With some of the most fascinating and unusual scenery in the world, trekking in certain areas of China can feel like a journey through your inner being as much as a journey through the landscape, stepping into another realm of existence, an effect long noted by Taoist poets and artists.

The mountains of Huangshan, in Anhui Province and Sanqingshan just across the border in Jiangxi, arguably provide the most stunning walks the planet has to offer, characterised by deliciously strange rock formations that will playfully convince you that you are in another world, while providing you with some very satisfying walking alongside stunning vistas and dizzyingly steep drops, a feature exploited in both settings by the awesome cliff walkways. Weekends in Huangshan are best avoided, however, as the mountain can become very crowded with day-trippers.

Another worthy hike in the Anhui area, a little to the east in Jixi County, is the shapely ancient caravan trail of Huihang.


The phantasmagorical shapes of these locations are ably complemented by a trekking excursion of the Wulingyuan area of Hunan Province, another area of seemingly impossible geology, so profoundly strange and thought-provoking that, together with some of the features of Huangshan and Sanqingshan, they form the visual basis upon which the digital fantasy world of Pandora was created for the ground-breaking Avatar film.

Also in common with Huangshan and Sanquingshan, some of the trails feature breathtaking steep drops and deliciously scary walkways, providing you can enjoy the views without psychological complications.

One of China’s most famous and evocative landscapes is that of Guilin, in Guangxi Province, which provides very satisfying scenic walks along the Li and Yulong Rivers, and upward trails to explore the landscapes, stunningly picturesque Longji ‘Dragon’s Backbone’ Rice Terraces, and ethnic minorities who inhabit this beautiful region.

In Sichuan Province, Jiuzhaigou National Park is a particularly pleasant area for walking, and is prized for the deep colours of its lakes, a feature which found its way into the lenses of the film ‘Hero’, with numerous lakes, waterfalls and pretty Tibetan villages and wildlife to explore.

The remote ancient historic town of Lijiang is the focal point for walks along the Tiger Leaping Gorge and the nearby Jade Dragon Snow Mountain offers splendid scenery and an experience of the ancient Naxi culture.

Of all the treks in the world, for some, the opportunity to stand in justifiable awe at the foot of Everest’s mighty north face is a once in a lifetime mission. A road will get you to within a few miles of the peak, but the remaining trek can nevertheless be strenuous, not so much for any inherent difficulties, but because of its altitude of over 5,000 metres which requires a few days of acclimatisation.


Hiking the sections of Great Wall north of Beijing is a great and scenic challenge, following your way along this stone dragon as it writhes over the ridges, giving superlative views over the landscape and breathing in the frontier history of Ancient China.