Here we recommend three hiking routes. Take the one you like and explore different elements of the Huangshan area: Hiking the West Sea Grand Valley in Huangshan, Hiking along the Xin'an River and Hiking along the Lotus Range in Huangshan.
Hiking along the Xinan River
Xinan River in She County, Anhui Province is formed by the junction of the Lianjiang and Jianjiang Rivers. Due to its splendid landscapes, this a-hundred-kilometer-long river is reputed as a gallery of water and mountains. All along this river, there are the ancient buildings of the local people; white-painted with black tiles, these buildings are surrounded by bamboo groves and lush plant life. On the other side of the river, there are fishing boats leisurely gliding down the river, and cormorants can be seen diving into the river to catch fish for their keepers. It looks like a Chinese painting coming to life.
The best times to take a Xinan River Hiking Tour are:
1. In March, the peach blossom and fields of rapeseed blossoming along the river are particularly beautiful.
2. During April and May, the harvest season of loquat is the best time to visit to pick tea. Visitors can purchase newly picked tea from tea growers along the way.
3. In August when the oranges and other fruits ripen. Visitors can enjoy the freshest fruits while on their tour.
4. In November, when the snow-white blossoms of the Huangshan Gong Chrysanthemums cover the landscape. When dried, this flower's blossoms make a wonderful tea. They were a tribute tea during the Qing Dynasty.
Xinan River is famous for its clear water, and beaches. The water is so clear that the bottom of the river can be seen at all times. No matter what the season, a visit to the Xinan River will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
The best way to enjoy this picturesque landscape is to take a hiking tour along the Xinan River's bank. Normally, a hiking tour along the Xinan River begins at the Taohua Dam and travels to the town of Shendu in She County. The most beautiful section is approximately ten kilometers long and begins at the Nayuankou ferry, passes through the villages of Kengkou Pond, Zhang Pond, and Mian Pond and crosses the Sanqiao Bridge, to finally arrive in the town of Shendu.
Nanyuankou is a ferry that people can use to get to the opposite bank of the river. Hikers walking along the mountain pass along the river bank will reach Kengkou Village through Yue Pond Village. In Kengkou Village, there is the Ruobian Ferry. This area is the hometown of the famous musician Zhangshu. Along with this 8-kilometer-long section, hikers will need to hike up and down the mountains. In Kengkou Village, behind the local middle schools is a giant camphor tree. With a diameter of 10.5 meters and covering an area of over 1,850 square meters, this camphor needs more than four people holding hands to encircle its trunk. According to the local folklore, the famous politician Zhangliang was buried under this thousand-year-old camphor tree.
Zhang Pond is a larger village. Houses there are constructed close to each other, so visitors walking through it feel as though they are walking through a labyrinth. It is difficult to get to the river's north bank at Shendu ferry. Most visitors travel to Mian Pond Village by taking in a boat in front of Zhang Pond Village's middle school. Once getting to the north bank, visitors pass through Mian Pond Village, "the village of the loquat", to Sanqiao Bridge. The 2-kilometer section from Zhang Pond Village to Mian Pond Village is scattered with loquat trees and visitors traveling in May will get to see local villagers harvesting the loquats. The geography of the Sanqiao Bridge area is low, so during floods, the bridge is often beneath the water level. During this time, the only way to cross the river is by boat.
Starting from Mian Pond Village, the paths are rough and choked with weeds and bamboo in some sections. Most local people go to the town of Shendu by boat.
From Sanqiao Bridge to the town of Shendu is a distance of approximately 8 kilometers. Beginning in Fengzhou Island, this section will take 2.5 to 3 hours if visitors take the mountain pass, and half an hour if the paved road is taken.
Traditionally, nearly all the merchants in Huizhou took this route by boat to get down to Zhejiang or Jiangsu Province for business. Once arriving in Shendu Town, there are several options to choose from. Visitors can choose to go to Jiekou Town on foot, or by boat which could allow them to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Xinan River. Cruising down the river, visitors will pass numerous loquat and orange orchards. The loquat and orange trees blossom at different times of the year. When they blossom, the area is filled with their sweet fragrance.
The town of Shendu, which is located on the banks of the Xinan River, has been the distribution point for Huizhou for centuries. In the past, merchants in Huizhou would use this as they're starting point for business trips to the south of China. This section of the river is particularly beautiful. It is surrounded by verdant mountains and green water. An ancient scholar named Yao Zhizhong in 979 Ad chose to live in this area because of the beautiful scenery. In 1159 an official of Huzhou City, whose surname was also Yao made his home along this river, making the town of Shendu one of military importance since the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is interesting to note that in Chinese; "two Yao's" has the same pronunciation as "rowing" in Chinese, a fact often discussed by the local boatmen.
All along the river, there are many small villages located at the base, as well as up in the mountains. The buildings of these villages are painted white and can be seen from quite a distance away, but to get to them takes a lot of work because visitors must climb up the small mountain paths to get up to them. In the spring, the fields of rapeseed blossom and their golden blossoms seem to cover the mountainside.
