The Tai Shan is one of the “Five Sacred Mountains” of China spanning through Tai’an, Jinan and Zibo within the Shandong Province. This sacred mountain, also known as Peaceful Mountain, is believed to have been climbed by 72 different emperors over the past dynasties that have made the pilgrimage to pray.
The Tai Shan is dotted with temples, making it a popular tourist destination for those willing to take over 6,000 steps to the summit. The steep ascent hasn’t deterred many with year-round foot traffic up and down the mountain making it China’s most climbed mountain. Surrounding the numerous temples is some wonderful scenery that has inspired writers and poets for hundreds of years.
Start at the Dai Miao, a yellow edged hall at the base of the mountain then pick your favoured route to start climbing. There are two main routes that take slightly different tracks to the top. The east (or central) route is the more popular choice for visitors as it follows the track the emperors took, often called the imperial way. This way passes some of the more notable monuments such as the Red Gate Palace and the Jing Shi Valley and will take approximately four hours at a regular pace to reach the top.
The alternative route, one which many choose to descend down for a change in scenery, is the west route. You will pass Heaven and Earth Square, Black Dragon Pool and Longevity Bridge amongst other attractions on this track. This route, although having less historical sights, has some spectacular scenery to compensate.