Tianzi Mountain ('Heaven Son Mountain' or 'Emperor Mountain'天子山Tianzishan) is probably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Zhangjiajie Wulingyuan National Forest Park. Tianzi Mountain is famous for its unique sandstone peaks formed millions of years ago. The landscape is like out of this world.
Spend an enjoyable couple of hours on Tianzi Mountain and view the sandstone formations used in the Avatar movie.
Tianzi Mountain Facts
- Location:in the northern part of Wulingyuan Scenic Area, Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province
- Height:the highest peak is about 1,262 meters (4,140 feet), the lowest is 534 meters (1,752 feet)
- Area:67 square kilometers (17,000 acres)
- Age:about 400 million years
- Visiting Time required:2-3 hours
Tianzi Mountain Name
Tianzi Mountain was originally named “Qingyan Mountain”, named after the ancient Tujia leader Xiang Dakun leading the local peasant uprising and calling himself "The Son of Heaven". Later, he was martyred here, hence the name Tianzi Mountain. The mountain is also known as the "King of the Peak Forest".
The Must-See Attractions in the Tianzi Mountain
Yubi Peaks (Imperial Writing Brush Peaks,御笔峰) is one of the best scenic spots that fascinates photographers and painters. Standing on the viewing platform and looking towards the southwest, you can see dozens of beautiful peaks protruding in the valley and scattered in the blue sky. The peak on the right is like an imperial pen inserted upside down. According to legend, this stone pen was left by Emperor Xiang.
The Field in the Air
In the Tianzi Mountain Scenic Area of Wulingyuan, there is a unique "hanging garden" (空中田园)- a heart-shaped field at the top, surrounded by "8"-shaped paddy field. The field is only 3 hectares in size surrounded by cliffs on three sides. The fields have an altitude of more than 1,000 meters.
The most amazing thing is that there is a spring in the middle field, which does not dry up all year round.
Ten Miles Gallery (十里画廊) is located in Suoxiyu Scenic Area, at the foot of Tianzi Mountain. It is like a landscape painting gallery presenting you with lush forests and strange peaks on both sides of the valley. The valley extends for about 10 miles, so got its name.
You can choose to walk along the valley or take a monorail train to enjoy the picturesque scenery. The price for the train is 38 yuan for a single way and 52 yuan for a round trip.
Fairy Bridge(Xianren Bridge,仙人桥) is naturally formed. It is 26 meters long, 1.5 meters wide, more than one meter thick, and about seventy meters high. The bridge spans between two cliffs and the abyss below the bridge.
Located in a deep valley surrounded by white mist, the grotesque rocks resemble dozens of human figures. Countless pinnacles are like swords and halberds, or like thousands of troops and horses.
The "Emperor" stands high in the middle was calling the muster roll of officers and assign them tasks. Legend has it that Emperor Xiang once held a military parade here. The Dianjiang Terrace (点将台)is the best place to see the view of the West Sea Stone Forest.
Tianzi Mountain Cable Car
The Tianzi Mountain cable car, the first attraction is beyond anything in the Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve. The Tianzi Mountain cable car is an unforgettable journey that will bring you as close as possible to the mountains and allow you to truly bask in the breathtaking surrounding views.
The cable car will go its way among the mountains, through some of the spectacular pillar-like peaks, past the tranquil valley. If you take the cable car after raining, you may see the clouds and mist drifting through the mountains like a fairyland.
The total length of the Tianzi Mountain cable car is about 2,084 meters, travelling about 30 mins for a single way. The cost for a sing way is 72 yuan per person and 144 yuan for a round trip. The cable car runs from 7:30 to 17:30.
The Best Way to See Tianzi Mountain
The time required to visit Tianzi Mountain is generally 2-3 hours. It can be arranged on the same day as the visit to Yuanjiajie (the famous Avatar Mountain is located here). Visit Yuanjiajie in the morning and Tianzi Mountain in the afternoon. There are direct buses you can take between these two attractions.
A popular itinerary to visit Tianzi Mountain:
- In the morning, enter Zhangjiajie National Forest Park from the gate of “Forest Park Ticket Station”;
- Take a shuttle bus to Yuanjiajie from where take the Hundred Dragon Elevator (Bailong Elevator) up to the mountain;
- In the afternoon, take a shuttle bus to Tianzishan Mountain.
- After sightseeing, take the cable car to go down the mountain.
You can also travel in the reverse way.
If you have good physical strength, you can take the cable car up to the mountain and go down on foot. The down ride may take about 2 - 3 hours on foot.
Best Time to Visit Tianzi Mountain
Zhangjiajie has no severe cold in winter and intense heat in summer, with an average annual temperature of 16°C. The best time to travel in Zhangjiajie is from April to October each year, especially in April and October when Zhangjiajie presents the most beautiful scenery.
