Mount Huashan, China: World’s Scariest and Most Dangerous Hiking Trail!
How much would you risk your life to have a cup of tea atop one of China’s highest mountain peaks? The Mount Huashan Plank Trail is considered the world’s scariest and most dangerous hiking trail for a reason. The rocky hike up the steep, uneven terrain across narrow paths could turn fatal with a single slip! The thrilling journey begins with a 20-minute cable car ride. It is followed by an unstable plank walk on 700-year-old wooden planks. Despite all the dangers, nearly a million people embark on this risky hike every year to visit the Buddhist and Daoist temples, which sit atop one of China’s highest peaks.
Where is Mount Huashan situated?
Mount Huashan is the “Western Mountain” of the “Five Sacred Mountains” in China, with steep precipices and overhanging rocks. Located about 120 km east of Xi’an in Shaanxi Province, the scenic place offers a gamut of memorable experiences. Amazing sunrises, breathtaking sunsets, a beautiful sea of clouds, and misty mountain peaks along the trail keep you energized. Mount Huashan is also home to ancient Taoist temples with interesting legends that have been passed on from generation to generation. In addition, there are other places of historical interest: caves, towers, stone steps, and pavilions.
Mount Huashan is famous for the Changkong Plank Trail, also known as the Huashan Plank Walk. This experience gives an adrenaline rush to the adventure enthusiasts as they walk on the precarious planks on the cliffs that have already been exposed to many years of rain, sun, and snow. No wonder it is considered the most dangerous hike in the world.
What makes Mount Huashan’s hiking trail so dangerous?
Built by a Taoist priest named He Zhizhen, the trail consists of wooden planks joined with stone nails that are chiseled into the steep cliff. There are no handrails to cross this narrow path! You need to seize iron chains, cling to the cliff, and move horizontally, an inch at a time. If you look down, all you will see is a bottomless chasm, which would make you dizzy.
Furthermore, once you climb up the mountain, you need to return the same way you came. This means you experience this thrill twice! Imagine meeting someone heading in the opposite direction in the already cramped plank trail hanging in the sky!
In recent years, as tourism boomed in Mount Huashan, steps have been taken to ensure safety and accessibility to the mountain. Cable cars have been made available since the 1990s for the convenience of visitors.
Huashan Plank Walk is open throughout the year except in the case of bad weather or maintenance. The best time to go on this hike is during April, May, September, and October. Ensure there are no long holidays in order to avoid the crowd.
The risks involved in this hike have not deterred tourists from visiting this thrilling trail. You may be surprised to see a long line of people hiking together, which means you may need to wait in a long queue for this mind-blowing experience. Tourists over 50 years of age, or less than 150 cm tall, or suffering from acrophobia (fear of heights), hypertension, and heart disease are not allowed to embark on this trail.
The Huashan Teahouse
Wouldn’t you deserve delicious hot tea at the end of such a death-defying hike? The Huashan Teahouse, located about 7,000 feet above sea level, serves one of the most refreshing herbal teas. This simple tea shop, once a temple, is now famous for serving the world’s most dangerous tea! The tea is natural in every sense. It is made from water sourced from mountain springs, rain, and snowmelt. What makes this tea special is the journey that you make to taste it, which is more exciting than the hot beverage itself!
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