Location: Gansu Province, Longnan City, Tanchang County (it’s often incorrectly called Dangchang County).
甘肃省 陇南市 宕昌县
Time of visit: April 2019
How to get there: 2-3 hours by train from Lanzhou 兰州 to Hadapu railway station 哈达铺火车站, and then 1 hour by bus from Hadapu to Tanchang. The buses leave every 15 minutes.
Time needed in the scenic areas: one full day.
There are two main scenic areas, Guanegou 官鹅沟 and Emangou 鹅嫚沟.
It takes 10 minutes from Tanchang bus station to Guanegou entrance, and 25-30 minutes to Emangou. The buses are frequent all day (every 15 to 30 minutes). The buses look like this:
From Guanegou entrance it’s a 1 – 1 1/2 hours walk to Lianghekou 两河口 where the main road ends. No buses, only walking.
In Emangou it’s a 30 minutes bus ride from the entrance to the end of the main road. It’s possible to walk, but it’s not worth it.
Most visitors to Guanegou just walk from the entrance to Lianghekou and back again, and in Emangou they take the bus to Shiba xianghui 十八相会, stay there for a while, and then take the bus back again.
If that’s all you do, it’s not worth coming here. To make it worthwhile, you have to follow the road and stairs all the way up to the top area.
The “easiest” way up is from Emangou, and then back down the same way (6 hours should be enough including some time at the top). It’s rather steep and exhausting, but the road and the stairs are very good and it’s not dangerous at all.
If you have time and start early, the best alternative is to hike from Emangou to Guanegou (or the other way round), it takes 8 hours (or a little less) for most people.
If you start hiking from Guanegou, he last bus from the end of the hike to Emangou entrance leaves around 17-17:30.
See below for more details.
“One of top 10 scenic areas in Gansu province ”
Entrance ticket, valid in both Guanegou and Emangou for two days:
The entrance to Guanegou:
Instead of following the main road it’s possible to take these stairs up and follow a small path through the forest to Lianghekou. It’s not really worth it, there are no special views along the path.
Lianghekou 两河口 tourist service center was closed and the building was completely empty when we visited.
It’s not allowed to continue to follow the road beyond Lianghekou
Instead, cross this bridge. The sign says it’s a cable car construction site, so it’s forbidden to continue. But just walk ahead, there are no obstacles, and everyone is welcoming.
The road on the other side of the bridge leads up to the top of the mountain
They have just begun the cable car construction work
When they have finished the job in 2022 (more likely a couple of years later), the cable car station will look like this
The road is quite good
More signs saying “cable car construction, forbidden to continue”. But in reality you are allowed to continue.
The road ends and very good stairs leads up to the top.
We never reached the top area this day, a thunder storm forced us back down again, we had to return to the entrance. The next day we climbed all the way up to the top from the other side of the mountain, starting from Emangou instead:
The bus runs from the entrance to the end of the main road at Shiba xianghui 十八相会, a 30 minutes ride. If there’s interest, the bus stops a couple of times on the way.
The road from Shiba xianghui up to Tianchi 天池, Heaven’s Lake, is closed, but it’s still possible to walk all the way up. It takes an hour or so, but we didn’t do it because there’s no water in April, and there’s not much to see along the road.
Instead we followed another road all the way up to the top area. The signs are not welcoming: vehicles are forbidden, and you are officially not allowed to cross the mountain. But it’s OK to walk all the way up and then back the same way again, and that’s what we did. But if you have time, and the snow is not too deep, you can walk from Emangou to Guanegou. It takes a full day.
The sign says it takes 9 hours to Guanegou (that’s a bit exaggerated), you can’t use your mobile phone (no signal), and groups with less than 5 people should not continue from here.
Typical views from the road:
The stairs end and a plank road starts:
A viewing platform at the highest point of the plank road:
Looking down in the direction of Guanegou:
The path down to Guanegou was covered with deep snow, sometimes very deep, so we decided to hike back down to Emangou.