The Xihai Grand Canyon, also commonly referred to as the Magic Scenic Area, is one of the most beautiful sites on Huangshan Mountain. Recently hiking trips through this canyon has become extremely popular. The hiking route for hiking through the Xihai Grand Canyon follows a "V" shaped route. The two entrances of this tour, the Walking Fairyland Bridge in the south and the Cloud-Dispelling Pavilion in the north, have an elevation of 1320 and 1430 meters above sea level respectively, while the elevation of the canyon's lowest point, the Tianhai, north of Walking Fairyland Bridge, is just 600 meters above sea level. Beginning at either of the two entrances, a hike through the Xihai Grand Canyon is 9.6 kilometers long and takes approximately four hours. Starting at the entrance, hikers travel downhill deeper into the canyon. Once reaching the Tianhai (Haixin Pavilion), the lowest point of the hike, visitors will then begin to ascend until reaching the exit. Hiking the Xihai Grand Canyon is a bit of an adventure, so visitors are suggested to pace themselves and walk at a comfortable pace.
Surrounded by the hills in the Xihai Area, the Xihai Grand Canyon is the best place to view the bizarre rock formations of Huangshan Mountain. A hiking tour into this canyon follows stone steps, mountain roads, tunnels, and bridges. As the most beautiful and deepest part of Huangshan Scenic Spot, the Xihai Grand Canyon has never failed to inspire visitors.
When hiking through the Xihai Grand Canyon, the scenery constantly changes as visitors go deeper into the canyon. Hiking down the stone steps that cling to the precipices, visitors are surrounded by breath-taking surroundings that make photo-taking elementary. It is almost impossible to take a bad photo in this area. The Xihai Grand Canyon is known for its ancient pines and bizarre rock formations. The ancient pines are growing from crevices of the rock, and because of this, they are unable to grow straight and tall as they would if they were growing in flat soil. This combined with wind and weather has twisted these pines into living sculptures. The rock formations in the Xihai Grand Canyon have also taken on bizarre forms. Due to millions of years of wind and rain, the rocks have been worn into shapes resembling ancient sages and mythological creatures. Surrounded by this gallery of nature's art, visitors cannot help but be spellbound. For visitors wanting to get the best experience on their tour, it is recommended that they stay overnight at a hotel on Huangshan Mountain and get up as early as 4:30 to catch the amazing sunrise from the mountain before beginning their hike.
It is recommended that visitors hiking into the Xihai Grand Canyon travel according to their physical ability. This area can be dangerous, especially for the elderly and young children. There is no mode of transport in or out of the canyon other than your own two feet, so this must be kept in mind before a hike is planned. It is highly recommended that visitors only take what is absolutely necessary when hiking into the Xihai Grand Canyon. Porters are available, but they cost money to have them come along. In many parts of the canyon there is no cell phone signal, and getting aid to hikers is difficult, so it is important that hikers are prepared for any situation before heading out.
Although taking a hiking tour through the Xihai Grand Canyon is a workout, it is defiantly worth it. The views are amazing and because this area is so inaccessible, the area is fairly untouched. Most visitors hiking through the canyon will not see another human until they exit it at the other end. It is a great way to get in touch with nature and experience some of the most beautiful scenery on earth.
With an altitude of 1,365 meters, the Lotus Range is the northern entrance of Huangshan Mountain. The section from the Lotus Range to Pine Valley Scenic Area is a perfect area for hiking tours. The route takes approximately eight hours. Beginning at the Lotus Range, hikers walk along the mountain paths through the North Sea Scenic Area to arrive at the Pine Valley Scenic Area. This hike has over 6,500 stone steps and requires a bit of endurance to conquer the 12.5 kilometers distance.
Along the route, there are many scenic wonders to see. A few kilometers past the Lotus Range is the Cloud Dispelling Pavilion, the West Sea Scenic Area and the North Sea Scenic Area. They are a gathering of mountain peaks. In these scenic areas, visitors can appreciate mountains, bizarre rock formations, ancient pines, the sea of clouds, and traditional pavilions nestled in the mountains. Because of its perfect location and amazing views, the North Sea Scenic Area is called the "Picture Window" of Huangshan Mountain. North of the North Sea Scenic Area is the Pine Valley Scenic Area, where there are strange rocks, beautiful crystal clear ponds, and ancient pine groves. The ancient pine trees and rock formations are the highlights of the area. Open to a valley in three directions, the Cooling Terrace, Pine Valley Scenic Area's viewing area, is an ideal place for watching Huangshan Mountain's sunrises and the sea of clouds. After descending the mountain path from the Cooling Terrace, visitors proceed to the Lotus House and Pine Valley Nunnery at the bottom of the North Sea Scenic Area which is mysterious and peaceful. There is a forested area there that is called the "Cool World" by locals because even in the middle of summer, the area is cool with fresh breezes blowing through the pines.
The hiking tour through this area is a bit arduous, but it is really worth it. This area has very few tourists, and chances are, visitors hiking through this area might not see another human being till they get to the end. The area is largely untouched by humans and is very natural and extremely peaceful. Visitors who do not wish to hike the entire distance can take the cable car that runs from the Pine Valley Nunnery to Pine Forest Peak. The views from the cable cars are magnificent and give visitors a bird's eye view of the area. There are also a number of hotels near Pine Forest Peak which serve visitors food as well as other necessities.
This section of Huangshan Mountain is one of the best. If adventurous visitors feel up for physical activity, it is definitely worth the effort. It is recommended that hikers bring as little with them as possible to lighten their load. Comfortable non-skid shoes and a rain jacket are advised. If when you finish your hike it is getting late it is recommended that visitors stay in one of the hotels located in the area before setting off on your next adventure.
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