southern Dynasties, and nearly a hundred temples were built there in successive dynasties. Among all temples, Xiangfu Temple, Ciguang Temple, Cuiwei Temple and Zhibo Temple are hailed as the four most famous. Among Taoist followers, most were poets and painters, including famous figures such as Dao Yun of the Tang Dynasty, Haineng, Hongzhi, Yinke, Yuanze and Wangyin of the Ming Dynasty, and Dajun, Dahan, Boan, Jianjiang and Xuezhuang of the Qing Dynasty.

The majestic natural beauty of Huangshan holds a fascination to poets, painters and artists, whom were carried away by the enticing scenery and inspired to create innumerable works of art. The glorious age of the Tang Dynasty to the late Qing Dynasty is a span of about 1,200 years with as many as 20,000 pieces available from this period. These artworks depict the beauty of Huangshan from different angles with a variety of themes and styles. They are thus revered as a splendid blossom in the art treasury trove of China. Poetry, the works by Li Bai, Jia Dao, Fan Chengda, Shi Tao, Gong Zizhen, Huang Yanpei, Dong Biwu, Guo Moruo and Lao are the most famous and well-known Chinese people. The prose, the travel notes by Xu Xiake, Yuan Mu, Ye Shengtao and Feng Zikai all show the unique charm of Huangshan. Also, stories and legends related to Huangshan defy the experience. In particular, the works of the painting school of Huangshan are regarded as a shining pearl of the cultural heritages there. The masters of this school are constantly inspired by the landscape of Huangsha while putting effort toward enriching art creation. Their simple style and unique painting techniques distinguish them from other painting schools in China conveying the philosophy that Huangshan clears up. Huangshan has produced a multitude of artists of various dynasties in turn have constantly enriched and upgraded the artistic value of Huangshan.

Natural Heritages

Huangshan has gone through a long process of the earth movement, including the formation of mountains, the elevation of the crust, the erosion of glaciers and the fossilization of wind, and finally takes on the shape of thrusting peaks we see today. Huangshan is said to be composed of 72 peaks, 36 smaller peaks and 36 bigger ones, with the main peak rising 1,864 meters above sea level. The main peak, together with the flat Guangming Peak and steep Tiandu Peak are in the center of the scenic area, encompassed by 77 peaks with an altitude of over 1,000 meters. The overlapping and extending mountains form a three dimensional picture that is exquisite.

The peaks are formed by granites that have vertical textures. Having been deeply eroded, they feature the interlocking of cracks and fractures. The water erosion has contributed to the granite caves and canals there. In the scenic area, there are 30 mountain ranges, housing a large number of caves and holes. The vertical textures of front side of the mountain is more outstanding that the back side, as the former one is fossilized by the wind and takes on the shape of a ball. Generally, the front is magnificent while the beauty of its back is more implicit.

Traces of Glacier Erosions

Traces of the Quaternary glacier erosion is found in Huangshan, mainly in the southeastern region of its front. The most typical landform of this kind is the U-shaped valleys, such as Kuzhuxi Valley and Xiaoyaoxi Valley. Also, there are V-shaped valleys including Meimaofeng Valley, Jiyubei Valley and Tiandufeng Valley. Baizhang Waterfall and Renzi Waterfall form a glacier valley as a result of their convergence. The riverbed stretches from Xiaoyaoxi Valley to Huangshidang Valley is covered with moraine stones brought there by the glaciers. The well is said to have been used by Emperor Xuanyuan to create immortality pills formed after glacier movement.

Water Resources

Huangshan serves as the watershed of Qiantang River and the Yangtze River, are rich in water resources. Around Huangshan, the river network radiates in all directions, characterized by various valleys. There are altogether 36 large valleys, which originated from 36 rivers. The rivers finally converge into 24 bigger ones and flow to Xin’an River, Qiantang River and the Yangtze River. The relative altitude of the peaks also vary widely. Waters cascading down the peak form a majestic landscape that will appeal to all visitors. Among them, the most famous are Renzi Waterfall, Baizhang Waterfall and Jiulong Waterfall. Also, there are 20 named lakes, 15 springs and 9 ponds.

