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 mountaineers. Hua was historically the location of several influential Taoist monasteries, and was known as a centre for the practise of traditional Chinese martial arts. It is also one of the five holy Taoist mountains of China.
Huashan Huoche Zhan - located in the town of Mengyuan Frequent minibuses between the train station and Hua Shan
- Luoyang - takes about 4-5 hours
- Taiyuan Takes about 9 hours
- Xian - takes about 2-3 hours
Leaving from Xi'an: buses (coaches or minibuses) leave from the eastern side of the train station regularly during daylight hours. These take about two hours and costs 33 yuan for one way or 55 for a return. You'll be dropped off on Yuquan Lu, where a short walk uphill brings you to the western entrance.
Be aware these are independent private companies, or just two guys with a bus. They don't operate on a schedule, but will leave when full of passengers. So For the quickest departure, find a bus already mostly full of people, since if you choose an empty bus you could be sitting in the parking lot a while.
The entrance fee for the National Park is 180 yuan.
After you get to Huashan village by minibus, there are several routes to take:
1) Climb the North Peak--main route from the West Gate. Plan for more than four hours to reach the North Peak.
2) Take the cable car (80 yuan one way, 150 yuan for a return) to the North Peak. Buy a ticket and take a bus (10 yuan one way) to the lower station (mandatory) from the East Gate.
3) Climb the North Peak--alternate route below the cable car. Take the bus to the cable car station from the East Gate. This takes an estimated 2 hours, and is nothing but steps.
The bus will let you off down the street the West Gate. You can take a taxi (less than 5 minutes and less than 5 kuai) to the East Gate, which is the ticket office for the cable car and bus to the cable car station.
These three routes meet up again just below the North Peak summit.
From this area, there is one route to the other peaks. This passes through the area known as the "Heavenly Steps" (上天梯，literally "ascend heaven ladder", "Sun and Moon Cliff" and "Black Dragon Mountain," the latter called that because it looks like a dragon's wavy back. The route is no more than a meter wide at places. This should take about 2 hours.
At the top of this section is the "Gold Lock Pass." Here the route branches. Paths lead towards the East, South, Center and West Peaks, as well as other points of interest. As most of the climbing is done, the final ascent to each of the peaks is not too severe. You can climb only one (probably the South, the highest) or walk a circuit. In this are there are temples, lodges and other sites. This includes the infamous Changkong Boardwalk.
- Green Dragon Ridge - (Canglong Feng) narrow rock ridge with vertical cliffs on both sides (not for the faint of heart)
- North Peak - (Bei Feng) the first of the five mountain peaks
- Watch the sun rise from East Peak (Dong Feng) by attempting a night hike. It won't be as crowded as during the daytime, but you will see other hikers ascending as well. Be sure to bring along a flashlight, spare batteries and warm clothing.
- With a safety harness (since 2005!) walk out on the 长空栈道 （Changkong zhandao, "Vast Sky Plank Walk"). Climb a ladder that's nothing more steel rods driven into a crack in the rock, and walk on planks a foot wide along the edge of a cliff dropping thousands of feet, and in places put you trust in footholds carved into the rock.
A golden lock at the golden lock temple and add it to the iron railings as a prayer for your family.
A gold or bronze medal that you can inscribe with your name to commemorate your ascent of the mountain.
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.
Be sure to bring enough water for your hike. You may need to buy water on the mountain which will cost you about 5 Yuan. If you buy the water before coming the price should be about 1.5 Yuan. Most people will drink Red Bull from small golden cans. This Red Bull is not carbonated and is a little more watery than those available in the United States.
Most of the peaks have guesthouses where you can sleep in communal rooms of about 4 to 10 people. The price should be around 60 to 120 Yuan.
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In Huashan village, minibuses leave from the intersection of Yuquan Lu and Xitong Gonglu, as well as the East Gate that gives access to the cable car station, on a frequent basis. Although some guides say they stop at 7:00, unlicensed transportation continues. In a worst-case scenario a rickety village taxi could surely be persuaded to make the trip back to Xi'an for 300-500 RMB (about 50-75 USD).