Jiuding Mountains Hiking
Mt. Jiuding (Jiuding Mountains) refers to the 9 peaks south of Maoxian County of Aba Prefecture. Jiuding Mountain top has open views of the valleys and mountains around. It is one of the best and closest places to see mountain views around Chengdu. The highest peak is the Lion King Mountain at 4989m. Jiuding Mountain hiking is at above the ski resort of Taiziling. Hiking to Jiuding Mountains involve sleeping in a tent by the top of the mountain. The best time traveling to Jiuding Mountain is from June to September when the mountain is green. Jiuding Mountain is not a developed tourist park but rather a wild place where hikers go to.
Black Dragon Lake
Black Dragon Lake
Jiuding Mountain Hiking
Black Dragon Lake
Jiuding Mountains are located by Maoxian County of Aba Prefecture. It is around 170km North to the city of Chengdu. By driving it takes around 3 hours to the base of the mountain and another 0.5h to the hiking starting point. This trip is recommended to use private transfer than public transfer because the way to the hiking is by half of the mountain where no public transfer can get you to.
About the Hiking
Hiking to Jiuding Mountains involve hard walking at over 3000m and sleep by 3600m in a tent for overnight. Going up is very steep but basically safe trails. From start of the hike it is horse trail all the way to the camps. First 5km is medium steep ascending on horse trail followed by a 2km steep ascending to open grassland and then another 3km to Jizhuapeng Camp. Going up is total 10km. Going down is total 12km. All trails are safe to walk despite some steep sections. From Camp on the second day one goes up to Black Dragon Lake at 3800m and come back from another trail down to White Dragon Lake and then back to the starting point of hiking. Start of the hiking is at 2800m. Campsite is at 3600m Highest point of hiking is at 3800m to 4000m. For the second part of the hiking you will have good chances to see great views of the mountains and valleys below in clear days. If you are traveling on weekends you will probably see other guided hikers. You are recommended to use a guide for this hike. Hiking to Jiuding Mountains is overall a hard hiking trip.
About the Altitude
At the start of hiking the altitude is at 2800m, it is pretty high compared to other hikings. Camping place is at 3600m on the open steppe. Total elevation gain is about 800 meters. Usually it takes about 5-6 hours of walking time to reach the camp. Our former experience is mountain sickness is rare since everyone walked from the base to the top that your body has already acclimated to the altitude through walking. But if you are not certain you can always use AMS medicine. The next day you will go higher to around 3800m and then drop down back to below 3000m.
Tips to avoid altitude sickness:
drink more water and keep yourself hydrated all the time
keep your warm clothes handy and ready to wear them when you are not moving
use a hat to protect your head against the wind
proper eating and sleeping at former night
extra base layer for changing if the other one gets wet
This hiking is available from May to October but recommend doing it from June to September when the mountain is green. The green season is from June to September. The good thing about hiking in this season is it is all green and very beautiful and alive but weather is rather unpredictable since the altitude is high and the altitude difference is big: at the bottom of the valley the altitude is at a mer e1500 meters while at the top of the mountains around the highest is at over 4000 meters. Dramatic altitude difference provides stunning atmospheric scenery such as sea of clouds but also unpredictable weather conditions.
The temperature at Jiuding Mountain is at 15-25 C during day time while drops below 10C at night in the green season. 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.
Planning Ideas/Time Required
To do Jiuding Mountain Hiking it requires a minimum of 2 days starting and ending in Chengdu. The car ride from Chengdu to arrive at the hiking trail end is about 180km and takes 4 hours to get to. Normally one starts in the morning by 8am and will arrive there by noon. You will normally start the walking by around 12pm to 1pm. You will arrive at the camp by around 5pm to 6pm. Then you will stay one night at the top camping. The next morning after watch sunrise, walk back use another trail to see more views and arrive back Chengdu by around 5-6pm.
You are recommended to hire a guide from us to do this hike. It is safe and time-efficient to hire guide/driver to do this hiking.
There is a ticket required to enter Mt. Jiuding for 70 yuan per person.
There is horse riding service available that costs you around 400 yuan to send you to the camp on a horse back.
About Accommodations/Food of Hiking Hongyan Ridge
Before and after the hiking there are places where you can make stops along the way for lunch, to buy bottled water, snacks, etc. During the hiking, there are no restaurants, no hotels, and no villages. It is complete wild place so you need to prepare your own food for 1 night and 1 breakfast, or to have your guide to prepare them for you if you use our service. For drinking water you need to take care that by yourself as there are no water sold anywhere along the hiking trail and there is limited water source anywhere by the camp.
There are no modern houses up the ridge but tents. You can either use the tent by the camp that is set up by local tent owners or you can bring up your own tent. Using the local tent will have other campers share the same space around the camp that it can also be noisy and crowded during certain seasons. By using your own tent you can choose to set up tent anywhere you want and away from the crowd.
Names of locations/places of Jiuding Mountains in Chinese and English
Jiuding Mountains: 九鼎山
Maoxian County: 茂县
Jipengzi Camp: 鸡棚子
Black Dragon Lake: 黑龙池
White Dragon Lake: 白龙池