Hikers come from around the world to "walk the plank" on China's Mount Huashan.
There are plenty of spectacular hiking trails around the world that will take you to the top of the mountain, but few are as terrifying as the infamous plank walk at China's Huashan Mountain, a series of mountains that reach 7,000 feet into the clouds at its highest peak in Shaanxi Province.
This plank road has another nickname: "The world's most dangerous hike." Once you see the photos and videos, it becomes obvious why. The trail has become a huge tourist destination, drawing thousands of people out on high speed trains and a minibus ride from nearby Xi'an or from larger cities like Shanghai or Beijing for dangerous day trips.
This short vlog from YouTuber Pedro Nascimento gives a good idea of just how wild the Mt. Huashan plank walk is. It is a series of seriously steep steps to get up there before you must step off the beaten path and onto some hastily carved rock steps and wooden planks fastened to the side of the mountain.
This makes us nervous just watching it. The cable car system was added sometime in the 1990s to make the hike more accessible to more people. It takes considerably longer to make the round trip hike from the base of the mountain. The gondola is largely credited with resulting in the throngs of tourists you saw in this video. This place was and still is considered a sacred mountain by many Chinese, which probably helps add to the appeal.
There are three peaks in total to this mountain with the North peak being the shortest at around 5,200 feet. That is still nothing to sneeze at. The South Peak is considered the highest and has been measured at a little over 7,000 feet. The cliffside plank trail is not officially part of the ascent to any of the summits, but it draws thousands of people anyway, probably just for the pure thrills and the incredible views. We would probably be too nervous that someone would bump us over the edge while transferring our carabiners!
For those who are not into risking your life on a bunch of wooden planks, there is plenty of scenery to enjoy from the other points in the trip. For history buffs there is the "tea house," which is a converted ancient Taoist temple at the South Peak.
Whether the Mt. Hua trails are the most dangerous in the world is probably up for debate. However, just from viewing this video, we think they can make a strong case!
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