A walk in the woods of Yangjiajie is no mere walk in the woods. The tree-topped pinnacles of Wulingyuan provide an unbelievable backdrop to the moss-covered steps and flourishing pines of the forest's thick tapestry.
The forest of Yangjiajie feels like it's been whispered into life from the words of a fantasy novel. Its halls are awash with greenery. Pixies or nymphs could live here (and they probably do!). The iconic lime-quartz pillars stand in wordless defiance to gravity. One pillar would be enough to leave you breathless and yet there are over 3000 of them.
As I stared on in disbelief, I tried to envisage the rock that would have once filled the space, aeons ago. Before water seeped into the earth, creating cracks and eating it away, the landscape was one vast mass of rock.
At the edge of Yangjiajie forest park is the place where the pillars meet the rolling Bali Hills. Seeing the pillars side by side with what would ordinarily be a beautiful landscape puts into perspective the extraordinary uniqueness of Wulingyuan.
As the path wound up the summit of Tianbo mansion, the views seemed to crescendo like the last line of a treasured haiku. We dangled our feet from the clifftops and wished it didn't have to end.
Words & Photography: Scott Norris (@radventuresofficial) // Summer 2016
Access from Wulingyuan township. Buses run there from Zhangjiajie city (12 元, 40mins) They are not numbered and read 武陵源. Entry to the park is 245元 (standard) 160元 (student >24yrs, pretend driving license is student card for discount).
From the park entrance board a bus for the Wulong village (乌龙) bus stop. See Getting Around Wulingyuan for details.
From the Wulong Village bus stop head past the queues and down to the right. Turn left at the dirt path just before the map and behind the chair carrying people.
Turn left at the T junction towards One Step to Heaven.
Continue, be sure to climb to the first viewpoint. The second viewpoint is reached via the right-hand fork. Retrace your steps and take the left-hand fork afterwards.
Turn right at the T junction.
Turn right at the fork.
At the street vendor, make a U-turn to the right towards Tianbo Mansion and begin ascending.
Turn left at the T junction and continue straight towards Wu long/Tianbo mansion.
Climb to the end and retrace your steps. Be sure to take the 'downhill channel' on the way back.
Turn left just past the toilets and continue straight towards the bus stop.