Ganhaizi Mountain Hiking
Ganhaizi is a lake located by the mountain near Wolong of Wenchuan. It is a popular weekend hiking destination in certain seasons. During weekdays it is quiet. Ganhaizi refers to the area where the lake is located, including the higher part of the mountain itself. The mountain range where Ganhaizi is located is part of Qionglaishan Mountain Range, a natural habitat for giant pandas and also home to many other wild animals with beautiful forests and mountain views. Ganhaizi is located by the buffering zone of Wolong Nature Reserve, a sanctuary for wild animals including pandas. In different seasons the views by Ganhaizi is different but always beautiful. It is relatively far from the city of Chengdu but its view worth the driving.
Ganhaizi is located in Wolong of Wenchuan County, around 125km northwest to the city of Chengdu. By driving it takes around 2.5h to get to the base of the mountain by Zhuanjinglou Village of Wolong. To get to Ganhaizi one needs to start from Chengdu by Chengguan Highway and then Duwen Highway, passing Dujiangyan City. After arrive by the base at the entrance, one needs to switch to a local transfer for around 10 minutes to the hiking starting point by halfway up to the mountain. Public bus is available but coming back is more difficult than going in. There are schedules of buses that go further than Wolong to more westward destinations in Aba Prefecture and will pass Wolong where the bus can drop you off but when you come back it is difficult using public transfer. You are recommended to use a private transfer from Chengdu all the way to make this trip easier.
About the Hiking
Total hiking is around 8-10km round way. Start of the hike is at 2250m, by the lake it is at around 2650m. One can keep going higher from the lake to around 2750m. One doesn’t feel the altitude much due to the rich plants around but you are still recommended to start slow while walking. From start to the lake it is around 3km on either good trail or well-paved stairs. There are small sections of steep part but with stairs. All walking trail is recognizable and in the pine forest until you arrive the lake. From the lake above it is open steppe of rolling landscape with grass and shrubs. It is very easy to walk on the steppe above the lake. During winter there may still be snow by the trails in the forest, making it possibly icy or slippery. If you are traveling by weekends you’ll probably see other hikers too. It is a very nice picnic place by the side of the lake. There is also another smaller lake at above the first one. You will walk back using the same trail.
This hiking is available all year round by Ganhaizi. In the winter time and spring time there may still be a bit of snow on the trail in the forest. But it is no probelm to walk on. In summer time it is often very humid by Ganhaizi when the mountain is super green. The wet season is from in May to September. Dry season is from October to the next April. Weather is rather unpredictable since the altitude is higher and the altitude difference is also big: at the bottom of the valley the altitude is lower than 2000m while at the top of the mountains is at over 4000 meters. Big altitude difference provides stunning atmospheric scenery such as moving clouds but it also brings unpredictable weather conditions especially in summer time.
The temperature at Ganhaizi Ridge is at 10-15 C during day time while drops below 0C at night in winter and spring time. In Summer and Fall the temperature during day time can reach over 25C and at night above 10 C. Note there is a big difference on temperature between day time and night time at such altitude. It is often windy at the top and weather changes quickly. Sun can get really strong so prepare sun block and sun glasses.
On weekend especially during second half of October there are often many hikers come to see the golden fall color of the forest so the weekends during this time is recommended to be avoided to have better hiking experiences.
Planning Ideas/Time Required
Ganhaizi Hiking is usually done in 1 day’s time starting and ending in Chengdu unless you want to spend a night by the lake. To spend a night by Ganhaizi camping is the only option. The car ride from Chengdu to arrive at the hiking starting point is about 3 hours. Normally one starts in the morning by 8am or earlier and will arrive there before 11am. The walking up takes usually around 2 hours or less to arrive by Ganhaizi Lake with leisure pace. After picnic lunch go explore higher above Ganhaizi for around another 1 hour before walk back to the starting point and transfer back to Chengdu. Usually starting by 8am in the morning from Chengdu you will be back to Chengdu by around 6pm. You are recommended to use private transfer for this trip. You are also recommended to high a guide to do this hike due to safety reasons and it is also time-saving.
There is a 20 yuan per person ticket required to enter Ganhaizi. To use a local transfer from the entrance to start of the hike it costs 30 yuan per person. To hire local porter to take any packs up for campers it costs 300-500 yuan per pack depending on the weight.
About Accommodations/Food of Hiking Ganhaizi
There is no food or shops available one starting the hiking from the village. By weekends there are usually stalls by starting of the hike selling simple food such as corn, barbecues, potatoes, etc. By Ganhaizi there is no shops nor food available. You need to carry your own lunch and drinking water for the day hike to Ganhaizi. To do day hike from Chengdu to Ganhaizi you are recommended to prepare food and drinking water from Chengdu. There is also no accommodations available by Ganhaizi.
For overnight camping you need to bring everything up, either by yourself or by hiring a local porter. Please inquire us about this option. Sleeping overnight in the mountain is very cool experience and in complete wild it offers you chance to see mountains by dawn and dusk as well as chance to see the Milky Way. There are plenty of places to set up camp by Ganhaizi. But please note there is neither phone service nor electricity by Ganhaizi.
Names of locations/places of Ganhaizi in Chinese and English
Zhuanjinglou Village: 转经楼村
Chadianzi Bus Station: 茶店子汽车站