Emei Shan: A Sacred Mountain Southwest of Chengdu


Today we are hiking on Emei Shan, a mountain southwst of Chengdu that has been considered sacred by Buddhists for nearly 2000 years. The mountain rises to 3,099 meters (10,167 ft.), and we will not be climbing anywhere near the top, but instead we will enjoy the lush forest and botanic diversity on its lower slopes. It is said that 10% of all China's plant species are found on this mountain.


There are numerous trails all over the mountain, and at least at these lower altitudes they all seem to be paved with expertly fitted flagstones. There are also many temples, which provide rooms and meals for hikers in addition to their religious functions.


The Pure Music Pavilion (Qingyin Ge) is very close to where we begin our hike.

Looking out from pavilion

Looking out from the Pure Music Pavilion (Qingyin Ge).

Narrow canyon

Passing through a narrow canyon.

Monkeys at bridge

At the Joking Monkey Zone we are held up by bridge trolls, who demand edible tributes for allowing us to pass.


For some of the smaller monkeys a good strategy to get treats is to look cute and hopeful.




And then there are the incorrigible scofflaws like the one below, who just will not obey signs.

Monkey and warning sign
Temple entrance
Temple interior

Temple courtyard
Buddhist altar

Statues and signs
Climbing toward pavilion
Lunch place
Having lunch

We stop at a trailside spot to have our lunch.

White cat
White cat on chair

Suddenly a fearsome cat leaps from the jungle and heads our way. We are terrified, but manage to pacify the beast with some bits of our lunch.

Stone stairway

All the trails seem to be paved with carefully fitted flagstones.

Stone walkway through tall trees

Could this be the Stairway To Paradise?

Finishing the hike

Back at the foot of the mountain we conclude our hike.