Zhāngjiājiè Scenic Area

National Park in Zhangjiajie

Image by www.tonnaja.com Getty Images

From the 'Forest Park' entrance, there is an early opportunity for a bird's-eye view of the karst towers from Huángshí Village (黄石寨; Huángshízhài), a 3km loop on a plateau 1048m up. It’s a two-hour slog up 3878 stone steps, or a half-hour by electric bus (free), then cable car (one way ¥67).

Back on the canyon floor, the Golden Whip Stream Scenic Route (金鞭溪精品游览线; Jīnbiānxī Jīngpǐn Yóulǎnxiàn) is a flat path meandering 5.7km east along its namesake stream to the Báilóng Elevator (白龙天梯; Báilóng Tiāntī; one way ¥72), a cliffside lift rising 335m in under two minutes to the Tiānzǐ Shān section of the park. There are steps up the cliff as well (one hour).