Why should you visit Hills and Parks?

History

Traces of human presence at Mount Tai date back to the Paleolithic period. Human settlement of the area can be proven from the Neolithic period onwards. During this time, two cultures had emerged near the mountain, the Dawenkou culture to the south and the Longshan culture to the north.

Landscape

Mount Tai is located in the north of Tai'an city, in the middle of Shandong province. As one of the five most famous mountains in China, it is recognised as the head of the Five-mountain and defined to be East-mountain adoringly. Many emperors climbed to the top for enthronement or other significant ceremonies in ancient China, for they considered it to be a symbol of Chinese power that given by the master of nature.

Sacredness

Tai Shan (Peace Mountain) is one of the five Daoist sacred mountains in China. Because of its history, it is the most climbed mountain in China. Religious worship of Mount Tai has a tradition dating back 3,000 years, from the time of the Shang (c. 1600–1046 bc) to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912).

Most popular hiking trails on Tai Mountain

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Classic imperial Hongmen trail – Daimiao to Jade Emperor Peak

The Hongmen Trail is the most popular climbing route which used to be the main road for emperors to get to the top with a distance of 9.5 kilometres. One usually can finish this hike around 4~6 hours. This route has wide stairs of heavy and tidy stones. Along both sides of the path are prosperous old trees and other plants. There are many historical relic sites located on the Homen Trail, including 8 temples, over 200 monumental stone tablets, over 300 cliff carvings, etc.

Green Nature Trail -Tianzhu Peak to Jade Emperor Peak

Tianzhu Peak Scenic Area is located on the eastern side of Mount Tai. The best highlight of this region is stunning scenery with fresh air and fewer tourists. The essence of this trail is the 5.4 kilometres’ hiking from Tianzhu Peak to the Sister Pine Tree. Many attractions gather along this route, such as Crane Bay, Watching Heaven Gate, Tianzhu Peaks, General Hill, Yellow Flower Plank Road, Laojun Temple, Yuanjun Temple, Lotus Cave, Nine Dragons Hill, Crouching Tiger, etc. Then take the Houshiwu Cableway to South Gate to Heaven.

Main tips about a tour to Tai Mountain

A tour guide is unnecessary

While a guide will help you to get there (much like you would need finding your way to the Great Wall), it’s not necessary for a tour guide to lead you up the mountain as many of the plaques are in both English and Chinese and the small temples lining the route are pretty self-explanatory. Though using a guide will open you an additional page of Chinese history before you.

There’s more than one way to do it.

You need to climb the 6,066 steps along the Eastern Route, also known as the Imperial Route, which is arguably the most scenic way to the top before taking the cable car back down to the town. Many Chinese opt for the Peach Blossom Ravine Route and even the more rugged (and slightly more dangerous) Tianzhu Peak Route.

The bus ride alone is worth it.

The winding ride is a little nerve-wracking as a passenger, but you would think of it as preparation for the steep, worn steps you’ll climb as you pass through the Gates of Heaven upon entering Mount Tai. Use the time to drink plenty of water, munch on a protein bar, and even take a quick power nap.

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About the Author

Edward Barber

HillsAndParkes Co-founder and CEO

Our aim is to remain a friendly organisation that caters to small groups of discerning adventure travellers, who respect local culture and prefer to travel the most interesting paths. We spent many years hiking through the different types of terrain, and it‘s still our passion.