Wutai Shan

  • China, Wutai Shan, Wu Tai Shan - , Walkopedia
  • China, Wutai Shan, Wu Tai Shan - , Walkopedia
  • China, Wutai Shan, Wu Tai Shan - , Walkopedia
  • China, Wutai Shan, Wu Tai Shan - , Walkopedia
  • China, Wutai Shan, Wu Tai Shan - , Walkopedia

Key information: Wutai Shan

     
  • Several days' worth of fine walking in one of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountain areas.
  • Big and beautiful hills, green hillsides and woodlands; and spiritual resonance galore.
  • Thronging with people in high season.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating87
  • Beauty31
  • Natural interest13
  • Human interest16
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points4
  • Total rating87
  • Note: Neg: Crowds in popular places

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: 3,061m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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Wutai Shan: Wu Tai Shan -  - © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

Wutai Shan in north-eastern Shanxi province is one of China's four sacred Buddhist mountain areas and a World Heritage Site, complete with monasteries (said to be 53 in all), temples, pagodas and magnificent mountain landscape, with five flattish peaks (and giving the area its name of 'Five Terrace Mountain') surrounding the main village of Taihuai in its deep(ish) valley. Some describe it as more a high plateau surrounded by the peaks.

While the area gets very busy in high Summer, it is a very pleasant place in Spring and Autumn. The sites around Taihuai are well worth taking time over, as the area escaped the Cultural Revolution relatively unscathed, leaving some of the oldest wooden buildings in China still standing. It should be said, though, that Wutai Shan does get some mixed reviews (there is quite a lot of kitsch around), and doesn’t have the amazing drama of (say) Hua Shan or Emei Shan. But preferable if you want atmosphere, but less punishing walking.

There is lovely walking in the surrounding countryside, up valleys and climbing hard to reach high temples and ridges with stunning views.

You can walk four of the five “terraces” in a High Circuit in a demanding 31km, 9-10hr hike, including the North Terrace, the high point at 3,061m, to be thrilled by huge views on a good day – coming at the right season will be important – and Buddhist temples and other relics, green hillsides and gorgeous wildflowers at the right time of year.

The South Terrace (2,489m) is a gorgeous walk along paths with views, high meadows and wildflowers galore at the right time of year. You can make there-and-backs, or a traverse.

We have seen reference to a 66 km Wutai Shan Loop, a mainly lightly used trail located near Taihuai, Shaanxi, China which should be tackle by experienced hikers only, as it involves camping and backpacking and wayfinding.

See William Mackesy's account of his eventful walk.

This can be tough and demanding walking in high mountains with uncertain weather. To state the obvious, the altitude is likely to affect you, so get so acclimatisation in before tackling the high peaks. Come prepared.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Wutai Shan: Wu Tai Shan -  - ©William Mackesy

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Wutai Shan: Wu Tai Shan -  - ©William Mackesy

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Wutai Shan: Wu Tai Shan -  - ©William Mackesy...
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