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[[File:OTBP Mount Hua.jpg|thumb|250px|Shrine on a peak.]]
The 2,154-meter-tall mountain, true to its reputation as the "most precipitous mountain under heaven", is a cluster of five peaks with breathtaking cliff faces and a tough challenge to walkers. Hua is popularly known by tourists as the "Most Dangerous Hiking Trail in the World" because even though the climb does not require any technical climbing skills, the trail contains a few steep ascents with cliff-like staircases and two optional via ferratas. The biggest danger to safety is often due to overcrowding in the Summer months. Hua was historically the location of several influential Taoist monasteries, and was known as a center for the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts. It is also one of the five
Huashan Village at the base of the park is a small city more than it is a village. The park lies immediately south of town. Peaks and important points of access are mostly named with cardinal directions:
Buses also leave from the '''Xi'an East Bus Station''' (Zhong Tong) for ￥35. More importantly, the last buses from Huashan to Xi'an in the evening arrive here rather than the train station. This is the last station on the Xi'an subway line 1 and can be used to get back to the central city (￥3 to Bell Tower). Apparently bus 42 will take you back to the train station (needs confirmation).
'''Park entrance fee: mandatory for all visitors'''
Busy season (1 March to 30 November): ¥180, or ¥90 with student card. (Note: it is worth trying any foreign ID card in lieu of a student card
Off season (1 December to 28 February): ¥100, or ¥50 with student card.
There are four routes to the top of Huashan Park: 1) Hike to the top from the West Gate, 2) Hike to the top along the Soldier's Path, 3)
1) Climb North Peak from the West Gate. This is the most common hiking path to the summit. Plan for 2-5 hours depending on fitness (approximately 6 km with 1100 m vertical of stairs) to reach the North Peak. There will be plenty of shops by the side of the path selling food and drinks for you to replenish your energy, but the prices are very inflated so it's better to stock up in town. To access the start of the trail from Yuquan Yuan (Jade Spring Temple), walk uphill either through or around the temple to the road behind the temple, and follow it about ten minutes to the West Gate ticket office to purchase your tickets. Don't worry about getting lost, it's very intuitive. If you're climbing at night, you can only purchase tickets from this gate, so don't bother visiting the East Gate visitor's center first.
2) Climb North Peak via the Soldier's Path: Take the shuttle from the East Gate visitor's center to the North cable car station. It's the more difficult but faster of the two hiking routes. This takes an estimated 2 hours, and is nothing but steps. It also contains one section with ''optional'' ~80 degree steps. The steepest steps on the mountain (approaching 90 degrees) are also here, though now chained off in favour of a far more forgiving route.
3) Cable car to North Peak: See above for cable car and shuttle prices. From the East Gate visitor's center, take a shuttle to the cable car station and ride up in
4) Cable car to west peak: See above for cable car and shuttle prices. From the East Gate visitor's center, take a shuttle to the West cable car station; the cable car ride will take twenty minutes.
The first three routes meet up again just below the North Peak summit. From this meeting area there is initially only one route to the other peaks, a steep trail of stairs leading across such features as the "Heavenly Steps", "Sun and Moon Cliff" and "Black Dragon Mountain," and ending at Gold Lock Pass, which is identifiable by the mounds of gold padlocks and red ribbons framing the path. The route is no more than a meter wide at places. Walking from North Peak to Gold Lock Pass takes 1-2 hours.
Just past Gold Lock Pass the route branches. Different paths lead towards the East, South, Center and West Peaks, as well as other points of interest like the Chess Pavilion (between East and South peaks) and the Plank Road (below South Peak). As most of the elevation gain is done, the final ascent to each of the peaks is not too severe. You likely only have time to climb one or walk a circuit .
Biang Biang Mian (Noodles) Special Shaanxi noodles available on the mountain. The character for biang is a special character with 57 strokes only used in Shaanxi Province. Small shops also sell typical snacks and drinks.
It is also advisable to bring your own snacks or food. For example, a bowl of instant noodles at North Peak is ¥
In winter the restaurants close early due to low volume. If you arrive at dinnertime it is not uncommon for restaurants to be closed or to only have instant noodles. Cooking can also be difficult for the staff due to frozen water pipes.
== Drink ==
Be sure to bring enough water for your hike. You may need to buy water on the mountain which will cost you
Cheap, comfortable hotels (private rooms with en suite bathrooms and hot water) in Huashan Village can be found on the usual hotel and hostel websites for half the price of a hostel in Xian or on the mountain. The hotels are within mere meters of the Yuquan Yuan temple and the start of the traditional hike up North Peak. Staying at such a hotel before and after your trip into the park makes for a relaxed day without worrying about first and last trains to wherever.
Most of the peaks have guesthouses where you can sleep in communal rooms of about 4 to 10 people. The price should be
Note that the guest houses are not heated, and they can be brutally cold during the winter. It is possible that the provided sheets and thin mattresses will not be enough, so dress warm and/or bring a sleeping bag and insulation for your head
There are no shower facilities or running water in the guesthouses. Bring moist towelettes, sanitation gel, or simply a small towel to douse with drinking water if you want to wash your hands or face.
Luggage can be stored at the 24-hour front desk. Ticketing services and tour arrangements are available at the tour desk. There is also a mini-market. The property offers free parking.</sleep>
Huashan can unexpectedly become a very expensive trip, up to ¥500 for just a day trip. This short guide will help you limit your costs to under 200Yuan
*Bus from Xian ¥
*Entrance ticket ¥90 with student ID. Foreign ID’s are also accepted. ¥180 without discount.
*Walk up and walk down (The long main trail) This path is not officially open any longer, and it is not recommended to walk up or down as some parts are extremely steep and security poor.