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bei Miao’ertai, Liaoning (China)
Designated a "Famous Mountain of Taoism", there are also lots of Buddhist heritage locations here. It is a beautiful forest hike with a 500-m climb, through a scenic valley with many historic temples, pavilions, and lakes full of large goldfish. Spectacular views approaching the summit. This track could be extended by doing a ridge trail to the north from the summit, that loops back to the valley bottom at the Money Temple.
Hiked at the end of October, 2016, off-season and not crowded at all. the recorded total distance includes several kilometers of bus access from Qianshan Village.
On a broader scale, access is by train, from the G-Train terminal at Anshan City station via taxi is ~55 RMB, and it's less than an hour to Qianshan Village. The Village is located a few kilometers before the park entrance. We found only one hotel readily accepts foreign guests. Having access to a Chinese speaker is probably a good idea.
A #8 shuttle bus frequently goes east from the Village to the Qianshan Park entrance gate (~2 RMB fare).
The road from the foreign-guest hotel to the main highway and bus stop is lined with small restaurants, and food stalls, some quite basic. There are stores with snacks for an all-day 500-m climb.Street breakfast could be a much more interesting experience than the tourist hotel breakfast room, at a fraction of the price.
On the main highway, across road from town, take bus heading west to terminal station at the Park gate.
Get down from #8 bus. We saw groups of touring bicyclists arriving, probably from the direction of Anshan. There are wide shoulders on the main road, shared with farm tractors, scooters, etc.
As everywhere there is a fee. Small trail maps are available. The washrooms here are good. There are washrooms at intervals higher up the trail, we found some not always available or open.
Map boards, at key points along trails, show the locations of main temples and other attractions.
A prominent huge boulder in the valley bottom, named Lily Rock. Tumbled down from mountain above.
The first of many temples, some having ancient origin, of Taoist and Buddhist traditions. All can be explored, although for us, getting to the top and back only allowed short rest times at a few of these temples.
A large Buddhist temple complex of ancient origin (see description in one of the posted pictures).
this Bridge and it's surroundings was used as a set in a Chinese serial based on the classic Red Mansions Novel.
The Chair-lift was not running in late October. Taking this lift (up-only, or both ways) would make the top temple complex and it's great views accessible for most walkers. If going up and contemplating just walking down, there are lots of stairs on the way back down, almost all with good hand rails.
Climbing a steep, twisting, narrow paved road. No vehicle traffic seen. There are frequent benches at the edge of the forest. The autumn, after most of the leaves had fallen, was nice with visibility into the forest. Springtime is said to be very popular with Chinese tourists.
It's a steady, steep climb from here to the upper summit, mostly on wide stairs with hand rails. From the Upper Temple to the peak, the stairs are ancient, narrow, and uneven, eroded in places, carved directly into the granite rock.
See information in one of the pictures attached to this way point. There are spectacular views across the valley, with Taoist temple complexes on the other side. I was able to speak briefly to the young Taoist priest who I met inside when I approached the alter.
An ancient, narrow, hand-carved stairway winds up to the Summit. Hand rails are not always in good condition, and the erosion over centuries sometimes makes these stairs rough, more like mountain climbing in a few short intervals.
Alternate way back down on the other side of the stream, instead of taking the busy boardwalk along the paved road. Large exotic birds were seen in the late afternoon in this area, apparently they are rare, and attract many bird photographers with long cameras.
Catch bus here on way back to Qianshan #8 Village.
Heading back to hotel for some time in the sauna.