4 Trails in China to Prepare You for Everest

If you’re a hiking enthusiast, then you know that searching for the next trail can be like an obsession, the need to challenge yourself more. If you think Everest is still out of reach, why not start with some challenging trails in the same environment that will give you a taste of what it’s like to climb Everest?


China is full of incredible trails with breathtaking views. There are trails that will test your strength and stamina, and others that will put you head to head with your fears. Let’s see four of these beasts below!


Located in the Shaanxi province, this death-defying mountain trail was originally used in the 3rd and 4th centuries by monks, nuns, and pilgrims who carved stairs into the rock. In some parts, you would need to hold on to a vertical rock, with hundreds of meters of free-fall if you’re very unlucky with your steps. It remains one of the most fear-inspiring and dangerous trails in China today. The sheer drops off the cliff’s side leave you clinging to the rock, fearing for dear life as you make your way up this trail.  This trek will test your balance, your nerves, and your resistance to fear. See the video below for the view from the “plank walk.”

At the end of your adventure, at the top of the southern-most peak of Hua Mountain, there’s a temple which offers tea to anyone who braves to get thus far. Things that are difficult to get taste better, so this cup of tea will probably be your favorite one in China.


This trail to the 4122-meter summit of Cang Mountain in Dali offers beautiful views of forests, bamboo groves and clear water lake nearby.

Because of the challenging nature and high altitude of this trail, you will find only a few people along the way as you trek. With an average hike length of three days, you will have plenty of time to take in the sights. Travel up to the summit from the village of YangBi, then follow the ridge of the mountain at high altitude and eventually make your way back down, enjoying breathtaking views the whole way.


Source: Nomadasaurus

For those less interested in challenges of a long trek, there is now a chairlift which can take them very near the peak. This trail is ideal for fall and spring so as to avoid the rainy season, although if you are well equipped and want to make it a bit more interesting, winter can provide some snowy fun along the way.

Combined Hike: WenHai to Tiger Leaping Gorge

Say goodbye to danger and hello to exhaustion. This hike will lead you through three different famous trails, and will total 7 or 8 days of trekking, depending on how fast you go. Beginning in Wenhai, you will go through thick marshlands and continue to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, a 5,500-meter summit. Continuing through the high altitude, you will meet the local minority group of the Yi people. You may be able to pitch your tent with them to sleep.

tiger leaping gorge

After making your descent down to the shores of the Yangtse River, you can continue the hike to Tiger Leaping Gorge. This is a well known 2-day hike that rises 2500 meters and then descends all the way back down to the river once more.


This incredible trek leads you deep into one of the most remote parts of Tibet. Until recently, the whole county was not even accessible by cars. The trail to Motuo, otherwise known as Pemako, is virtually unknown and can take up to 9 days to traverse. The difficulties are intense, such as harsh conditions and extremely high altitude, but the result is worth it. You will see this beautiful area that is dotted with snow from a unique angle that will test your stamina and strength to its very limit.  This is the ultimate test before hiking Everest.

Source: CCTV English

Source: CCTV English

Above, we’ve discussed four incredible trails. But there are many more! China’s mountainous landscapes and different ecosystems across the country provide endless opportunities to find and explore new hiking trails.

What’s your favorite hiking trail in China? Share your thoughts in comments!

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Cez Krol

Travel blogger at eTramping
Cez lives in China like a local for the past 4 years. Apart from speaking the language, he loves to discover more about this unique country of extreme contrasts. He shares his China experiences here at Sublime China and on his blog eTramping, so go and check out what's out there for you in China.
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