Hua Shan Pilgrimage

Hua Shan (华山; pinyin: Huà Shān) is located in Shaanxi Province, about 120 kilometres east of the major city of Xi'an, near the city of Huayin. It is the western mountain of China's Five Sacred Taoist Mountains, and has a long history of religious significance. Originally classified as having three peaks, in modern times the mountain is classified as five main peaks, of which the highest is the South Peak at 2160 m. It is known as the "most precipitious mountain under heaven" 


As early as the 2nd century BC, there was a Daoist temple known as the Shrine of the Western Peak located at its base. Unlike Taishan, which became a popular place of pilgrimage, because of its inaccessibility, Huashan only received Imperial and local pilgrims. It was, however, also an important place for the many herbal Chinese medicine ingredients that grow here. In the 1230s, all the temples on the mountain came under control of the Daoist Quanzhen School and in 1998, the management committee of Huashan agreed to turn over most of the mountain's temples to the China Daoist Association. 

The Mountain

There are two walking trails leading to Huashan's North Peak (1613 m), the lowest of the mountain's five major peaks. The traditional route winds for 6 km from Huashan village. A new route that follows the cable car to the North Peak is actually the ancient trail used before the Tang Dynasty. The Cable Car System stations are built next to the beginning and end of this trail. From the North Peak, a series of paths rise up to the Cang Long Ling ridge, which is a climb of a further  300 metres.

The mountain's accessibility was vastly improved with the installation of the cable car in the 1990s. Deeper and wider paths, one-way paths and more stone steps with railings, have improved the infrastructure here but visitors do need to be careful when making the climb. Some of the most precipitous tracks have been closed off. The former trail that leads to the South Peak from North Peak is on a cliff face, and it was known as being extremely dangerous; there is now a new and safer stone-built path to reach the South Peak temple, and on to the Peak itself.


CNY 100 entrance
CNY 150 cable car round trip. CNY 80 one way.

Getting There

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 in Huashan village, where a short walk uphill brings you to the West Gate. These are independent private companies, which do not operate according to a schedule, but leave when full. 
After you get to Huashan village, there are several routes to take:
1) Climb the North Peak--main route from the West Gate. 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.

From the West Gate you can take a taxi (less than 5 minutes and less than 5 yuan) to the East Gate.

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, Centre and West Peaks. This includes the infamous Changkong Boardwalk (with a safety harness).  Climb a ladder that consists of 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 your trust in footholds carved into the rock.

The Tao Holy Mountains

Tai Shan, Shandong province, 1545 meters.
Heng Shan Bei, Shanxi province, 2017 meters.
Hua Shan, Shanxi province, 1997 meters.
Heng Shan Nan, Hunan province, 1290 meters.
Song Shan, Henan province, 1494 meters.

Click the edit button and enter your content here