Tianbo Mansion is a set of rock formation visible within the park. A trail beginning near the Yuanjiajie cable car station leads hikers to the beautiful views. We started this hike early, so the trail wasn’t overly crowded. It leads down the mountain and then off to the side where it climbs a rock formation to reach the view of the mansion.
The trail, after it leaves the main descent, narrows and gets much more interesting. Part of it squeezes through some super tight spaces between rocks and around ledges. Eventually, metal wrung bridges and ladders lead up to the top of a rock for the view of the mansion. It got very congested at this point because there was limited room for movement and precarious trails to traverse. Going to the top is nice, but personally, I think the views and experience are better from the small trail that wraps around the rock tower.
We took a shuttle bus back to the Tianzi Mountain Scenic Zone. Similar to the trail with Hallelujah Mountain and the “Most Peculiar Bridge,” the viewpoints closest to the top are ridiculously crowded. The views are spectacular, but the jostling crowds can be off-putting.
After a quick lunch, we began our downward climb toward Ten-Mile Gallery. The Trail is stairs, lots and lots of stairs going down. It splits at one point. We chose to take what was supposed to be the more exciting and difficult of the two because it was supposed to have chain ladders, metal bridges, and the like. However, the trail has been made more accessible and probably safer with lots and lots of stairs.
A lot of our hiking took place during Chinese lunch time, so the trail wasn’t too crowded until around 1:30 when the tour groups started ending their lunches. Crowds picked up all the way to the bottom, not like at the top, but not peaceful like you want when hiking in nature.
Another reason we took the “harder” trail down was to go through the Ten-Mile Gallery back to the shuttle station. We took the little tram, as recommended by many others, only to our disappointment. The views weren’t that great and we couldn’t do it at our own pace. We had just climbed down a mountain, we could have walked another mile or so on a level path (the trail isn’t ten miles, that’s just a hyperbolic name). That would have allowed for us to enjoy the scenery better.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is spectacular. I would go back and explore more of its wonders. I would also try to figure out when the lowest number of tourist is there and plan my trip according to that.