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How to Plan a Day Tour in the Tianmen Mountain Park?

Tianmen Mountain in ZhangJiaJie

There is a smart itinerary for Tianmen Mountain. As for us, unfortunately, we were not able to do everything, because we we were late and missed the escalators to Tianmen Cave (open until 4 pm). But no regrets, because the most beautiful part of the trip is a magnificent view of the mountains, covered with a fog, and the feeling of standing on a cliff in the clouds surrounded by natural beauty and tranquility.

We were very lucky, because it was rain almost the whole day. I am not kidding. First of all, a lot of people don’t like walking under the rain. During Chinese holidays (May, 1-3), it literally saves the day. Secondly, it was wonderful to see mountains all covered with clouds

1.Go up on top of the mountain using Tianmen Mountain Cableway.
Don’t get out at the middle station, go up to the top.

2. Walk on numerous trails on the top of Tianmen Mountain.
To get around the whole mountain you need to go at least 7 km. Many paths are balconies on the rocks, beneath which there are clouds and steep mountain rocks. Other paths go through еру forest, which is part of the Tianmen Scenic Area. There are many options how to get around, we have chosen the path along the outer edge.

If you don’t want to walk that much you can use Forest Sightseeing Cable Car (25 RMB) that brings you straight to Tianmen Temple.

Walking around the mountain, don’t forget to do the following:

  • Admire the views from The Glass Sky Walk.
  • Look at the Buddhist Tianmen Temple, which looks more like a monastery.
  • Look at Heaven’s Gate Cave (Tianmen Cave) from the top point.
  • And, of course, make a million beautiful photos.

3. Use escalators to go down to Heaven’s Gate Cave.
The main thing is don’t lose time. Escalators works until 4 pm. So be careful with long distances. Sometimes it’s not easy to calculate how long it will take the path becase the road is not flat all the time, it’s a mountainous terrain.

4. Go down to the bottom of Tianmen Cave down the stairs with 999 steps.
Those for whom the 999 steps is an insurmountable obstacle, can take advantage of the lifts on the left side of the mountain.

5. Go down from the mountains by bus along the famous Avenue Leading to the Sky.

If you have a car sickness, it would be better to take some pills in advance or take Tianmen Mountain Cableway instead of a bus.

The Map
Here is a map of Tiianmen Mountain Park, which gives a fairly accurate idea of what it is and helps to think about a suitable route.

The entrance ticket costs 258 RMB and includes a ascent up to the mountain on Tianmen Mountain Cableway.

Operating hours of Tianmen Mountain Cableway:
Spring-Summer-Autumn (Mar 1st – Nov 30th)

Ascend: 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Descend: 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM 4.2)
Winter (Dec 1st – Feb 28th)

Ascend: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Descend: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Tianmen Mountain Facilities

The first thing I want to say is that the lower station of the cableway is not a small booth, but a serious building with a variety of services for tourists, including a storage room. In our case it was really important, because walking all day with a backpack is not a pleasure.

At the top of the mountain there are several points where you can go to the bathroom and buy some food. We bought some snacks on the street. In general there are not a lot of facilities on the mountain. Some people prefer to buy something in the city and bring it to the mountain.

You can find toilets and food location on this map.

Best Times to Visit

April to October is the golden time to travel to Tianmen Mountain, as the temperature during this period is moderate and comfortable. Choose September for drier weather, while there is still warmth at the peaks.
December to February is the best time to appreciate snow scenery on the mountain, and also for snow photography.
The temperature difference between the foot and top of the mountain is large, so bringing some thick clothes to keep warm is necessary.

The scenery is best on clear days. On rainy days there is usually thick fog (cloud) over the mountains, which covers everything. Mists are usually heavy if it rains the day before. The mountains in mist are a mystical scene, so there is an upside to the cloudiness.

How to Get to Tianmen Mountain?

Tianmenshan Park is located 7 km away from Zhangjiajie city. The lower station of Tianmen Mountain Cableway (Tianmenshan Suodao) is in walking distance from the train station and Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station.

Good to Know

  • The tour requires a lot of walking, including 6 kilometers of easy walking along the cliff walkway and 999 steep steps.
  • Long lines: As the mountain is very famous among Chinese travelers, expect to see large and noisy crowds.
  • The red ribbons along the walkway: The Chinese hang them for special (superstitious) reasons. But these red colors really upset the harmony of the natural greens and grays.
  • No English is spoken and there are no English signs, so it is not easy to find the way in such a big park if you travel alone.
  • The fight for a seat in the tourist bus up to the cave is not something Westerners are used to.

zhangjiajie Tour-glass bridge

General Information

  • Place: Tianmenshan National Forest Park (天门山森林区).
  • Location:just south of Zhangjiajie city, Hunan province, China.
  • Height: 1,519 meters (4,983 feet).
  • Mountain Tourist Area: 10 square kilometers (4 square miles).
  • Ticket: 258 RMB.
  • Open: 8.00 am – 6 pm.
  • Time for visit: 1 day.
  • Best time for visit: september, october.
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