For a while, Tianmen Mountain has claimed to run the longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world. (Note: We haven't checked, but it may also be the only passenger cableway of high mountains in the world). Now its overlords have added a second adrenaline spiker in the form of the Walk of Faith, a glass plank path that meanders around a portion of the cliff face at 4,690 feet above Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park, about five miles south of China's Zhangjiajie Village in the Hunan province.
On the downside, traversing the Walk of Faith requires a lot more than faith. More like faith, an insatiable craving for adventure, and nerves made of Kevlar and titanium. On the upside, Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park seems to attract a great deal of fog, which, by virtue of masking the clear drop into oblivion below the path, could provide the confidence boost those otherwise likely to declare the Walk of Faith a "No way in hell!" endeavor need to step onto its translucent panels.
In addition to the glass Walk of Faith, miles worth of additional pedestrian pathways have been built into the cliffs of Tianmen Mountain. A 4.3-mile road replete with 99 bends ascends to the top of the mountain, where the 430-foot-high Tianmen cave awaits. Those who would rather sit back and enjoy the lush vegetation and sandstone pillars from the Cableway can relax in one of its 98 cars as they ascend nearly 4,200 feet (at one point at a stomach-churning 37-degree grade).
Indeed Tianmen Mountain's Walk of Faith--and the entire Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park--is just one of many scenic sights to behold and phenomenal communes with nature to be had in the Hunan province. Also near the home base of Zhangjiajie lie top spots such as the Zhangjiajie National Park, Suoxiyu Nature Reserve, and Tianzi Mountain Natural Reserve. All part of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, they cover 135 square miles of outdoor bliss.
Walk of Faith and Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park Travel Tips
- It's rural China, not downtown Paris. Pack a phrase book, or revel in the language barrier.
- Leave this to the professionals.
- Want to hoof it like a mountain goat? Take a decent pair of hoofin'-it boots.
- Vomiting is no fun for anyone! If you have a weak stomach, be sure to bring some saltine crackers and a blindfold to avoid hurling chunks, and potentially inciting a cavalcade of chunk-hurling, atop the mountain.
- Tianmen Mountain Basic Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tianmen_Mountain
- Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park Tour Packages: http://www.easytourchina.com/scene-v264-tianmen-mountain-national-forest-p...
- Tianmen Mountain Restaurant: http://www.archdaily.com/145283/tianmen-mountain-restaurant-liu-chongxiao/
- Zhangjiajie Hotels: http://www.zhangjiajietourism.us/plan-accommodation.html
- Natural Wonders of Zhangjiajie: http://www.zhangjiajietourism.us/what-scenic.html
- The Natural Beauty of Zhangjiajie: http://www.zhangjiajietourism.us/about.html