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Why Visit Tianzi Mountain

With an area comprising only 67 square kilometers, Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve is one of the four subsections of Wulingyuan Scenic Area, added to the World Heritage List. However, its unparalleled peaks are the must-visit scene of Wulingyuan and even appear on the entrance ticket of the large scenic area.

Tianzi Mountain provides stunning views of peaks, which rise one after another. It is known as 'the Monarch of the Peak Forest'. At the top of the mountain, visitors can see the full extent of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area. It is said to combine the beauty of Guilin, the grotesqueness of Huangshan ("Yellow Mountain"), the awesomeness of Mount Hua and the magnificence of Mount Tai.

Tianzi Mountain greet visitors with its beautiful scenery, and if you are lucky enough, you would see the four wonders: the Sea of Clouds, the Radiance of the Moonlight, Rays of Sunshine and the Snow in winter. Tianzi Mountain also attracts travellers with the forbidden Shentang Gulf, magical Fields in the Air, beautiful Ten Mile Gallery, etc.

Just come to explore this cute spot!

Related Reading:
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park | Yuanjiajie

Tianzi Mountain Tianzi Mountain

Why It Called Tianzi Mountain

Tianzi Mountain is named after the leader of the local Tujia ethnic group - Xiang Dakun in early Ming Dynasty (1368~1644). Xiang Dakun led a successful local farmers' revolt and called himself "Tianzi", meaning son of Heaven and is the traditional epithet of the Chinese emperor. There are many legends of this man, which puts a piece of mysterious veil on Tianzi Mountain. Meanwhile, many scenic spots in the Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve are named after "Tianzi".

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Tianzi Mountain Sea of Clouds

Highlights of Tianzi Mountain

Shentang Gulf (神堂湾) - A Mysterious and Forbidden Area

Shentang Gulf, a bottomless gorge surrounded by bluffs and with a dark green pool at the bottom, still remains untouched by human footprints. It is bathed in mist all year around. Legend goes that the Xiang Tianzi died here. There’s no safe path towards this area, but only with a threatening 9-step natural ladder, which allows only one foot to stand on. You will be horrified by every single glimpse of the bottom. What’s particularly surprising is, sounds of beating drums and gongs, human voice and horses neigh can be heard from the canyon.

Dianjiang Terrace (点将台) - Overlook the West Sea Stone Forest (西海峰林)

Dianjiang Terrace is the best place to overlook the West Sea Stone Forest. Stopping for a while at a small lookout platform, and enjoy the amazing misty scenery of Xihai Peak Forest (西海峰林) here. Rugged rocks juts out of a misty canyon, as if an emperor was counting soldiers. Like much of Wulingyuan Scenic Area, West Sea consists of strangely eroded mountain-peak remnants, some in the form of stratified sandstone towers, or obelisks, and others in the form of more massive stratified sandstone blocks. The "waves" or "rows" of obelisks, each row reaching higher than the proceeding one, really do look like a "Gate to Heaven (天门)". Moreover, at this height, banks of real clouds can settle here, and with only the terrace and the tips of the ascending rows of obelisks piercing through, the view is indeed one of a "staircase to heaven (天台)".

Ten Miles Gallery (十里画廊) - Have a Romantic Tour by Little Green Train

Ten Miles Gallery is a valley of Tianzi Mountain Natural Reserve with about 10 miles, and you could choose to explore the beautiful scenery along the road by taking the little green train. In this small valley, you could see picturesque scenery. Those peaks with various shapes are major scenic spots of this area. They look like what they are named after, such as The God of Longevity Welcoming Guest (寿星迎宾), An Old Man Gathering Herbs (采药老人), Conch Peak (海螺峰), etc.
Note: You need to pay extra fee for the little green train (tourist tram). The single way ticket is ¥38 and round trip ticket is ¥52. It may change according to situation.

Imperial Writing Brush Peaks (御笔峰) - King of Peaks

No matter painters or photographers, they are all fascinated by Imperial Writing Brush Peaks. You may see it in many pictures both at home and abroad. Legends goes that King Xiang leaves his writing brush here. Looking from the vantage point on the northeast, ten rolling peaks soar up to the blue sky. The right peak looks like an inverted brush. And the peaks on the left looks like a finished picture.

Tianzi Pavilion (天子阁) - The Best Viewing Deck

Tianzi Pavilion, a man-made pavilion with the characteristics of traditional Chinese architecture, is the best viewing deck to overlook Tianzi Mountain. With the height of 30 meters, Tianzi Pavilion is located at the platform that is about 200 meters east away from the Helong Park. While you enter the pavilion, you could see three big Chinese characters: Tian Zi Ge (天子阁). The pavilion has 6 floors and four double-hipped roof, which is the same as other ancient Chinese pavilion.

Fields in the Air (空中田园) - Fields on the Top of Mountain

You can’t image that the scene in the fairy tale can come into the real life. Fields in the Air rises 1,000 meters above sea level. You could see a piece of terraced field covering 3 hectares, beneath which is a chasm with protruding sheer cliffs. The field is on three sides surrounded by trees and white clouds, just like a splendid landscape painting.
Note: You need to pay additional ¥2 for taking photos here, and the sightseeing bus may charge fees to this spot. You could contact our private consultant for the updated information.