Animal and Plant Resources

The complex natural environment and balanced ecosystem in Huangshan nourish its rich animal and plant resources. The plants varies with the change of altitude. Today, a swamp and a meadow are well preserved there, contributing to the green appearance of the mountain. The coverage ratio of the forest is 56% and the plant coverage ratio can be as high as 83%. It is home to 1452 plant species, among which 13 are under state protection, including metasequoia and maidenhair tree. There are 10 extinct animal species, 6 of which can only be found in China and 2 can only be found there. There are 28 plant species that were found there or named after Huangshan in the past among which, Huangshan Maofeng tea and Huangshan ganoderma are well renowned. Also, it is home to many ancient trees known for their large size and peculiar shape. The most famous among them is the pine tree.

Huangshan is an ideal habitat for animals. Today, there are 24 fish species, 38 amphibian species, 170 bird species and 300 vertebrate species there that include white neck and long tail pheasants, macaques, macaque, sika deer, wild goats, clouded leopards, leiothrix and silver pheasants are rare and precious species.

Four Wonders of Huangshan

All the natural wonders in Huangshan combine to create an intoxicating picture for visitors to capture.

Peculiar shaped pine trees: The pine trees constitute the most unique landscape of Huangshan. The number of pine trees have a history of over a hundred years that defy numeration. With interlocking roots in the peaks, the pine trees show the tenacious spirit of nature. Among them, nearly 100 have been given a name, and the Guest-Greeting Pine at the foot of Yu’nv Peak has become a symbol of Huangshan.

Grotesque rock: The steep peaks and imperious cliffs are everywhere to be found in Huangshan, which are separated with one another by the valleys and waters. Also, granite stone forests and pillars are scattered everywhere inside the scenic area. One would marvel at shapes of these rocks and peaks are said to be created by nature. Among them, over 120 have been given a unique name.

Sea of clouds: The sea of clouds in Huangshan has been known to people since ancient times. There, you will feel like you’re in a fairytale land, too amazing to be true. From a distance, the grotesque rocks, peculiar shaped pine trees and steep peaks are just looming amidst the sea of clouds, making you feel as if you were in the heaven. At that moment, you are at the top of the world.

Hot springs: The source of Huangshan hot springs is at the foot of Ziyun Peak, which confronts Taohua Peak with a creek in between. Legend has it that Emperor Xuanyuan took a shower there for 49 consecutive days and became immortal. The spring water contains rich micronutrients that are conducive to human health. The water has high quality at a moderate temperature, suitable for drinking and taking a shower. Jia Dao, a celebrated poet of the Tang Dynasty, was once inspired by the springs here.

Travel Guide

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Huangshan Mountain is from late spring to early autumn, when the weather is warm and the scenery is at its best. Avoid visiting during the summer, when the mountain can be crowded with tourists.

How to get there: The nearest airport to Huangshan Mountain is Huangshan Tunxi International Airport, located about 40 km from the mountain. From the airport, you can take a taxi or bus to the mountain. If you're traveling by train, the nearest railway station is in Tunxi, which is also located about 40 km from the mountain.

Accommodations: There are many hotels and guesthouses located near Huangshan Mountain, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury options. You can also stay in one of the many cable car stations located on the mountain, which offer basic but comfortable accommodations.

Transportation: The most convenient way to get around Huangshan Mountain is by taking the cable car or a bus. There are also several hiking trails that lead to the summit, but they can be steep and challenging.

What to see: The main attractions of Huangshan Mountain include the West Sea Grand Canyon, the Lotus Peak, and the hot springs. You can also see the famous sunrise and sunset from the summit. Additionally, there are several temples and other cultural sites located on the mountain, including the Xihai Grand Canyon and the Beihai Scenic Area.

What to eat: There are many restaurants and food stalls located near Huangshan Mountain, offering a variety of local and regional dishes. You can try traditional Anhui cuisine, such as steamed buns, tofu, and bamboo shoots, or other popular Chinese dishes like hotpot and noodles.

Other tips:

Wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water, as the hike to the summit can be strenuous.

Respect the natural environment and do not litter or damage the vegetation.

Purchase travel insurance, in case of emergency or unexpected events during your trip.

Nora Zheng

Hi, I’m Nora Zheng, if you like my article, please share it with your friends. Any sugguestions on this article, please contact me. Thanks!

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