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Getting up Cangshan Mountain

Cangshan (苍山) is the high mountain range located just to the west of Dali Old Town, Erhai Lake and Xizhou. It is a popular local recreation area for the people of and visitors to the greater Dali region. With 19 peaks lined up from south to north, Cangshan Mountain is full of beautiful landscapes and amazing scenic sites that shouldn't be missed. At the same time, it is also an established place for geological research as well as wild animal watching. Cangshan Mountain can also be hiked up but would be too big and too far to explore for most visitors during a short visiting time. To reach higher elevations conveniently, 3 different cable cars and ropeways have been built along the range.


The Gantong Cable Car (感通索道)

The Gantong Cable Car is located under the Malong Peak (on the lower left side of above map), which is the highest elevation of the Cangshan range. It starts at Gantong Temple at the foot of the range and leads up to Qingbi Stream, which also marks the southern end of the Yudai Path (玉带路), which follows the mountain range to the north just above Dali Old Town. 

The carriages are closed by fixed doors, 6 persons per carriage

Operating hours: 8:00h - 17:00h

Price: 50 RMB / one way ticket; 80 RMB / return ticket


The Ximatan Cable Car (洗马潭索道), also known as Tianlong Cable Car (天龙索道)

The newest of the three ropeways goes almost all the way up to Yuju Peak with 4097 m. From the lower station at 2052 m it takes its passengers in closed carriages up to 3966 m. It is considered to be one of the cableways with the largest elevation gap in the world. Still, there is a middle station at which one can get off and embark for getting to the top (so it can be used for connecting hikes). At the top, the beautiful Ximatan Lake can be visited. The best views up here are usually between mid-April and end of May. Azalea flowers are blooming everywhere then.

Operating hours: 8:00h - 17:00h

Price: 340 RMB / whole way ticket; 200 RMB / half way ticket (from the middle station). All fares are for round trip tickets.


Zhonghe Cable Car (中和索道)

This is the oldest and the northernmost cable car at the Cangshan Mountain Range. From Dali's central Sanyue Street, it goes up to Zhonghe Temple, located below Zhonghe Peak. People like to take this cable car to reach the Taoist Zhonghe Temple, to sit in the gallery and enjoy a bird’s eye view of Erhai Lake and Dali. The paved Yudai Path also passes the upper station of this ropeway.

The carriages are open, 2 persons per carriage

Operating hours: 8:00h - 17:00h

Price: 40 RMB / one way ticket; 70 RMB / return ticket


Important Information:

  • These three cableways are unfortunately separately run by different companies, so tickets bought for one cable car cannot be used on another one. This is particularly important to know if you like to combine a visit to the Cangshan Mountains with a cable car ride and a hike to another cable car.
  • Make sure to reach the upper cable car stations on time as at 17:00h the operations end. Staying overnight in Cangshan mountain is possible but need to be well prepared. Reports of missing trekkers can be heard of almost every year.


Planning go up the Cangshan while in Dali? Contact us for more information, hiking guides and transfer services!