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Cat Mountain (Mao'er Shan) — Summit of South China

cat mountainCat Mountain, highest peak in South China

Cat Mountain is the highest mountain in South China. It got the name Cat Mountain because its stony peak looks like a huge cat. The main peak of the mountain is about 2,141 meters above sea level and is known as the "Summit of South China".

  • Chinese: 猫儿山 Māo'ér Shān /maoww-arr shan/

Only Chinese citizens have been permitted entry to the peak area in recent years, though the area around the mountain is accessible to foreigners. Recently foreigner summit access is being permitted in limited numbers for the first time in 30 years [May 2016]. Contact us for details.

Highlights of Cat Mountain

Forest Kingdom

Cat Mountain The scenery of Cat Mountain is often obscured by cloud, but then "cloud seas" are another form of scenery there.

Cat Mountain is a nature reserve. It’s home to 311 species of animals and birds (insects not included) and 2,012 kinds of plants in a primordial forest, of diverse bearded trees and bamboo groves. It's home to black bears, monkeys, giant salamanders, huge mantises, and red-tailed laughingthrushes, among many others.

Cat Mountain Nature Reserve is called "the Forest Kingdom of South China".

Sea of Azaleas

Cat Mountain is a sea of azaleas in spring and summer. 30 kinds of azaleas live among the green bushes, most notably the red-stone azaleas and color-changing azaleas. The azaleas are in full bloom in summer, blanketing the mountain and scattering along the mountainous paths, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Water Scenery

Cat Mountain is the crystal-clear source of several rivers, including the Li River (which feeds into the Pearl River), Xiang River (which feeds into the Yangtze), and Xun River (flowing west through Longsheng before feeding into the Pearl River). When the mountains are reflected in the rivers it’s a paradise on earth.

Giant Salamander at Cat Mountain in GuilinGiant Salamanders, one of the amazing species that are best to see in China, are kept at Yunfeng Pavilion Resort on Cat Mountain.

Dragon's Pool Waterfall (龙潭瀑布 Long Tan Pubu) has a pool 13 meters deep like precious jade.

Popular summer resorts are dotted by the rushing streams and bamboo groves, where wooden buildings mimic the style of old Chinese tea rooms. It is like the scenery of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, where visitors can forget modern society and enjoy the romance of old China.

Paleoanthropological Site

Surround by streams on three sides and Yapo Mountain on the other, Darangtun Paleoanthropological Site is 500 meters south of Tongren Village in Cat Mountain Nature Reserve. Ancient stone tools, such as stone axes and stone swords, were unearthed there, showing that human beings lived there since the New Stone Age.

Best Time to Go

Azaleas on Cat MountainAzaleas on Cat Mountain

The best time to go is spring and summer, when you will see azaleas blanketing its slopes, and clouds shrouding its peaks when it rains. Fall offers breathtaking red leaves, and winter memorable snow scenes.

The climate differs dramatically up on the mountain. It's highly changeable, with more frequent rain, strong gusts, fog, high UV, and cold spells even in the summer. Bring warm clothes, windproofs, and waterproofs, and sun protection for clearer times. See Guilin Weather.


There is a 4-star hotel just 1.2 km (¾ mile) from the summit (云峰阁度假酒店 Yunfeng Pavilion Resort). Room prices start from 400 yuan at quieter times, and 500–600 at weekends and holidays (with breakfast).

Yunfeng Pavilion ResortYunfeng Pavilion Resort

Camping near the summit is possible too: 100 yuan to pitch your own tent or to rent a 2-person tent; 160 yuan for 3-person tent rental.

Hotels and rural resorts at the mountain foot range from 100 to 400 yuan for a room. There are some beautiful guesthouse resorts by cascading rivulets.

Travel Essentials

  • Location: northwest Xing’an County, the mountain foot is about 90 kilometers north of Guilin,
  • Open: 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Entry: 60 yuan/person, 100 yuan/car
Mao'er Shan Shuttle BusesMao'er Shan Shuttle Buses


  • Direct buses from Qunzhong Road, Beiji Square (北极广场 /bay-jee gwung-chung/), Guilin go to Cat Mountain from 10:30 to 15:30.
  • By car it's about 2½ hours to the mountain foot from Guilin, with some winding potholed sections of road.
  • Shuttle buses provide access to the summit (included in the entry ticket). The 2-hour journey up includes stops at Lingering Dragon Temple, the WWII Flying Tigers Memorial, and the primordial forest. The trip down is 1 hour.

Nearby Attractions

  • An hour further north on the S202 is Bajiao Zhai Geological Park with its peculiar purple pinnacles.
  • 2,000-year-old Ling Canal, China's second greatest canal, is also in Xing'an County.
  • Families especially may be interested in the rides and fun at Xing'an's Merryland.

We Can Help You Access Cat Mountain

As part of a Guilin tour we can tailor in a visit to Mao'er Shan. It is particularly recommended for nature lovers and birders, and we have an expert guide to help you discover the wonders of Cat Mountain.

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