Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a mountain massif (also identified as a small mountain range) near Lijiang, in Yunnan province, southwestern China. The range is also known as Mount Yulong after the Chinese or Mount Satseto after the Naxi name. Its highest peak is named Shanzidou (5,596 m or 18,360 ft). The view of the massif from the gardens at the Black Dragon Pool (Heilong Tan) in Lijiang is noted as one of China's finest views, and part of Yulong Snow Mountain Scenic Area, a AAAAA-classified scenic area.
The far side of the mountain forms one side of Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia). The Jade Water Village is at the foot of the mountain.
Features of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
The Jade Dragon Snow Mountains are a small group of peaks close to the city of Lijiang. The nearest slope is only about 30 kilometers north of the Dayan Ancient City District, and the mountain can be clearly seen from the Black Dragon Pool next to the ancient district. The group of mountains is notable because they contain good hiking along Tiger Leaping Gorge, great scenic views, and a 15,000 foot mountain with a specially built stairway and path to make climbing to the summit easy. If you¡¯d like to climb to the top of a high mountain, that might be one to try. There is no sliding on steep paths or climbing with your hands, the distance from the tram is short, and oxygen tanks can be rented for a little more than 4 dollars USD. But the view is excellent! The tallest peak called Shanzidou has only been climbed once by two Americans who say it is extremely dangerous. The Yangtze River runs through Tiger Leaping Gorge in the valley below. The mountains are a place to go to in Yunnan for fun in the snow in the winter and for hiking and enjoying the natural scenery the rest of the year.
There are about ten peaks all together, and the group of mountains stretches about 35 kilometers from north to south. Shanzidou is the highest peak and measures 5,596 meters or 18,355 feet tall. On the eastern side of the mountain is a deep valley where the Yangtze River runs. That is where the best and longest hiking trails are. The valley is on the far side of the mountain from the city. Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) is in the northern part of this eastern valley. On the south side of the mountains, there is a town called Yuhucun that is only about 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) north of the ancient part of the city of Lijiang called Baisha Quarter. You can do some hiking up the mountain from Yuhucun or rent guided horses to ride, and there is no entry fee. However, the government prohibits or tries to discourage hiking off of designated park areas on much of the mountain, especially in the areas at higher altitude and the areas away from villages, and fires are strictly forbidden. The best hiking on the mountain is on the eastern side above the Yangtze River where there are good hiking trails with accommodations, and on the western side you can hike or climb at Glacier Park, Spruce Meadow and Yak Meadow.
Hiking Area of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
There are hiking places on the southern and eastern side of Jade Dragon (Yulong) Snow Mountain, but the best hiking is along the western side. On the southern side, people can walk around the village of Yuhucun and walk on paths and trails. You can also rent horses to ride.
People also go to three locations on the eastern side via trams. The trams go to Glacier Park, Spruce Meadow and Yak Meadow. The most popular tram goes to Glacier Park. It is one of the highest elevation trams in the world. The tram puts one at a big terminal building at an elevation of 4,506 meters or 14,757 feet. This is very high. It is higher than any of the Rocky Mountain peaks. It puts one at Glacier Park close to a glacier and a high peak that reaches an elevation of about 4,680 meters or 15,350 feet. People can walk around the area of the tram terminal building and play in the snow if there is snow. There is a specially constructed wooden platform that people can use to go up past the glacier to the nearby peak. People who are not used to this elevation may find this short climb to the peak difficult. Oxygen tanks are available for rent for about five dollars USD. People say that the view is spectacular. The cable car fee and a bus ride to the cable car cost about 170 RMB round trip.
The cable car to Glacier Park was built in 1999 by an European company called Leitner. It used to be China's highest cable car. But recently one that goes about 300 meters higher was built in China. A cable car in Venezuela in South America also goes higher. During most of 2010, the tram may be closed.
Another tram goes to Yak Meadows that is at an elevation of about 3,650 meters (about 12,000 feet). It is the furthest lift from Lijiang, and it is also the least visited area. Farmers graze their yaks there, and there is a temple. It is a big area of grass near the high peaks. There are hiking trails there. The round trip ticket for the cable car is about 60 RMB. The further away from the tram, the fewer the people.
A third tram goes to Spruce Meadows. There are fewer crowds of tourists. Spruce Meadow is at an elevation of about 3,200 meters.
The best hiking trails are on the western side of the mountains. The main trail is called the "high path." It is on the Haba Snow Mountain side of the Yangtze River. There used to be a "low path" that ran next to the Yangtze River, but that was turned into a road that is used by tour buses. In 2010, the road is closed for construction.