Hiking Qingliang Feng in Zhejiang, China

Last weekend we climbed Qingliang Feng mountain 清凉峰 in Zhejiang, the highest mountain close to Shanghai at 1,787 meters above sea level. At the peak we were lucky to see almost endless layers of blue emerging from the misty valleys, forming a great sea of mountains. One of the most beautiful landscapes we’ve seen so far.

Can you spot the hiker at the top?

It takes 5 hours to reach the summit, plus 5 hours to hike down (around 10 miles total).

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The trail crosses great pines and bamboo forests, and the summit features a big flat grassy area where hikers can easily camp.

Camping at Qingliang Feng, Zhejiang, China

The mountain is located in Qingliang Feng National Nature Reserve, in Anhui province. The drive from Shanghai to the trailhead takes around 5 hours.

This is one of the few mountains that has still not been over developed in East China. Other mountains like Huangshan, Tianmu or Wusong albeit scenic are usually over-crowded and have roads, buildings and cable cars to the top. Qingliang Feng rests being only accessible by hiking trails :)

Hiking in Qingliang Feng Nature Reserve, China

Our trip

This time we decided to do a 1-day loop hike. (For another hike option, check Qingliang during summer at the bottom of this post). To take advantage of the clear sky, we started the hike on a sunny Friday. This ended up being a great decision not only because of the amazing views at the top, but also because we only crossed 4 people during the entire hike (totally unbelievable in China!). The loop-hike took us around 11 hours with 1 hour stop for lunch at the summit. It usually takes 8 hours, but this time the snowy trail made it more challenging.

Top of Qingliang Fent mountain in Zhejiang, China

Hiking up – A mountain cross

This hike starts on the grass field behind the guest house we were sleeping (map). It’s a moderate 5h hike to the top. The way up goes through forests, bamboos and crosses several streams with the help of wooden bridges.

This time, the snow covering some parts of the trail made it more demanding, but the scenery was nice enough to compensate the additional effort. The hike eventually arrives to several stone steps that lead to the high flat grass where the summit is located. This is the part where the beautiful hilly landscape starts. Once you reach the 'flat' top, it’s a 30 min relatively flat walk to the summit.

Summit – Dreamy Landscape

During our summer hike, 5 months ago, by the time we got to the top it was completely clouded. This time we couldn’t believe in the views: it seemed like we were in a dream. An ocean on mountains, one after another forming an infinite shade of blue. Sublime.

Views from Qingliang Feng summit (Zhejiang-Anhui) China

From the 360-view from the top we could even see the famous Yellow Mountains (Huang Shan).

View of Huangshan mountains (center-top) from the summit of Qingliang Feng mountain, China

But winter days are short and after a short break at the summit, we started our descent aiming to reach our village with sunlight.

Descending – Please bring us a sleigh!

Trail with snow in Qingliang Feng, China

The way down also has nice views of the ocean of mountains, but most of the time it goes through the forest. The snow made the steep descend even more complicated and it took us 5 tiring hours.

By the time we were 1 hour away from the village we stopped for a few minutes to enjoy the sun setting behind the mountains. We wish we could see this for hours long.

Sunset from the trail, Qingliang Feng, China

When we reached the last descending part, we saw a man signing with his lamp at the hill bottom. It was the guesthouse owner waiting for us. He was concerned we were lost in th dark. We said the few words we could in Chinese “Hěnduō xuě, 很多雪”, or something like “a lot of snow”. We all understood what it was about.

What we did last weekend? We had fun in nature!

Climbing Qingliang Feng Mountain in East China

Bonus: Summer in Qingliang Feng

Last summer we did an alternative route to Qingliang Feng mountain, starting from a town nearby and hiking part of the Hui Hang trail.

Climbing Qingliang Feng Mountain in East China

It took us around 7 hours to get to the top (7 miles), with few long stops.

High valley on our way to Qingliang Feng mountain

We passed through beautiful high meadows, springs, creeks and nice overlooks.

Climbing Qingliang Feng mountain in East China

The trail was very steep at some parts and we had to carry all our camping gear, food and water.

Climbing Qingliang Mountain in East China

Nevertheless, the fresh wind, the sun and the great views of green nature were very rewarding. Not to talk about the bird sounds and the peace that surrounded us.

Climbing Qingliang Feng mountain in East China

When we got to the top the weather suddenly changed and we run to set our tent before the rain started. We didn't dare to leave the tent until next morning.

Climbing Qingliang Mountain in East China

After lots of rain during the night, it was still very cloudy at the top in the morning. We said goodbye to a group of hikers that also had camped there and started to descend.

Happy summit

Climbing a mountain is one of the greatest things we can do in our life.

Climbing down the Hui Hang trail in Zhejiang

It's not only about reaching the top, but the entire journey, everything you see, hear and feel while climbing up and down.

What we did last weekend? We had fun in nature!