There are lots of opportunities to go hiking in China, but what if you won’t be straying far from Shanghai and need a little downtime after the push and pull of the city’s megacrowds? Well, if you can pencil in two free days, hiking the rolling countryside around Wuyuan County is doable. Here’s how.
With a catchy name like Dragon-Tiger Mountain (龙虎山), you would expect a historical Daoist site like Longhu Shan to be pretty popular. This is, after all, where the nonbeliever Marshal Hong (“you Daoists are always making up stories to make a penny off the common folk”) accidentally set free the 108 demons in the 14th-century classic Outlaws of the Marsh. This is also where the founder of religious Daoism (Zhang Daoling) is said to have attained the Dao in the 2nd century CE. Those are pretty major cultural markers, even if you don’t care a whit about Chinese history.
Imagine a four-kilometer section of hiking trail that’s built into a sheer rock face and looks out onto a forest of strange granite spires and a gorgeous canopy sprinkled with white rhododendron blooms. This is only one of the inspiring walks you can do at Sanqing Mountain (三清山), perhaps one of the most underrated national parks in eastern China. It’s underrated not just because of the unique scenery, but also because it is relatively unknown and less crowded than other Chinese mountains.
A taste of Sanqing Shan, in eastern Jiangxi, China. There’s a definite similarity with Huang Shan, although there are far fewer visitors (especially considering that I was there over the weekend), and it has a Taoist legacy. It’s not in the previous Lonely Planet China guide, but I can assure you it will be in the next one!
Did the Dharma Initiative have a station that no one knew about in China? That Taoist logo had to have come from somewhere! I passed by this place today while hiking around Lushan…thought I felt some funny electromagnetic activity in the air. Or maybe I’ve just had too much tree-ear fungus in the past couple days.