Huashan Trail – World’s Most Dangerous Hiking Trail

Situated just 120 kilometers East of Xi’an City, in Shaanxi province, Huashan is one of China’s five sacred mountains and one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s appreciated for the beautiful natural scenery and the ancient Taoist temples, but Huashan is most famous for the dangerous hiking trail to the summit.


Known as the “Number One Precipitous Mountain under Heaven”, Mount Huashan proudly lives up to its reputation through its incredibly dangerous hiking trail. That’s what you have to keep in mind if you plan to tackle this beast: Huashan Trail is not about mountain-climbing but hiking. As such, you don’t get to use special equipment that could save your life – it’s just you, the mountain and if you think ahead, a pair of gloves.


The people who accept the mountain’s hiking challenge are usually young daredevils using this opportunity to show-off their “mad skills”; unfortunately many of them have fatal accidents. Although many speak of around 100 deadly accidents on the Huashan Trail every year, “thanks” to Chinese censorship there are no official records of any such incidents.


Huashan Mountain has five peaks, which when looked from a certain angle make the mountain look like a flower (“hua” in Chinese). There’s the East Peak (Facing Sun Peak), Middle Peak (Jade Maiden Peak), West Peak (Lotus Peak), North Peak (Cloud Terrace Peak) and the South Peak, the tallest and most dangerous of them all. If you’re brave and lucky enough to reach its summit you are rewarded with an incredible view of the whole mountain complex.


The most perilous part of the Huashan Trail is considered to be the “Changong Zhandao” a 13 feet long, 1 foot wide plank path along a vertical cliff, where just one false step means falling in the abyss below. There is also a chain around the cliff so, if you plan to take this path, pack a mountain-climbing harness and strap yourself to the chain. There are also portions of the trail where climbers only have a chain and some foot-holds in the rock as support.


The steep, practically vertical Heaven Stairs are no breeze to climb either, if someone were to slip and tumble down the people behind him would be in terrible danger as well, because the staircase is very narrow.

Recent reports say the Chinese authorities have made considerable progress in making the Huashan Trail safer. Perhaps they’ve realized it was too dangerous for people that didn’t have the proper physical condition to pass certain parts of the pass. Extreme weather conditions don’t make a traverse any easier either.


If you want to skip the harrowing Huashan Trail ordeal, you can just take one of the cable-cars directly to the North Peak and enjoy the breathtaking view. Then again, you won’t be able to brag about conquering the world’s most dangerous hiking trail.

Looking at the photos and the video I can’t help wondering how they managed to build that plank path and what happened to the people who built it…

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

47 Comments for "Huashan Trail – World’s Most Dangerous Hiking Trail"

goldie says on August 5th, 2008 at 9:50 pm:

that looks terrifying.

MJW says on August 6th, 2008 at 12:01 am:

Sod that…

elaine says on August 6th, 2008 at 6:05 am:

I’m glad somebody posted these top dangerous trails to hike. Now i’m looking forward to a nice breezy hike!!!

Klaus von Mahr says on August 6th, 2008 at 8:05 am:

Really. Totally without safety-gear :: count me in.

Kim says on August 6th, 2008 at 1:50 pm:

Thanks for this posting. That looks out of this world!

Jeshii says on August 8th, 2008 at 5:12 am:

OMFG… There is a mountain called Mt. Myogi in Gunma, Japan where they have chains for these vertical climbs… but this looks even worse.

paul says on August 19th, 2008 at 4:13 am:

I went here yesterday, climbed every peak. Ive climbed more dangerous trails in the Peak District!

I think either this trail was never this dangerous, or the authorities have recently altered it. It was nothing but simple concrete steps and paths, no danger, no challenge, and full of tourists, gift shops, and hawkers.

Beautiful place, but very disapointing in light of the information on the internet proclaiming it the “worlds most dangerous hike”

Benudhar says on August 23rd, 2008 at 3:40 pm:

Oh , It is a very dangerious climbing.

