OverviewTai Bai Shan/Taibaishan, or Supreme White Mountain in Chinese, is the highest point in China outside of the Tibetan Plateau and Central Asia regions. It is the provincial high point of Shaanxi province, higher than all but the provincial high points of the following 6 provinces: Tibet/Xizang (8848m), Xinjiang (8611m), Sichuan (7556m), Qinghai (6860m), Yunnan (6740m), and Gansu (5798m). Tai Bai Shan crowns the Qin Ling Range, the main dividing range between the Yangtze and Yellow River watersheds.
The Qin Ling Range occupies a large swath of rugged mountains separating the densely populated low lands of Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces in central China. It is a sanctuary for thousands of species of rare plants and wildlife. Currently the northern slope of the mountain up to about 3400 meters (~11100 feet) elevation constitutes the Taibaishan Scenic Area, developed for mass tourism with roads, a cable car line, and lodging facilities. The southern slope of the mountain as well as the northern slope above 3400 meters constitutes the Taibaishan Nature Preserve, which is off limits to non-Chinese citizens.
In the past Tai Bai Shan was a very remote area known as the home of Taoist hermits. Lately it has become a popular area for Chinese backpackers. Due to its high elevation, the upper mountain can experience snow fall even in July. The Monsoon weather patterns in the summer produce frequent foggy conditions and precipitation.
Getting ThereTai Bai Shan is half a day's bus ride from Xi'an (provincial capital of Shaanxi), a major city and tourist hub in central China. There are flights from most major cities in China to Xi'an.
There are two approaches to Tai Bai Shan:
North approach: via Tangyuzhen, a town in Meixian county. From there the automobile can reach about 3200 meters, then a cable car can take you to about 3350 meters. From there the main summit (Baxiantai) is about 9 kilometers on foot. There are alternative routes from this approach that have longer distance and more elevation gain.
South approach: via Houzhenzizhen, a town in Zhouzhi county. This is a much longer hike with much larger elevation gain, but the admission fees are lower.
Red TapeThe Taibaishan Nature Preserve, which covers the summit ridge area and the south slope of the mountain, is off limits to non-Chinese citizens.
Admission fees are charged at two places on each approach. The total for the north approach is Y70, the south approach Y40.