Sanqingshan (Mount Sanqing, 三清山, Sānqīngshān) is a national geopark and sacred Taoist mountain, located in Jiangxi province, north of Yushan. It features spectacular rock formations and massive pillars, covered with twisted pine trees and ancient rhododendrons, and has several loops of broad concrete trail attached to it, in many cases attached to the side of a cliff. It's somewhat less crowded than similarly spectacular mountains, at least for now.
Sanqing means the "Three Pure Ones" in Chinese. Mount Sanqing is made up of three main summits: Yujing, Yushui, and Yuhua, representing the Taoist trinity. Yujing hill, at 1817 meters above sea level, is the highest.
The park's total area is 229 km². It became a National Geopark in 2005 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.
Flora and fauna
If you don't have your own vehicle, from Yushan South high-speed rail station or Yushan Station take a taxi to the Yushan bus terminal. There are regular buses (17 RMB) to hotel villages at the south and east entrances. From each of these entrances, a ropeway is available to take you most of the way up the mountain. There is also a trail under the south ropeway, and trail access from the north, but to reach the northern trails you'll need to take a motorcycle taxi from the east entrance. In particular, the entrance at Yuling Temple is not accessible by larger vehicles thanks to a gate several kilometers below the temple.
Park admission costs 150 RMB for most of the year. A one-way ride on the ropeway is 70 RMB, or a return trip is 110. Admission is discounted to 130 RMB in January, and there are discounts for children, students, and seniors.
Walk around on the paths. If the stairs seem too difficult, you can pay to get carried up in a basic sedan chair.
Sanqingshan has a great number of strangely-shaped rocks and twisted trees. Many of the trees are ancient rhododendrons, so the mountain is covered in flowers in May and June.
There's also an ancient Taoist temple, Sanqinggong (三清宫), toward the north end of the mountaintop, with a series of sights arranged around it, and with various carvings and gates on the path up the mountain to its entrance. This has been a place of Taoist worship for over 1500 years.
The main activities here are hiking and admiring the rocks and trees.
Food is available in several places on the mountain, notably at the major hotels and some of the tenting areas, although near the tenting areas you may find little beyond snacks and instant noodles.
There are a few hotels near the top of each ropeway, and small villages of hotels at the base of each. The hotels on the mountain tend to be expensive.
A number of places on top of the mountain offer camping. If you don't bring your own gear, they'll rent you a tent and bedding for 120-150 RMB.
If you stay on marked trails, you should be fine. Be prepared for changing weather and colder temperatures than at the base of the mountain.
Consider visiting the small towns and terraced fields of Wuyuan.