Leifur says on August 25th, 2008 at 11:39 am:

Comparing photos 2 and 3 (as well as pictures posted elsewhere) seems to indicate a recent change – the addition of arrangements for “via ferrata” safety harnesses. If you look creafully you’ll see narrow wires, that’s where you wood hook yourself in with one of two hooks (so one is always attached). In photo 2 there are no such wires, it’s presumably an older picture.

pacdot says on September 1st, 2008 at 7:06 am:

Totally wicked!! how i wish i could experience this grand

pacdot says on September 1st, 2008 at 7:08 am:

yeah, u are right! where is the lifeline in picture 2?

DNA says on September 19th, 2008 at 1:50 pm:

Hi. I am planning to go to Huashan this Nov. Did you stay at the top of the mountain? Which “hotel” did you stay at and is there a hot shower available? Thanks in advance.

Dean says on January 28th, 2009 at 5:51 am:

those mountains look absolutly stunning.. dangerous or not, i think i would go there just for a little thrill with a lot of sight seeing.

tim says on February 18th, 2009 at 12:43 am:

lol that is sad
i wouldn’t go there
the camera men or women r in even more danger then the climbers

Littlemonk says on March 6th, 2009 at 9:32 am:

The information presented as “most dangerous hiking trail in the world” is fictitious, if not just plain wrong. Search the web for more info, people, and stop being so gullible…

Irving says on April 25th, 2009 at 5:00 pm:

I did this hike last summer.
It’s not really that dangerous- although the cloud path was pretty intense nonetheless.

It’s worth going just for the beauty though- it was magnificent.

Mike says on May 25th, 2009 at 12:06 pm:

There’s no cable in picture 2 because there’s no cable in that bit. Not before or now and probably never. The cable is only on the second part. As for how you clip yourself into a chain, god only knows.

Revatman says on May 30th, 2009 at 9:51 pm:

holy cr!p.

mike4adventure says on August 13th, 2009 at 5:47 am:

For the Foolz that say this hike is not dangerous, I have some bad news for you , you took the wrong trail!!!!!!
There are 3 trails 1 easy and tons of people just stairs ect, second is pretty much the same, BUT THE THIRD IS LIKE THE PICS !!! SCARY
and this is coming from an exteme sports junky!!

Mike Spencer says on September 4th, 2009 at 8:51 pm:

The second picture appears to be an older one before they installed the safety lines. That is a very popular picture that is widely circulated on the Internet. The second to the last picture is a pavillion that is being viewed from the East east peak of HuaShan. I have a video posting on YouTube of my recent HuaShan plank walk at:

Ben Dan says on January 21st, 2010 at 8:16 pm:

I nearly soiled myself just looking at the pictures

white says on March 2nd, 2010 at 2:29 pm:

another spot spolit by white wankers. You white fuck should really get out of Asia

asian says on June 17th, 2010 at 1:38 pm:

sure just as soon as you asian fucks get out of america, europe and oceania.

Dr.Richard says on February 21st, 2011 at 3:05 am:

The hike to the south peak is very very dangerous, and I dont see how they can make it even a little safer, unless they strung a net clear around the mountain.

Okan Esmer says on June 23rd, 2011 at 9:54 pm:

I think it’s not dangerous so much if ı would be there ı would climb that mountain and my dad has been there three years ago but he hasn’t liked there he is very exciting man and he doesn’t think this mountain is dangerous

thea says on October 6th, 2012 at 5:49 am:

looks heavenly, especially 2nd to last pic.

Aron sherry says on April 23rd, 2013 at 4:10 pm:

I did the south peak cliff side pass yesterday and it was scary but not dangerous. There is a safety line to attached your cables onto all along the way plus chains to hold. It’s very safe so probably not the most dangerous around. If you’re scared of heights it would be terrifying but if you’re not then its a really fun climb. I highly recommend it

Ron says on January 12th, 2014 at 1:31 pm:

Fun to hike. Met lots of great people there. Was 52 at the time and did all 5 peaks in a long afternoon. Spectacular views!!!


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