Hiking in Zhangjiajie: Best Hiking Trails

Hiking in Zhangjiajie is challenging yet sheer delight.

Zhangjiajie has the most impressive mountain scenery on Earth - quartz and sandstone peaks that rear into the clouds, “floating Avatar Hallelujah Mountain”, some of the world’s most thrilling glass skywalks, deep-cut canyons, thousand-old temples on mountaintop, and rich forest and wildlife. All makes Zhangjiajie one of the best places to hike in China.

Where is the best place to hike in Zhangjiajie? What are the best hiking trails/routes that Zhangjaijie deliver? Is Zhangjiajie National Forest Park hard to hike? We have all answers all you in this article.

>> 6-day Zhangjiajie Hiking Tour

Zhangjiajie hiking

1. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Hiking

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is tremendous and has a handful of hiking trails for different skill level. You can enjoy easy, moderate and strenuous hikes within the park.

The popular hikes include Yuanjiajie Avatar Scenic Area, Yangjiajie, Golden Whip Stream, Tianzi Mountain, 10 Mile Gallery, and Huang Shi Village.

It usually take 3 days for hiking Zhangjiajie National Forest Park for for its best tails. And (if needed) the shuttle bus and cable car can help you move from one spot to another to save much time and strength.

Yuanjiajie & Avatar Mountain Hiking

Yuanjiajie is inarguably the highlight of Zhangjiajie, and also for Zhangjiajie hiking.

When you get to Wulingyuan entrance, take a free shuttle bus to Water Winding Four Gates (水绕四门). Catch Bailong Elevator -- world’s tallest outdoor elevator -- taking in the views all the way up to Yuanjiajie. At the top, start your Yuanjiajie hiking adventure, with about 2-hour walking around the Ecstasy Terrace (迷魂台) , Hallelujah Mountain (哈利路亚山) and the Greatest Natural Bridge (天下第一桥).

Keep hiking for about 1.5 hours to the Backyard Garden (后花园), and Getting Together From Far Away (千里相会), the middle part of Golden Whip Stream. Here you hike about 1 hour to get back to Water Winding Four Gates, and catch the shuttle bus back to Wulingyuan entrance.

Altitude: 500 - 1000m

Suggested hiking routes: Wulingyuan Entrance → Shui Rao Si Men (水绕四门) → Bailong Elevator →  Ecstasy Terrace (迷魂台) → Hallelujah Mountain (哈利路亚山) → Greatest Natural Bridge (天下第一桥) → Backyard Garden (后花园) →Getting Together From Far Away (千里相会) → Wulingyuan Entrance

Time needed: 5 - 6 hours

Hiking difficulty: ★★

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park hiking

Yangjiajie Hiking

For serious hikers, you should not miss Yangjiajie, where ravines crisscross, streams are clear, waterfalls plunge hundreds of feet, and lush vegetation cover up to 95%.

Hop on a shuttle bus from Yuanjiajie to Yangjiajie. After the 20-min ride, start hiking today, for the first stop - the Natural Great Wall (天然长城), then Wulong Village (乌龙寨), and Tianbo Mansion (天波府). Here turn back and hike to Air Corridor (空中走廊) and One Step To Heaven (一步登天). Finally, descent the mountain.

Hiking in Yangjiajie also include a vertical iron ladder.

If you are looking for a challenging hike in Zhangjiajie, it is a great idea to combine Yuanjiajie and Yangjiajie together in one day, to hike for like 7 to 9 hours.

Altitude: 500 - 1000m

Suggested hiking routes: Yuanjiajie → Natural Great Wall (天然长城) → Wulong Village (乌龙寨) →Tianbo Mansion (天波府) → One Step To The Heaven (一步登天) → Forest Park Ticket Station

Time needed: 5-6 hours

Hiking difficulty:★★

Tianzi Mountain

Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve is located in the northwest of Wulingyuan. It is a natural zoo and botanical garden with ancient sub-subtropical forests. Hiking Zhangjiajie Tianzi Mountain, you will walk through the sea of clouds.

