Time: 6¾ hours Distance: 10 miles Difficulty: First half hard, second half easy Start: Old Fengzhou: Fèngzhōu Gŭchéng
This hike is along a mostly dirt trail through a very rugged and beautiful stretch of the Qingling Mountains, the only section of the old road through this area that was not destroyed by the highway built in 1941. The hike begins on a dirt road which heads southeast into the mountains, passing some villages and then becoming a dirt trail bordering a pretty stream. The old road at one time cut off this dirt trail and headed over the mountain, but it is very rarely used these days, and is difficult to find. Once on it, you will see lots of the original flagstone now lying in total disarray along the slope of the mountain. There is a steep climb through the woods to the Fengling Pass (6,300 feet). Once over the pass, the trail runs along the side of the mountain with spectacular views of snow-covered peaks all around (in mid-March when I was there) and then heads downhill along wooded slopes. The last stretch of the hike is on an asphalt road built to accommodate a mining operation. In places you can see the old road carved into the cliff just above you (below right), but it is not continuous enough to walk for any distance. It is easy to get lost on this hike and the dirt trail is seldom traveled, so you must use the local guide here.