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Tianzi Mountain Shentang Gulf
Tianzi Mountain Fields in the Air
Tianzi Mountain Little Green Train
Tianzi Mountain Tianzi Pavilion
Tianzi Mountain Tourist Map Tianzi Mountain Tourist Map
Click to Enlarge

How to Visit Tianzi Mountain

Classic Route: Shentang Gulf (神堂湾) - Dianjiang Terrace (点将台) - Helong Park (贺龙公园) - Tianzi Pavilion (天子阁) - Wolong Ridge (卧龙岭) - Tower Peak (宝塔峰) - Ten Mile Gallery (十里画廊) - Zimugang Ticket Station/Wujiayu Ticket Station

Visiting Hours: About 2~3 Hours

Most travellers choose to visit Tianzi Mountain and Yuanjiajie together. After the Yuanjiajie tour, hop on a free sightseeing bus at the Greatest Natural Bridge (天下第一桥) and get off at Helong Park (贺龙公园). The bus journey needs about 40 minutes. Then hike to Shentang Gulf (神堂湾) and Dianjiang Terrace (点将台). Then return to the Helong Park and keep hiking to Tianzi Pavilion. If you get tired, you could travel to the upper station of Tianzi Mountain Cable Car and ride the cable car for a descent. Then go out of the scenic area from Wujiayu Ticket Station. If you want to go down by foot, choose the trail near Tianzi Pavilion down. Remember the trail splits into two there. The one go to Southern Heavenly Gate is shorter, requiring about 1 hour to finish. The other one go to Wolong Ridge (卧龙岭) is longer and is linking with Ten-mile Gallery. If you choose the longer way, it needs about 2-3 hours to complete. Closer to the bottom, you will find free sightseeing buses to get out.

Tianzi Mountain Hiking Map Tianzi Mountain Hiking Map
Click to Enlarge

Tianzi Mountain Formation

The Mountains are quartz sandstone and were formed about 400 million years ago through irregular rising patterns of the earths crust, and with about 318 million years of erosion these tall and skinny mountains were formed. Furthermore, the erosion has created distinct, stratified layers that have developed different coloring and shape over the years of exposure to the elements. Meanwhile, younger and less eroded mountains also dot these mountains, further contributing to the unique variety of mountain formations found here.

Tianzi Mountain Tianzi Mountain Peaks

Tianzi Mountain Cable Car

The total length of Tianzi Mountain cable car is about 2,084 meters, and the speed of which is about 5 m/s. Most travellers choose to take it to up/down the mountain, which could highly save your energy. The time needed for a single way is about 10 mins. You could enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way in relax.
Note: 1. The single way ticket is ¥72/person, and the round-trip ticket is ¥144/person.
2. The opening hours are 7:30-17:30 (Peak Season), 8:00-17:00 (Off Season).
3. The price and opening hours may vary under different situations.

Tianzi Mountain Tianzi Mountain Cable Car

How to Get to Tianzi Mountain

Tianzi Mountain is located at the Wulingyuan Scenic Area of Zhangjiajie. It is about 55 km to Zhangjiajie City by car (1 h 20 mins' driving distance). It is near Wujiayu Ticket Station. You could take direct bus from Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station to Wulingyuan Bus Station, and then take Bus No.1/No.2 for two stations. After getting off, you need to walk for about 430 meters/580 meters to the Wujiayu Sightseeing Bus Station, then take the bus to the Tianzi Mountain cable car station.
The driving distance between Tianzi Mountain and nearby attractions are as followings.

Tianzi Mountain Tianzi Mountain Location Map
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How to Plan a Tianzi Mountain Tour

Most travellers would visit Yuanjiajie and Tianzi Mountain in one day, and they would visit Yuanjiajie first and then visit Tianzi Mountain. Generally, they would take about 3 days to visit the core attractions of Wulingyuan Scenic Area.

The first day they will arrive at Zhangjiajie and check in hotels in Wulingyuan Central Area. Then the next day they will visit Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, where they could enjoy Huangshizhai - the viewing deck - to overlook the whole view of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, and then hike to Golden Whip Stream. The third day they will go to Yuanjiajie and Tianzi Mountain. Then they will go back.

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If they have 1~2 more days, then they could have a in-depth tour of Zhangjiajie by visiting Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, Yellow Dragon Cave, Baofeng Lake, etc. Or they would explore the nearby Fenghuang Ancient Town to see the featured western Hunan ethnic minority or to Fanjingshan Mountain to see the mushroom stone and odd mountains.

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Travel with China Discovery

You may be confused about so many questions as how to plan a Zhangjiajie tour, how to travel between attractions, etc. Meanwhile, you may not know well about so many attractions. Now you can make your tour more relaxing by traveling with China Discovery. We could help you to resolve all problems you worried in your trip. You could take the licensed private car of us, and the driver will escort you between your last destination and the next destination. Our local private tour guide will explain you each scenic spot you will meet. The most important thing is that you will have your own professional private consultant to help you plan your trip according to your own interest and budgets. Along your trip, all you need to do is just playing well. Don't hesitate, just feel free to contact us for more details.

We have helped many global travelers enjoy their memorable trips to Zhangjiajie for the past few years. Among them Mr. Elie & his wife from Belgium enjoyed 5 days in Zhangjiajie during their 69 days China trip customized with us and shared us their travel story. Travel with China Discovery to create your wonderful Zhangjiajie trip memories!

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