At Wulingyuan entrance, ride the bus bound for Ten Mile Natural Gallery (十里画廊). Start hiking along the trail of the Ten Mile Natural Gallery (or catch a sighting bus that costs ¥28). When you see Three Sisters Peak (三姐妹), turn right, and start climbing the mountain. The trail is lush, green, and a bit slippery, while the views of the Pagoda Tower Peak and the Xihai Peak Forest are gorgeous.

Make your way to Tianzi Pavilion (天子阁) for the full view of Tianzi Mountain. Keep hiking for 2-3 hours to view Imperial Brush Peak (御笔峰), Yunqing Rock (云青岩), and other peaks.

Altitude: 500 - 1200m

Suggested hiking routes: Wulingyuan Ticket Office → Ten-mile Natural Gallery (十里画廊) →Three Sisters Peak (三姐妹) → Tianzi Pavilion (天子阁) → Imperial Brush Peak (御笔峰) → Yunqing Rock (云青岩) → Emperor’s Throne (天子座) → Tianzi Pavilion (天子阁) → Southern Heavenly Gate (南天门) → Tianzi Mountain Cable Car Upper Station → Wulingyuan Ticket Station

Time needed: 7 - 8 hours

Hiking difficulty: ★★★

Hiking Zhangjiajie Tianzi Mountain

Golden Whip Stream (Optional Huangshizhai Add-on)

Named after the golden Whip Rock, this 7,500-meter-long hiking trail runs through Zhangjiajie National Forest Park from west to east with picturesque scenery on both sides, and is reputed as "the most beautiful canyon in the world".

It takes about 2-3 hours to hike golden Whip Stream, however, you shall not stop, but continue to Huangshizhai. It will take another 2-3 hours from the entrance to the trail up to the top of Huangshizhai.

You can walk down from Huangshizhai (1 hour) or take a cable car.

Altitude: 600 - 1000m

Suggested hiking routes: Golden Whip Stream → Yellowstone Village (Huangshizhai)

Time needed: 2 - 3 or 5 - 7 hours

Hiking difficulty: ★★

2. Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park Hiking

Tianmen Mountain is one of the best places in China to be for thrilling glass skywalks and for hiking as well. However, there is not trails for hiking up and down. So take Tianmen Mountain cable way (or shuttle bus) to the top, and then enjoy your adventurous hiking along the breathtaking, narrow, cliffside trails, like stepping into a serene world for those Chinese immortal.

Suggested hiking routes:

Route A: Tianmen Mountain Cable Car Upper Station → West Line → East Line →Tianmen Cave → 99 Bends Sightseeing Bus

Route B: 99 Bends Sightseeing Bus → Tianmen Cave →East Line → West Line → Tianmen Mountain Cable Car Upper Station

Time needed: 6 - 7 hours

Hiking difficulty: ★★★

>>5-day Zhangjiajie Adventure Tour with Tianmen Mountain

Tianmen Mountain hiking

3. Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Hiking

Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon is quite different with ZJJ National Forest Park or Tianmen Mountain -- without the pinnacle peaks, but famous for the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge, which is claimed to be the highest and longest one of its kind the world.

The hiking trails in this area are diverse, leading you to valleys, steams, cliff-hanging walkways.

Altitude: 400m

Suggested hiking routes: Grand Canyon Entrance → ZJJ Glass Bridge → Rainbow Square (彩虹广场) → Cliff-hanging Walkways (天悬栈道) → God Springs Lake (神泉湖) - Exit

Time needed: 4 - 5 hours

Hiking difficulty: ★★

Best time to hike in Zhangjiajie

Spring (April till May) and autumn (September till October) are the best times to hike in Zhangjiajie.

In spring, Zhangjiajie is full of vitality. Hike your way to breath the fresh air and discover wild flowers in full bloom.

In autumn, the forest parks are dyed with more colors. Hike in comfortable and cool weather with gentle winds.

Relatively speaking, summer is hot and rainy, but still a good time for Zhangjiajie hiking.

Keep reading:

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  • Best Great Wall Hiking Routes
  • Hiking in China: 6 Best Hiking Trails with Views
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