Tianmen Mountain Road

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Distance: 11.7 km
Average Gradient: 6%
Elevation Gained: 741 metres elevation
Category: 1
Surface: Sealed

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

Heaven-linking Avenue is considered one of the most amazing roads to travel across the world. The Tianmen Mountains are a sacred place to the Chinese.  Much care and pride was put into constructing this road which took 5 years to build. The road was designed to show off much of the areas naturally beauty to reach the summit. The one thing that sets this climb apart from any other climb in the world is its switchbacks. The Chinese are fascinated with the number 9. This is a very symbolic number to the Chinese culture.  Tianmen Mountain Road was built with Ninety-nine hairpins over its 12 km distance. This is a must do climb!

Tianmen Mountain Road
Image taken by Jacques Beaulieu; courtesy of Flickr

Tianmen Mountain Road climb

Due to the high elevation of the mountain.  You can expect a drop of about 10 degrees from Zhangiajie City.  Going up won’t be a problem, but on the descent you will feel it.  You’d be advised to bring appropriate clothing for the descent.  Either going up or down, be prepared to see some of the best views you are likely to see by bike.  Take care on the descent.  There looks to be quite a few corners overlooking serious drop-off’s, and the video below will show how crazy this climb can be.

Location:    Tianmen Mountains are located 10 kilometers south to Zhangjiajie City in Hunan Province of China.
Best Season to travel to Tianmen Mountains:   From May to October.
Tianmen Mountain Road
Image taken by Bo Lu; courtesy of Flickr

Local Attractions

There are plenty of reasons to travel to the Tianmen Mountains.  They are rich in Chinese culture. It’s most famous attraction is the Tianmen Cave. The door like cave was created after the cliff collapsed in ancient times. Tianmen Cave is on the precipice and is over 1260 meters above sea level.  The cave itself is over 131 meters in height and about 50 meters wide.  Its name means ‘the Heaven’s Gate” and is said to be the door to heaven. To get to the cave, one first has to climb 999 steps. The number ‘9’ is significant in Chinese culture and 999 means an eternal life.  There are some truly amazing mystic views of fog and cloud from the cave, and a truly amazing place to visit.

The best way to see the climb

You can take the Tianmenshan Mountain Cableway, to the summit of the peak. This Cableway is the longest mountain cable way in the world, at 7455 meters in length. The Cable way starts from the city center of Zhangjiajie and rises up to the ‘Hanging Garden’ on the peak. The views along the way are simply stunning.

The Bonsai Garden (Hanging Garden) is a National Park.  On the east peak of Tianmen Mountains.  The whole area looks like a natural Bonsai and an amazing place to visit.

There is a waterfall named ‘turning water’.  The water comes from the right side of the cliff even though there’s no water resources to be found on the cliff.  This is considered a very holy place.

The Tianmen mountain glass walkway is not a path for the fait0-hearted. On a sheer rock face.  There is a 21 meter pathway which has been constructed with 2.5 inches of glass under foot. This offers terrifying views of the 1,200 meter drop below. The path is little under a meter wide, and if you have any fear of heights………..

There is also many temples to visit.  The Ghost Valley Plank Road & Yuhu Peak (means Jade Pot Peak in Chinese).

Tianmen Mountain Road
Tianmen Mountain Road

 

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