Sanqing Shan NP, China


In July of 2011, I had to opportunity, to explore one of the most beautiful locations in the World with a small . Mount Sanqingshan National Park, a 22,950 ha property located in the west of the Huyaiyu mountain range in the northeast of Jiangxi Province (in the east of central China).

Huang Shan, China Area Map

Sanqing Shan National Park has been inscribed for its exceptional scenic quality, marked by the concentration of fantastically shaped pillars and peaks: 48 granite peaks and 89 granite pillars, many of which resemble human or animal silhouettes.

Early morning fog on the trail of Sanqing Shan, China.

A sea of clouds is one of those natural highlights at the Park. Since most of the scenic spots are located 1,600 m above sea level, the deep gorges, together with the luxuriant forests, shorten the length of time for sunlight to penetrate down to the ground. This makes it hard for water to evaporate and creates high humidity levels and moisture in the air. This leads to the park being covered with mist and clouds almost 250 days of the year.

A pillar in the fog, found at the Sanquing Shan National Park, China

Pictured above and below, the natural beauty of Mount Sanqing Shan also derives from the juxtaposition of its granite features with the mountain’s vegetation enhanced by meteorological conditions which create an ever-changing and arresting landscape.

Additional pillars found on the Sanqing Shan Trail, China

The mountain’s meteorological effects are notable: light refraction can produce bright halos on clouds and white rainbows in foggy air. Seen from above, the cloud seas and falls over ridge crests are striking. Mists are common and the strange shapes of the towering fingers of rock when wreathed in mist make this an unusually fantastic landscape. It gives you a mystical feeling of walking in heaven.

A view point from the trail of Sanging Shan National Park

The access afforded by suspended walking trails in the park permited my trekking buddies and myself to appreciate the park’s stunning scenery and enjoy its serene atmosphere, (pictured below).

Part of the walking trail in Sanqing Shan National Park 2011

Mount Sanqing Shan is at the western end of the Huaiyu Range. It is a massive uplifted pluton of deeply faulted and dissected granite, which forms an island of temperate forest above the subtropical countryside.

The central massif of Yujing (1817m), doubly uplifted in the late Cenozoic within a bordering triangle of faults, dominates a fragmented network of joints in the batholith resulting from past expansion of the crust.

An Ostrich-looking rock found along the trail at the Sanqing Shan National Park.

The eroded blocks were further split horizontally into cliffs and clusters of sharp-edged, rounded and sculpted pillars which were never later glaciated, resulting in a forest of pinnacles, (pictured below).

Stages in the evolution of the granite landforms of Sanqing Shan (Yin Guosheng, 2006) Image taken from: http://www.globalgeopark.org/Articles/6335.htm

Pictured below, the “Oriental Goddess” Peak is dignified, graceful and remarkably life like, it is unsurpassed in presenting the romantic charm of an oriental woman.

The Oriental Goddess in the fog on the Sanqing Shan trail.

As the day got warmer, the fog started to slowly dissipate. Pictured below, the “Gigantic Boa” is a slender pillar rising up from the peak forest by as high as 128m, like a “boa” holding its head up against sky, full of life tension and noble spirit, and they are deemed to be superlative scenes under heaven.

The Boa Pillar in the Sanqing Shan National Park. Notice the trail at the foot of Boa Rock.

Mount Sanqing Shan is a masterpiece created by the nature, and a product resulting from the endogenous and exdogenous processes of the Earth.

I’m standing on a amazing cliff hanging trail at the Sanqing Shan NP 2011

The occurrence of the marvelous micro-landforms of Mt Sanqing Shan is due to a multipicity of factors. These include the existence of ultra-acidic, high silicic, high potassium and low calcium granites as a material basis.

Joint fracturing found in the granite rock.

The crustal extension that produced deep vertical joints lying on a fan-shaped fracture pattern of the mountain which cuts the granite  into blocks, thick plates and prisms.

Walking along the Sanqing Shan Trail. Notice pine tree growing horizontally from the side of the cliff.

In addition, the area receives substantial precipitation causing leaching and scouring of the mountainside to create an outstanding and unusual sculptural landscape. Further development of the landscape is attributable gravity collapse and biological activity.

Picture of the many pine trees found with Sanqing Shan National Park

Pine trees found in the Sanqing Shan National Park are mostly covered with an umbrella-like top. Their bizarre and diversified shapes perfectly match the park’s unique stones.

There is nothing like feeling the spray from the rain drizzle and cool breeze on a hot summer day while hearing the swaying of pine trees blowing gently in the breeze, surrounded by mountains on all sides.

Note the trail across the ridge on the right, within the Sanqing Shan

The mountain’s name, Mount (Shan) Sanqing is associated with Taoist belief. Since the three main peaks in the park, Yujing, Yuxu, and Yuhua look like the highest spirits honored in Taoism (Yuqing, Shangqing, and Taiqing) all sitting in a row, the mountain range was called “The Three Puity Mountain” or Mount San-qing. Shan means mount in China.

I’m posing with my traveling buddy and interpreter, Cui Lee, on a glass platform at the crest of the Sanqing Shan National Park.
A look at the glass platform that Lee and I stood on.

Sanqingshan has been a Taoist shrine since a priest, Ge Hong, came to the mountain 400 years ago. At 1,530m high in the heart of the mountain stands the large Sanqingshan temple, the Dragon and Tiger temple, named for its carvings and the Ming period Wind and Storm pagoda.

A Public Map for the Sanqing Shan temples and trails.

The looming, intricate rock formations intermixed with delicate forest cover and combined with ever-shifting weather patterns create a landscape of arresting beauty.

A strange formation near the trail.

All this together, is why I would classify this location as one of the most beautiful places on earth. I personally, classify it as the “Kubla Kahn’s” Xanadu. It is like Heaven-on-earth. Literally walking in the clouds.

A good look at the cliff-hanging trail. An amazing engineering design.

Pictured above, I was heading back of the mountain. The cliff-walkways were amazing engineering accomplishments.

Some fun with resonance on a rope bridge, within the Sanqing Shan National Park 2011, (notice how nobody wants to walk with me on a rope bridge).

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