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Cangshan Mountain (Mt. Cangshan) is the national geological park in Dali, Yunnan, China with 48 kilometers from north to south and 18 kilometers from west to east, just like a painted screen hanging magnificently around the elegant Erhai Lake. When you first get off or travel around Dali Ancient City (Dali Old Town), Cangshan Mountain is always there looking at you.
Actually, Cangshan Mountain is a combination of beautiful natural scenery and historical sites. There are nineteen peaks and eighteen streams as well as some old temples and caves. The snow-capped peaks, flowing clouds, murmuring brooks and mists are fascinating and the snow of Cangshan Mountain is especially intoxicating which becomes the one of the four best highlights of Dali. No matter you visit the mountain by taking cable car or by hiking, Cangshan Mountain will never disappoint you.
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Cangshan Mountain, also called Diancang Mountain, is the main peak of Yunling Mountain range. It consists of nineteen peaks from north to south, including Yunnong Peak, Canglang Peak, Wutai Peak, Lotus Peak, Cloud Peak, Heyun Peak, Sanyang Peak, Lan Peak, Xueren Peak, Yingle Peak, Guanyin Peak, Zhonghe Peak, Longquan Peak, Yuju Peak, Malong Peak, Shengying Peak, Foding Peak, Ma'er Peak and Sun-setting Peak. All these peaks are over 3500 meters and among them, seven are over 4000 meters and the highest peak is Malong Peak with an altitude of 4122 meters.
Besides the magnificent peaks, there are streams located between two peaks, with eighteen clear and bright streams flowing down to the Erhai Lake. The famous streams include Xiayi Stream, Wanhua Stream, Yangxi Stream, Mangyong Stream, Jinxi Stream, Lingquan Stream, Baishi Stream, Shuangyuan Stream, Yinxian Stream, Meixi Stream, Tao Stream, Middle Stream, Green Jade Stream, Dragon Stream, Qingbi Stream, Mocan Stream, Tingming Stream and Yangnan Stream.
Jade Cloud Road is a flat, paved walking path at an altitude of 2600 meters of Cangshan Mountain. The famous "Jade Cloud" usually appears in the late summer and early autumn and there is a "Jade Belt" floating in the nineteen peaks of Cangshan Mountain. The 18-kilometer Jade-Cloud Road begins from Matong Peak, passing Dragon Stream, Yuju Peak,, Green Jade Stream, Longquan Peak, Middle Stream, Zhonghe Peak, Tao Stream, Guanyin Peak and Meixi Stream, altogether six mountain peaks and five streams.
Weather you take cable car or hike up the mountain, it is advisable to first hit Zhonghe Temple with a small square to enjoy beautiful view of Erhai Lake and Dali Old Town. After that, pass several sites, like Phoenix Eye Cave, Dragon Eye Cave, Seven Fairy Ladies' Pool, Cangshan Mountain Grand Gorge and Gantong Temple.
Ximatan, the highest pool on Cangshan Mountain, is located between Yuju Peak and Longquan Peak, at an altitude of 3920 meters. Every year in Spring and early Summer, the azalea blossoms around the Xiamtan Pool, forming a very beautiful and breathtaking scene. It is about 20 meters from Ximatan to the top of Cangshan Mountain. When taking a walking along the way, travelers can enjoy panoramic view of mountains and rivers, villages and fields in the west side and overlook Jizu Mountain in the east and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the north. Getting at the top of Cangshan Mountain is the best way to enjoy mountain scenery, Erhai Lake and the whole Dali Old Town.
A classic Cangshan Mountain tour takes about half day, while an in-depth hiking tour needs at least 6 hours. For more trip plan ideas, please check the Top 3 Cangshan Mountain Travel Routes below to get inspired.
Cable Car Used: Gantong Cableway
Altitude: 2600 m
Features: Relax Sightseeing around Qingbi Stream and Jade-Cloud Road
Travelers take Gantong Cableway from lower station to upper station with 15 minutes' transfer. When reach the upper station, travelers can take a walk around Qingbi Stream and Jade Cloud Road. The whole journey takes about 2~3 hours. It is a very relaxing way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Cangshan Mountain at the halfway and this classic route is recommended to those travelers who want a relaxing sightseeing.