The beauty of Tianzi Mountain is different in different seasons. In spring, the mountain flowers are splendid; in summer, the green trees and cool air will refresh you; in autumn, the fall foliage in Tianzi Mountain will amaze you; in winter, the peaks are covered with snow and ice.
Tianzi Mountain is the best place to see the sea of clouds. The sea ofclouds generally appears in spring, summer, and autumn. After light rainfall, the mountains will be shrouded in clouds and mist.
If the weather is very bad, some scenic spots are not open for safety reasons. If you visit in the winter or rainy season, you’d better check the local weather and consult the opening situation of the scenic area before going to the national forest park.
How to Get to Tianzi Mountain
Tianzi Mountain is located at the Wulingyuan Scenic Area of Zhangjiajie. It is about 55 km to Zhangjiajie City by car (1 h 20 mins' driving distance).
Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station (to the northwest of Zhangjiajie Railway Station) has regular tourist buses to Tianzi Mountain and the bus journey takes about 80-90 minutes.
Although Tianzi Mountain is the closest to the "Tianzi Mountain Ticket Station" among the three common gates of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, more visitors choose to enter the park from the "Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Ticket Station" because it is conveniently accessible from the urban area, and then take a shuttle bus to Tianzi Mountain.
The most popular way is to take a bus from the "Forest Park Ticket Station" and get off at Hundred Dragon Elevator (Bailong Elevator) and then take a bus to Tianzi Mountain after visiting the Avatar Mountains.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay close to Tianzi Mountain Scenic Area, you can choose an inn or hostel near the “Tianzi Mountain Ticket Station” from where there are shuttle buses running to the mountain.
However, if you stay there, it is not convenient for you to visit other scenic areas of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Considering the visit to Tianmen Mountain generally requires about 2-3 hours, it is not advisable to stay near it.
We recommend staying at Wulingyuan town, a small town next to the park. You can have many choices from inns to hotels. More importantly, it is convenient to get to all the main attractions and hiking trails from there.
Tips for Visiting Tianzi Mountain
1. The elevation of Tianzi Mountain Scenic Area is higher than that in the urban area. The temperature in the scenic area is much lower than the weather forecast! Prepare proper clothes accordingly.
2. Zhangjiajie Forest Park is very large, and there are shuttle buses between the scenic areas. The longest distance is 40 minutes by car. Get to know the running time of the shuttle bus in advance and don't miss the last bus.
3. Tianzi Mountain area is probably the second most crowded area in the park (after Yuanjiajie) with many linings up to take the cable car for the views, try to arrive the park early (before 7:30) to reduce the queue time.
4. It's unavoidable to bump into the local tourists at the attractions. However, if you're up for a hike it's a good and quiet tracking ground.
Entrance Fee and Opening Hours
- March to November:225 yuan for adults and 160 yuan for children between 1.3 - 1.5 meters (4.3 - 4.9 feet)
- December to February:115 yuan for adults and 85 yuan for children between 1.3 - 1.5 meters
- Free entry for children below 1.3 meters but they need to pay 65 yuan for the battery car.
The admission fee is for the main scenic areas in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, including Tianzi Mountains, Suoxi Valley Nature Reserve, Yangjiajie Scenic Area. And the shuttle bus is also included.
- 72 yuan per person for a single trip and 144 yuan for a round trip.
- 43 yuan for children between 1.3 - 1.5m;
- Free for children under 1.3m.
Opening Hours: 7:00 - 18:00
Tianzi Mountain FAQ
1. Where is Tianzi Mountain located? Is it in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park?
Tianzi Mountain is located in the northern part of Zhangjiajie National Park. Both of them belong to Wulingyuan Scenic Area. You can take one ticket to visit both of them.
2. Can I visit Tianzi Mountain and Yuanjiajie on the same day?
Yes, you can make it on the same day. There is a direct shuttle bus you can take between these two scenic areas. You can visit Yuanjiajie in the morning and visit Tianzi Mountain in the afternoon.
3. Can we take a one-way cable car to Tianzi Mountain and other time walking is possible?
Of course, you can if you have good physical strength. A popular way is to take the cable car up to the mountain and go down on foot. The down ride may take about 2 - 3 hours on foot.
4. Is Tianzi Mountain the same place with Tianmen Mountain?
It’s not the same place.
Tianzi Mountain is a part of Wulingyuan National Forest Park where located in Wulingyuan town. Tianmen Mountain is located in Zhangjiajie downtown, near to Zhangjiajie Railway Station and airport.
The Formation of Tianzi Mountain
Tianzi Mountain illustrates how fantastic the Earth can be. The range’s formation is surprising: there were once sedimentary rocks growing beneath the waters of an ancient ocean, which ultimately became quartz sandstones. Today, the layer of quartz rocks as old as 380 million years old, as thick as 500 or 600 meters, caps the Tianzi Mountain.
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