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Mount Tai Hiking

Located in Tai’an City(泰安市), Shandong Province(山东省), Mount Tai or Taishan offers a unique hiking experience that is completely different from hiking other mountain. It is rather a historical and cultural trail than a natural hiking path that has been hiked for at least 3000 years. According to Chinese history book, there were total 72 ancient Chines emperors climbed up to the peak to worship the Heaven God, or announce their enthronements. So just imagine you are taking the same trails as these great emperors did. Isn’t it a unique experience? Mount Tai is the foremost of the greatest mountains in China. The imperial history is not the only reason. Many other great figures also hiked Mount Tai. Most famous one is definitely the Confucius. Many sites on the mountains are related to Confucius’ story. Another big reason that makes Mount Tai the greatest sacred mountain is the religious existence. There are many temples and monasteries of both Buddhist and Taoist on the Mountain. As a World Geographical Park, Mount Tai has many natural wonders - lofty peaks, beautiful rocks, deep valleys, ancient trees, seasonal blossoms, etc. Those natural wonders together with outstanding cultural values make Mount Tai the world’s first World Cultural & Natural Heritage Site.

Although the altitude of Mount Tai is only 1545 meters, the vertical height from the foot of the mountain to the summit (Jade Emperor Peak) is 1391 meters. There are four trails heading up to the summit from four entrances. You can plan your hike according to your dates, the season you visit and your physical strength. China Discovery offers valuable Mount Tai hiking tours with great flexibility, comfort and personalized services. You are also welcomed to contact our travel experts to customize a hike experience of your own. Start now!

Best Mount Tai Hiking Tour Packages

Below are our travel experts’ handpicked the top Mount Tai Hiking tour packages which take you to explore with classic experience. The hiking usually takes about 1 or 2 days depending on whether you will accommodate at the top of Mount Tai for sunrise and sunset. Besides, Mount Tai can be connected to other popular destinations in Shandong easily, such as Qingdao, Jinan, etc.

Mount Tai Hiking

2 Days Enjoyable Mount Tai Hiking Tour

Tour Pace:Comfortable

Hike the most scenic and interesting trail of Mount Tai hiking, which starts from the half-way point to the South Heaven Gate; Explore the sacred temples and historical sites, and learn about the stories behind the ancient rock inscriptions on the top of Mount Tai; Appreciate grandiose architecture, authentic murals, and ancient trees in Dai Temple.

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Mount Tai Hiking

2 Days Most Classic Mount Tai Hiking Tour

Tour Pace:Comfortable

Hike the classic hiking path of Mount Tai which is also known as “the imperial road” because there were 13 ancient Chinese emperors including the greatest Qin Shi Huang hiked this road to the top of Mount Tai for worshiping ceremony. You will stay a night on the mountain so that you can enjoy the incredible sunset and sunrise.

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Mount Tai Hiking

3 Days Taishan & Qufu Tour from Beijing by Bullet Train

Tour Pace:Comfortable

Take the 3-day Beijing side trip to Mount Tai and Qufu by high speed train! You'll visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, see both natural and cultural scenes, get to know why Confucianism is spreading all over the world.

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Popular Mount Tai Hiking Trails

There are four entrances to the summit of Mount Tai, namely Hongmen, Tianwaicun, Tianzhufeng and Taohuayu. Different routes have different highlights and physical demands. Generally speaking, Hongmen Trail is most popular with hikers, and Tianwaicun Trail is more preferred by tourist groups and regular tourists. They are usually chosen by more than 80% of visitors. Taohuayu Trails and Tianzhufeng Trail, without many historical sites to see, are usually taken by those second-timers or who want an in-depth hike.

Mount Tai Hiking Map

A. Hongmen – Zhongtianmen - Summit: the “Imperial Road” & the most classic Mount Tai Hiking

Distance: 9.5km/3~5 hours

Hongmen Trail, with a distance of 9.5 kilometers, is also known as the Imperial Road. It is the most popular Mount Tai hiking route which used to be the main road for emperors to get to the summit of Mount Tai to offer their sacrifices to Gods, which is the reason why it’s much wider than other roads to the summits. Today, it is the most classic and popular due to its cultural significance.

One usually can finish this hike in around 4~6 hours. This route has wide stairs of strong and tidy stones. Along the both sides of the path are lush cypress trees and other plants. There are many historical relic sites located on the Hongmen Trail, including 8 temples, over 200 monumental stone tablets, over 300 cliff carvings, etc.

Before starting Hongmen Trail hiking, you can go to visit the Dai Temple where you can stay 1~2 hours to explore this one of the largest and best-preserved ancient building complex in China. Founded in Han Dynasty and had a larger scale of construction in Tang Dynasty, Dai Temple now contains ancient buildings of over 150, all with the imperial architectural styles.

