We particularly wanted to get onto the plank walk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsGC0lZ-5g8).
Once dropped off at the east ticket gate (and paying the rather expensive 180 yuan entrance) we had to take a taxi to the west gate which is where you can start the hike up to the various Mt. Hua peaks.
After reading various websites and speaking to people along the way we found out that the walk takes 2-5 hours depending on which route you take and which peak you want to get to. The quicker routes are the most difficult (Soldier’s Path). We weren’t particularly worried about which route to take, as long as we got to the plank walk.
After 5 hours of hiking with just a couple of short breaks, only a couple of pieces of fruit and not enough water we came across a friendly Canadian guy that had been walking since the gates opened at 6am. He broke the news to us that we have another 3 hours to go to the plank walk and it was closed! At this point I was probably the hungriest I’ve ever been, dehydrated and very tired. After admiring the view for a while we headed back down.
We would have continued, but another 3 hours up meant missing the last bus/train back home and potentially being stranded on the mountain unless we got an extremely expensive taxi back home (Mt. Hua to Shuyuan Hostel is about a 2.5 hour drive in the traffic).
Mt. Hua is definitely one we’ll be coming back to, we both want to walk the plank at least once!
(People add locks to the chain hand rail to symbolise good luck/health for their family.)