China (2,155 m) – One of the Five Sacred Mountains of China (west)
Mount Hua is the tallest and arguably the most awesome of China’s Five Sacred Mountains. Located in Shaanxi Province, it is the westernmost of the five, and its name literally means “Western Great Mountain”. It has numerous summits and peaks, with the highest point being located on the southern spur.
According to Daoist tradition, Hua is the home of the God of the Underworld, and his been the site of religious shrines for nearly two thousand years. Sometime around the 4th century, an extraordinarily narrow trail was constructed in order to allow monks and pilgrims to reach the top of the mountain. This trail has been updated over the centuries and is still in use. However, its extremely narrow ledges, and ‘bridges’ which consist of little more than a few boards and a chain make this way up extremely precarious.
Nevertheless, thousands of visitors hike the mountain every year, mostly on newer, much safer trails. Religious shrines and rest houses provide assistance to both the faithful and the adventurous. Thanks to the significant infrastructure in the area as well as its proximity to the city of Xi’an approximatelty sixty miles to the west, Hua is an extremely popular mountain destination.