Leaving Dai Temple for Hongmen Palace where your hike stars. Purchase Mount Tai entrance ticket at Wanxian Tower, and hike some easy stairs, passing by Doumu Palace, Jingshiyu, Hutian Pavilion, Huima Hills. After about 2 hours’ hiking, you will get to Zhongtianmen (Middle Heaven Gate 880m), the halfway point of Mount Tai, which means you have already finished half distance of Hongmen Trail hiking. Here you can refuel and rest for a while. If your time and energy don’t permit you to continue hiking, you can take cableway car up to the top. While, we suggest you keep hiking upward, which is definitely worth trying because this section is the very essence of Mount Tai hiking with plenty of things to see. Keep climbing, and make stops for historical sites, ancient temples, rock inscription of ancient times, such as Kuaihuo Sanli, Cloud Step Bridge and Five Official Pine Trees, then get to challenge 18 Bends which heads to Nantianmen, the high end of Hongmen Trail. With many steep stairs, 18 Bends is the most difficult hike as well as the most impressive hike for you to catch significant landscape. Finally you will get to Nantianmen. Here you can slow down your steps, and walk around the famous attractions on the peak, such as Heaven Street, Bixia Temple, Jade Emperor Peak, etc. If lucky, enjoy the fabulous sunset.

After the hiking, descend the mountain by cable car and sightseeing bus.

B. Sightseeing Bus – Zhongtianmen – Nantianmen: the essential hike

Distance: 4.5km/2~3.5 hours

This hike only takes the second half of route A, which starts from Zhongtianmen to Nantianmen, and can be done in 2~3 hours. It is strongly recommended for those who are short on time or not fixed enough for a strenuous hike but want to explore the most charming section of Mount Tai hiking. To save time and energy, you will take a sightseeing bus to Zhongtianmen from Tianwaicun tourist center, then hike from Zhongtianmen to Nantianmen. After exploration on the summit, you can descent the mountain by cable car and sightseeing bus.

C. Tianzhu Peak to Jade Emperor Peak: the tranquil hiking path of Mount Tai Distance: 5.4km/3~4 hours

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 kilometers’ hiking from Tianzhu Peak to the Sister Pine Tree which is a 5.4km long off-the-beaten-track scenery with fresh air, well-paved path but fewer tourists. It is the best hike route for adventure, quietness and nature fun. You will walk in the tranquil mountains and valleys, encounter with many beautiful pine trees, enjoy steams and waterfall views and visit ancient temples.

This nature trail is also often taken as the downhill route for those who climb up by the Hongmen trail so that one doesn’t have to return the same way.

D. Taohuayu – Taohuayuan – Summit: the most adventurous Mount Tai hiking

Distance: 13km/4~5 hours

Taohuayu is a beautiful scenic area located on the west hills of Mount Tai. It pleases visitors by vast sea of peach blossoms in spring season and stunning streams flowing down from top of Mount Tai. It’s a wonderful experience to walk among peach flowers and relax yourself in the water fun. The first part of this trail is from the northern entrance of Mount Tai to Taohuayuan, the cableway station. It can be explored by both walking (3hrs) and sightseeing bus (50mins). Keeping hiking 1 hour up, you will get to the summit of Mount Tai.

How to Choose Mount Tai Hiking Routes

The first-timers are strongly suggested to hike the route A – hike all the way from Hongmen to the summit, then descend by Zhongtianmen cable car and Tianwaicun sightseeing bus.

The second-timers can take the route B – hike the beautiful and undisturbed path from Tianzhufeng to the summit, and descend by Zhongtianmen cable car and Tianwaicun sightseeing bus.

If you have one day, you are suggest to take the route A. You can hike all the way up or only hike the most highlighting section from Zhongtianmen to Nantianmen. If you want to experience more, you can take Tianwaicun sightseeing bus to Zhongtainmen, then hike to the summit, and descend by Tianzhufeng trail, which needs a full day.

If you have two days, you are able to stay a night on the mountain so that you can enjoy both sunset and sunrise. You can hike to the summit as the route A, enjoy sunset around the Heaven Street, then stay overnight in a hotel around South Heaven Gate or Jade Emperor Peak. On the second day, you can get up early to watch sunrise at Gongbei Stone (Gongbeishi), then hike down the mountain along Tianzhufeng Trail.

Most Important Mount Tai Hiking Notes

Where to stay on the Mountain

You can stay at the foot of Mount Tai or on the summit area, but you cannot expect great hotels as well as you can find in Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and other big Chinese cities.

If you visit Mount Tai in one day, you can stay at hotels in Tai’an city around Hongmen and Tianwaicun which are two gates of Mount Tai Scenic area. Hongmen area is usually the starting point of Mount Tai hiking. There are many hotels to choose from 5 stars to 3 stars, such as Four Points Sheraton Tai’an, Dongyue Hotel, Home Inn Plus, etc. Tianwaicun is the tourist center of Mount Tai where you can take the sightseeing bus to save time and energy. There are many hotels of different classes. The best one is Ramada Plaza Tai’an which is a 5-star resort with modern amenities. Other recommended hotels include Tianwaicun Hotel, Huatai Hotel, etc.