Cable Car Used: Ximatan Cableway
Altitude: 3920 m
Features: Changeable Scenery along the way; reach the highest point of Cangshan Mountain
Take sightseeing bus in Tianlongbabu Film Studio and get off at the Baihexi Lower Station to take Ximatan cableway to get up to Ximatan. Traveler could appreciate changeable scenery and pass through Seven Dragon Pools along the way for 5348-meter cableway with 35 minutes' transfer. After enjoy the breathtaking scenery on the top of Cangshan Mountain, return back to Xiamatan Upper Station and take cable car to get down. The whole journey may takes about 2.5-3 hours.
Cable Car Used: Zhonghe Cableway up, Gantong Cableway down
Altitude: 2600 m
Features: In-depth hiking along Jade-Cloud Road for 10 kilometers
Take Zhonghe Cableway up to the halfway of Cangshan Mountain first and begin your hiking journey. The hiking trail of Jade Cloud Road is about 11.5 kilometers which takes about 5~6 hours. The stone path is fairly flat and winds around six mountains, passes five waterfalls and three temple. There are also side trail jutting out from the Jade Cloud Road near the waterfalls that lead upward to clear pools, more waterfalls and excellent vistas.
The best time to visit Cangshan Mountain is from March to May and September to November. In the spring time, travelers should take Ximatan Cableway to reach up of the mountain and you'll find azalea blossoms with different kinds of colors at the altitude of 4100 meters.
Cangshan Mountain is situated in the west of Dali Old Town and Erhai Lake. It is very popular to get from Dali Old Town to Cangshan Mountain either by bus, bike or walking.
By Bus/Taxi: No.4, 9 Bus is available from Dali Old Town to Gantong Temple Station and then walk about 2 kilometers to Lower Station of Gantong Cableway. There are direct sightseeing buses running between Dali Old Town and Ximatan Cableway / Gantong Cableway. You can also ride a taxi to the foot of Cangshan Mountain.
By Bike: Rent bicycles in the old town and get out of Cangshan Gate and ride another 1 kilometer to the foot of Cangshan Mountain.
By Walk: Get out of South Gate and walk west along Yita Road for about 1.9 kilometers or get out of Cangshan Gate (West Gate) and walk along about 1 kilometer to the footpath.
There are there cableways and many hiking trails for you to choose. Check recommended Cangshan Mountain visiting route to find your favorite travel way.
Dali Old Town is a historic town with rich culture located between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake with profound Bai culture. Wander in the old town to have leisure exploration about city gates, old towers, old streets, temples, churches, museums, shops and bars...
Erhai Lake (Ear-shaped Sea), reputed as "Pearl of Plateau", is the second largest highland lake of Yunnan. Taking a boat and cycling around the lake are fantastic ways to explore "Silver Cangshan Mountain and Jade Erhai Lake" scenery.
Three Pagodas, the symbolic building of Dali, was first built in the time of Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom in 9th and 10th century. Looking from a distance, the pagodas are like three ballpoint pens standing between the magnificent Cangshan Mountain and elegant Erhai Lake.
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Ximatan Cable Car Running Time: 08:00~17:00; Gantong Cable Car Running Time: 08:00~17:00; Zhonghe Cable Car Running Time: 09:00~16:00. These three cableways in Cangshan Mountain are belong to different companies and charged separately. You cannot use the tickets bought for one cable car to catch another one. The ticket prices for round-way trip of Gantong Cablway, Ximatan Cablway and Zhonghe Cableway are CNY 80, CNY 282 and CNY 100.
Visiting Cangshan Mountain means getting up to an altitude during 2600m~4000m. Weather is important and pay attention to the weather changes during your visit. Choose your favorite way to get up Cangshan Mountain and it is recommended to take Route Two "go up and down by Gantong Cableway". For those who want to go hiking via walkway up and hike along Jade Cloud Road, please notice the sign of indication and arrange your visiting time and route properly. And make sure your speed is not too fast and avoid strong activities. If you have any problem during the visit, please tell your local tour guide immediately.
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