With 19 peaks and 18 streams, the Cangshan Mountain is a national geological park lying west of Dali Ancient City, in Yunnan province, southwest China.
Spanning 48 kilometres from North to South and 18 kilometres from West to East, it boasts the elegant Erhai Lake, attracting tourists from all over the globe.
The mountain peaks are overgrown with primeval forests while the refreshed springs and streams are filled with crystal-clear waters and refreshing waterfalls.
Cangshan Mountain’s main peak is famously known as Malongfeng. Soaring to a height of 4,122 metres (13,524 feet), it faces the immense sky with its top covered in dazzling snow all year long.
The snow is one of the four renowned top scenes in Dali City, alongside the wind, the flowers and the moon. Mist usually lays over the snowcapped mountain peaks, giving visitors a unique view and sensation of both mystery and magnificence.
Besides the mountain, the area is a great place to enjoy the calm of the Erhai Lake and the history of Dali Ancient Town as well.
Cable cars are just perfect to have an overview of the scenery, but if you’re into sports you can also go on a hike. You might take one of the cable cars up to the so-called Cloud Traveler’s Path, hike along the way to enjoy the views from the mountainside and then take another cable car down to the foot of the mountain.
This will be even more beautiful when Spring arrives, especially from March to May, as the mountain is filled with all sorts of flowers. Among these, the blooming azaleas, with their striking colours, are the most eye-catching.
1. Cloud Traveler’s Path (Jade-Cloud Road)
The Cloud Traveler’s Path, also known as Jade Cloud Road, is a flat, paved walking path, located at an altitude of 2600 metres on the Cangshan Mountain.
The famous ‘Jade Cloud’ usually appears in the late summer and early autumn and there is a sort of a ‘Jade Belt’ floating over the nineteen peaks of Cangshan Mountain.
The 11.5-kilometre Jade-Cloud Road runs along the mountain and is a good place to enjoy uninterrupted views over Erhai Lake and the Dali Ancient Town, while taking in a breath of fresh air. It begins at Matong Peak, passing the Dragon Stream, and carries on through the Yuju Peak, and the Green Jade Stream, until you reach the Guanyin Peak and Meixi Stream. Altogether, you can see six mountain peaks and five streams.
The path is not difficult to hike since most of the time you'll be on concrete steps and paths. Hence why it is so popular for travellers who choose to get around by cable car or hiking.
2. Gantong Temple
The Gantong Temple, or simply Tangshan Temple, is located on the southern slope of the Shengying Peak of Mount Cangshan, just five kilometres south of the Dali Ancient City.
The temple faces the Erhai Lake and its back faces the snow-covered Mount Cangshan in the South. It was built in the early years of the State of Nanzhao (early ninth century). Even though it has been well preserved, its drum no longer survives. This temple is appreciated in Southwest China for its quiet environment, imposing halls and numerous ceremonies.
3. Xima Tan (The Horse-washing Pond】
Xima Tan lies between the Yuju and Zhonghe peaks of Mount Cangshan. It is 4,000 metres above sea level and is a high-altitude pond of the Quaternary Period, known as the ‘mountain lake.’
In fact, from Xima Pond to the top, it is more than 20 metres. Within the famous Mount Cangshan ponds, Xima Tan, with its high altitude, water quality and unique characteristics, gradually became a famous alpine lake with beautiful scenery, delighting locals and tourists alike.
4. Ximatan Cableway
The Ximatan Cableway is the longest of its kind in the area, with a length of 5,555 metres (18,225 feet). It takes you to an altitude of about 4,000 metres (13,123 feet) in the blink of an eye.
It boasts a mid-way station, where you can get off to take some pictures. The whole journey is no longer than 40 minutes, offering an excellent opportunity to relax. Beware if it is too windy, as you might have to end your journey early at the mid-way station.
You will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the Dali Ancient Town and the Erhai Lake and see different mountain scenes: from pine forests and alpine lakes to patches of snow.
Eryuan County, Dali, Yunnan, China,
1) Bus: Take the bus C2 or C10 from Dali Ancient Town to the Cangshan Mountains
2) Taxi: Take a taxi for 15 minutes from Dali Ancient Town
2. The best time to visit is during March, April, May and October
3. Experience: hiking and cable car