One of the biggest handicaps to travel in a famous place in China are the crowds. Wherever you go you will always find people around doing just the same as you, especially if you go to famous nature sites such as the Zhangjiajie National Forest. In this post I will try to show where you can go, the path you can take and the schedule you should follow if you want to avoid as much as possible the annoying crowds.
Overall, you will need at least 2 days to visit the park, although if you really want to visit all the park you will need some more days.
Chinese people are usually early birds, so don’t bother too much to wake up at 5 am in morning to be the first one to enter the park to avoid some lines of people, you will find others like you. So I recommend to take it easy and go to your normal hour.
HERE IS WHAT I DID:
Starting from the main entrance, the Luoguta ticket station, you can take the first trail to the right that leads you to the green path area (see the map below). All this area is not really popular so expect almost no one hiking these trails. Eventually, you can reach the Zhangjiajie Suoxiyu Scenic Zone Office passing by the Golden Whip Stream. The stream is quite popular and beautiful but it is not crazy crowded.
Once you are at the Zhangjiajie Suoxiyu Scenic Zone Office you can take a free bus to the Lower Station of Ranzi mountain cableway. Avoid to go to the Bailong elevator, you can get stocked in a 3h line to take the lift. Once you are in the Ranzi area, I would totally recommend to take the cable car, the views from there are really amazing and although is very touristy it is worthy to go. Don’t expect to do a long line to take the cable car, so that is why I recommended it. Once you are on top the mountain, you can get back to the orange trail.
Eventually, you will need to go back to the base of the mountain, so there are basically two ways to do that. One and the least interesting is to take the same cable car, and the other one is to take a bus to Yuanjiajie Scenic Area. The major highlights in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area include Bailong Lift, Fields and Gardens in the Air, Natural Bridge under Heaven, Hanging Waterfall, Mihun Bridge and Tujia Village.
The way down to the base of the mountain would be to take the Bailong Elevator. If you go right before they close the park and you go from top to bottom expect no lines.
Navigate the map to check paths and areas.
Download this map and two other to help you move around within the park, they were extremely helpful to me:
LIST OF HOTELS NEAR THE LUOGUTA TICKET STATION:
Those are some hotels near the park. If you stay here you can definitely go by walk to the park I would really recommend you to go by foot so you can buy some supplies on your way to the ticket office, there is plenty of little shops where you can buy food and drinks.
If you don’t feel like walking this extra distance it is quite easy to call a taxi for a ride to the entrance of the park. Just ask to your receptionist to call a taxi for you.
These hotels are quite big so even in high season you are very likely to find a room last minute.