Cangshan Mountain is a high mountain rising above the city of Dali in the southern province of Yunnan that borders Vietnam. It is a scenic spot and a good hiking area where hikers may bring tents. There are 18 peaks on this mountain that are all over 3,500 meters in altitude, and the highest summit named Malong is 4,122 meters (13，524 feet) high. The mountain is next to a blue lake called Erhai. The mountain is noted for its very rich and diverse flora. The local government has designated it as a scenic area. Travel up the mountain is easy. There is cable car up the mountain, and a road connects various sites of interest. On Cangshan Mountain, the ecological zones are obvious. There are more than 3,000 kinds of plants on the mountain. The mountain is a highlight of the Dali area, with numerous springs, ponds and waterfalls, beautiful scenery, hiking trails, a range of ecological zones with thousands of plant species, and scenic views of lakes and the city of Dali.
Nature enthusiasts will be amply rewarded by 5 beautiful highlights of Cangshan Mountain - clouds, snow, moon, peaks and streams. There are 18 famous steams on Cangshan Mountain that dash over waterfalls and rapids, and there are numerous ponds. On the western side of the mountain, there is a river called the Black Hui River. The high mountains produce a show of interesting clouds. The local people even have names for specific kinds of clouds that appear at various seasons, such as “jade belt clouds” and “husband expecting cloud.” The highest peak is covered with snow all year around. Since there is a range of ecological zones on the mountain, there is a rich variety of plant species. If you take the cable car, you’ll be carried over a deep green forest. Lake Erhai on the east side of the mountain is a blue long and narrow lake with an area of 250 square kilometers. The beauty of the moon reflecting on the lake is called a “Cangshan Beauty.”
Cangshan Mountain is known as a backpacker haven. If you want to hike, the hike up the mountain takes about two or three hours. Whether you take the cable car or hike up the mountain, it is advisable to visit Zhonghe Temple. There is a restaurant there, stores for supplies, and a beautiful view of Erhai Lake. Trails branch out from the temple and go to various spots where you may see streams, peaks, forests, waterfalls, and temples. For those looking for a leisurely hike, the Cloud Pass is an easy choice. The stone path is fairly flat and winds around several peaks, several waterfalls, and three temples. There are also side trails near the waterfalls that lead to clear pools, waterfalls and beautiful areas. The Cloud Pass path stretches about 20 kilometers. You can’t lose your way because there are trail signs and many other hikers.
The best time to hike on Cangshan Mountain is late summer and early autumn so as to avoid the rainy season. Since the weather is changeable, it is advisable to bring some warm clothes whenever you hike in the area.
The mountain is also noted for its fine marble. There are quarries on the mountain, and craftsmen create marble articles that are known in China and around the world. The marble often has intricate patterns like flowers or like stripes like the planet Jupiter. Marble objects of art and craftsmanship may be bought in Dali. They are actually amazingly beautiful. The marble has unusual colors such as red, yellow, and jade-green, and some of the marble is stripped and spotted in a variety of colors. Cangshan marble is famous in China. For some reason, the Chinese word for marble is Dalishi which literally means “Dali stone.”
There are many Buddhist temples in the area. They include the Three Towers of Chongsheng Temple, Buddhist Picture Tower, Inaction Temple, Taoxi Zhonghe Temple, Nine Dragon Virgin Pool, Three Pools of Clear Green Temple, Three Pagodas and Enlightenment Temple. The famous Three Pagodas are only about a kilometer from the ancient city of Dali. They were built by a Nanzhou Kingdom King during the period of the Tang Dynasty. The Three Pagodas are one of China’s best preserved ancient Buddhist structures of that era. The central pagoda is over 1000 years old.
From the old sector of Dali, one can simply hike up the mountain for two or three hours to reach Zhonghe temple. From there, trails branch off to the rest of the mountain. There is a cable car from the ancient sector to the top of Zhonghe peak and Zhonghe temple. The cable car is a half hour ride. You may also go on horseback from Dali. A tourist road has been built to connect all the spots in the area. Following the road, travelers can easily reach every attraction. A tourist road has been built to connect all the attractions in the area. On the road, travel on the mountain is easy.
1. Cangshan Mountain is famous for marble products. Marble arts and souvenirs could be bought in Dali.
2. The bird’s eye view of the ancient city and Erhai Lake from a high elevation is fantastic.
3. It's advisable to take a cable car up Cangshan Mountain unless you want exercise.
I updated this article on November 5, 2012
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