If you want to watch sunset and sunrise, you can stay a night on the summit of Mount Tai. But there are not many great hotels, and the prices are much expensive than hotels at the foot of the mountain. They are usually booked quickly even during the off seasons. You’d better book in advance. The best hotel on the mountain is Shenqi Hotel (3 star) with some standard rooms and single-bed rooms. It is located at Jade Emperor Peak which is the best place to watch sunrise. The room rates are about 1000~1200 RMB in peak season and 500~600 RMB in off seasons. Nantianmen (South Heaven Gate) area provides more flexible choices of hotels which are mainly basic guesthouses. You need to walk about 20 minutes to get to sunrise-watching location. Recommended guesthouses are Nantianmen Hotel, Yunchao Hotel, etc.

What to eat in your hiking

There are food vendors and small local restaurants around Zhongtianmen (the half-way point) and Nantianmen (summit area), but don’t expect fancy restaurants as you can find at the foot of the mountain. You can purchase bottle water, local snacks, such as pancakes, noodles, fried rice, etc. or have meals in a local restaurant which usually provide local dishes. Since it’s very impo

rtant to pack light for hiking, you don’t have to bring a lot of food and water with you. Some portable snacks like Snickers, ship biscuit, tasajo are recommended.

What to pack for you hiking

You are supposed to walk for long time on the mountain and the hotels are located on the mountain top areas, so you’d better leave your big luggage at your hotel in downtown or hotel at the foot of the mountain before hiking the mountain. You can bring a small bag to keep your personal belongs and necessities for 1 or 2 days. Comfortable hiking boots or firm running shoes;

  • Light and comfortable pants (trekking pants in winter);
  • T-shirt for summer and long-sleeved shirt and underwear for autumn and winter;
  • Changes of socks;
  • Warm layers for top: fleece, cashmere jumper, sweatshirt/hoodie;
  • Hiking sticks;
  • Some energy bars for the trekking;
  • Sun cream;
  • Rain cape;
  • Bottle waters.

When is the best time to hike Mount Tai

You can hike Mount Tai all year around, but the best time is from March to mid-October when it’s comfortably warm. Different seasons present you different experiences – enjoy peach blossom in spring, escape heat in summer, appreciating red leaves in autumn and marvel at snow world in winter. Mount Tai has a long winter which lasts from November to February when it is very chilly and windy on the mountain. You’d better wear winter coats, gloves, scarfs, woolen hats, snow boots, etc.

You can use Eco buses and cable cars to shorten your hiking

If you are short on time, or you are not shaped enough for a long hike, you don’t have to walk all the way up and down. You can use eco-bus and cable cars wisely to shorten your hiking and save energy. There are currently two sightseeing bus lines and three cableways under operation. Our suggestion is to take one-way cable car and walk the other way, i.e. walking up to the summit and descent by cable car.

Taohuayuan sightseeing bus (30 RMB / one way) – this bus line starts from Taohuayu, the western gate of Mount Tai Scenic Area. Taking this bus line, you can get to Taohuayuan Scenic area where you can spend some time enjoy blossom and riverside landscape, then take a cable car or hike up to the summit of Mount Tai.

Tianwaicun sightseeing bus (30 RMB / one way)– this bus line takes you directly to Zhongtianmen, the half-way point of Mount Tai where you can hike the second half of the Imperial Road to Nantianmen, or take Zhongtianmen cable car up to the summit. It may be very crowded during festivals and weekends.

Zhongtianmen cableway (100 RMB / one way) - this cableway is the most frequently used cableway on Mount Tai. It transfers visitors from Zhongtianmen to the Moon Watching Peak near Nantianmen within 6 minutes, saving about 2 hours’ steep hiking.

Taohuayuan cableway (100 RMB / one way) - this cableway connects Taohuayuan Scenic Area with the top area of Mount Tai near north of Heaven Street. If you go to visit Mount Tai for the second time or be more interested in its natural beauty, you can take a cable car here. You can also use this cableway to skip the crowds.

Houshiwu cableway – this cableway is not very recommended as it is very short (518m), and cannot save much time for you. It is located in the beautiful Tianzhufeng Trail.

Recommended Top Tour Packages including Mount Tai

Have more days to spend in China? Why not travel Mount Tai with other popular travel destinations in Shandong, such as Jinan, Qufu, Qingdao, etc. You can even extend your trip to nearby region, such as Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Dengfeng Shaolin Temple, etc. Following are several recommended tour packages with private service and budget price.

China Ancient Chariots Museum
8 Days Shandong History & Culture Tour

Jinan / Mount Tai / Qufu / Zibo / Weifang / Qingdao

Amazing Different Terra Cotta Warriors
10 Days China World Heritage Tour in Northern China

Beijing / Mount Tai / Qufu / Zhengzhou / Shaolin Temple / Luoyang / Xian

Temple of Heaven Tour
10 Days Beijing Shandong Tour by Bullet Train

Beijing / Jinan / Mount Tai / Qufu / Qingdao

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

Customize a Trip

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