Mt Qingcheng is located in Sichuan province north west of Chengdu (成都), map link here. The name of the mountain literally translates to ‘Green City’ and it is easy to see why; the scenery is verdant and lush, dotted with clear streams.
The quickest way to get out to the mountain is by train. The high speed train takes about 50mins from Chengdu Station and cost 15 yuan. You can also get on the train one stop down at XiPu station (犀浦站), if you are already on the northern side of Chengdu, I would say this is more convenience. Book your train tickets a few days in advance as they do sell out, english.ctrip.com is just one of many sites that lets you book online.
Once you get to Qingchengshan train station (青城山火车站) you then need to board a mini bus to take you to the mountain. This is where you need to decide whether to explore the front mountain (Qián shān, 前山) or the back mountain (Hòu shān, 后山). The front mountain is the more developed tourist precinct with the main attraction being numerous Daoist temples, the temples are beautiful but I much prefer the walk up back mountain. Either way the mini buses will be marked front (前山) or back (后山) so it is easy to get on the right one.
The bus ride to back mountain takes about 30 minutes and will costs around 20 yuan. The bus drops you off in a group of restaurants that sell some fairly decent home style food. The entrance gate is located in a tiny village called Ping le (Píng lè cūn, 坪乐村), mostly just a bunch of newly made ‘ancient buildings’ selling souvenirs. Head towards the Jinli lower cable car stop (Jīn lí suǒdào xià zhàn, 金骊索道下站) for the start of the walking tracks. The track up the back mountain is a loop with a temple at the top. As with every nature park in China it is impossible to find an accurate map, but this one at least shows the major landmarks. We headed up the eastern track, board walks and steps wound among creeks and dense forest, expect heaps of stairs. There were lots of little pagodas along the way to rest in . We also passed many locals selling snacks and drinks, all were very over priced so I would recommend taking your own food.
Heading along the eastern track you’ll come to a lake where you pay 2 yuan to take the ferry across a small lake. The ferry is compulsory, you can’t walk around, but it doesn’t take very long. After that the next main land mark is the upper bai yun cable car station (Báiyún suǒdào shàng zhàn， 白云索道上站）. It probably took us a solid two hours to make it up to the station. After that it was another hour up to the temple. The temple itself was pretty standard but what I found way more interesting was the Guan Yin grotto on the way. A carved out cave full of statues.
After the temple we continued on the loop to the Jinli upper cable car station (Jīn lí suǒdào shàng zhàn, 金骊索道下站) and caught a car back down to the start of the track. Then we caught another mini bus back to the train station, and then back on the train to Chengdu.
All in all we probably spent four hours on the mountain and that was at a rush, I would say you would want five or six hours to fully explore the mountain at a relaxed pace.
Getting there: High speed train from Chengdu Station or XiPu Station to QingChengShan Station-> Mini bus to Back Mountain
Cost: Train ticket return CNY 30, Park entry CNY 20
What to bring: Sunscreen, hat, insect repellent, water and snacks