Adrenaline Junkies: Avatar Mountains, Zhangjiajie, China
Have you ever wondered where they filmed the Avatar Mountains for the movie? Zhangjiajie Forest Park has been officially renamed following the release of the film, Avatar. The movies inspiration come from the Heavenly Pillar a tall pillar of sandstone in the park which, in cloudy weather appears to float in thin air.
Zhangjiajie Forest Park is part of the larger Wulingyuan scenic area in China was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. In addition to the amazing sandstone pillars, the park offers flowing rivers, beautiful waterfalls and wild monkeys roaming around freely.
Thinking of visiting yourself? Be sure to check out the tourism site here
Key areas of the Park
Yuanjiajie Scenic Area contains “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain”. Named in 2010, is the most popular sight in Zhāngjiājiè. It is usually crowded, especially during peak travel seasons July, August, 1–3rd May, and 1–7th October.
Yuanjiajie is a steep-sided platform mountain, surrounded by higher peaks, grotesque rock pillars and deep valleys. The highlights of Yuanjiajie include The First Bridge under Heaven, where you can get some great views of the valley. Avatar Hallelujah Mountains are also here, leading to a metal suspension bridge, giving you a view down to Heavenly Pillar.
The Lost Souls Platform is about 800 meters into Yuanjiajie there is a trail zigzagging its way southward up to the top of Wuyanding Platform providing panoramic views of ‘Lost Souls Platform’. The Hundred Dragon Elevator can whisk you to the top of the mountains.
Tianzi Mountain takes the spotlight is this area because of its height. At 1,182 meters it offers the best chance of seeing the sea of clouds, mainly during the spring and early autumn. There is a cable car up to this area and it is popular with photographers.
Yangjiajie Scenic Area is a newly developed area of the park. It is the least-crowded area, with impressive scenery with challenging hiking. The steepest path is made up of slippery stone steps, going up at 70 degrees and only allowing you to pass sideways.
Old House Area is between Yuanjiajie and Tianzi Mountain. it is best reached by local hired driver, if you do not have a Chinese drivers license as it is well off the ordinary travel route.
Gold Whip Stream is a brook at the foot of the mountain. It is about a two hours walk along the stream Gold Whip Cliff which is a 400 meter high cliff by Gold Whip Stream.