A hiker’s China dream: The trails of Huangshan and Jiuzhaigou

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A hiker’s China dream: The trails of Huangshan and Jiuzhaigou

For many people, travel is a great excuse to be lazy and pampered, but for others of us, it’s a perfect opportunity to not only to get a little exercise but to do so among some of the world’s most stunning scenery and unique cultures.

We designed our Yosemite Sister Parks in China journey with the latter group in mind. This trip focuses on the natural splendor of Huangshan and Jiuzhaigou, which are sister parks of the renowned Yosemite National Park in the US.

This 13-day journey takes travelers deep into two of China’s biggest and most scenic national parks, with a focus on hiking in an around these parks with naturalist Pete Devine of Yosemite Conservancy.

Huangshan has been the subject of countless paintings and poems over the centuries and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although Huangshan’s elevation is only 6,115 feet (1,864 meters), it is much higher than the surrounding areas and offers spectacular panoramic views.

No visit to Huangshan is complete without taking in the jawdropping beauty of the North Sea Sunrise, just a 10-minute walk from our lodging, in which the sun emerges from a sea of clouds to astounding effect. But Huangshan isn’t just about peaks, we’ll explore some of the park’s lesser-known gems, including the unforgettable trails of the Xihai Grand Canyon.

Jiuzhaigou is known for its amazing iridescent pools and unblemished mountain forests. The park, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, runs through the valleys of the Min mountain range. Jiuzhaigou’s gorgeous trails wind through old growth forest covered in lichen, moss, giant ferns and rhododendrons.

But that’s just beginning. Jiuzhaigou is brimming with lakes and waterfalls. Streams and springs from the surrounding karst mountains feed the lakes with runoff that is high in calcium carbonate. This imbues the lakes with otherworldly shades of turquoise and blue and transforms fallen trees resting on the lake bottoms into what look like coral reefs. Every twist and turn of the trails in Jiuzhaigou, and nearby Huanglong which we also visit, hold new and unexpected surprises.

To balance out the active components of this journey, there is also down time to sip tea on Hangzhou’s legendary West Lake, step back in time in the picturesque town of Hongcun, view China’s ‘national treasures’ at the giant panda base at Bifengxia or set your taste buds ablaze in Chengdu.

This once-in-a-lifetime trip begins on September 14, which means if you want to join, you’ll have to book your spot by June 14. To learn more about how to experience China’s national parks differently, contact us today.

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