Kunming residents may have noticed a tall, barren mountain dotted with white stone that projects to the north of the Green Lake area and to the west of Beichen.
This is the 2,345 meter-high Changchong Mountain (长虫山), which provides a convenient way to get out of town, see some nature, and get panoramic views of Kunming—in a much more relaxed atmosphere than the occasionally circus-like Xishan.
Changchong Mountain has hiking paths and a road that allows people to drive almost all the way to the top, but a big draw for local cyclists is that it provides the most grueling bicycle ascent anywhere near Kunming.
To get to the base of the mountain from the Green Lake area, go east on Yieryi Dajie to the traffic interchange and then head north on Longquan Lu (龙泉路) for about six kilometers—until reaching the mouth of Hongyun Lu (红云路), shortly after passing the Kunming Cigarette Factory (昆明卷烟厂) on the left side.
Across from the mouth of Hongyun Lu, there is a small road that runs west and uphill, skirting the side of the cigarette factory (photo at left). This is the road to the top of the mountain. If when following this road you are inundated with the sickly sweet smell of cured tobacco, you are on the right track.
Hikers could also take the number 84 bus north from the Jianshe Lu (建设路) bus stop to the Shangzhuang (上庄) stop, which will place you on Hongyun Lu, about 100 meters east from the road up the mountain.
After a short but very steep paved climb, you will pass through a gate (photo at left) where you may be required to register at a fire protection checkpoint (name, phone number, and entry time). From here, continue upward, taking the uphill and most worn branch of the road when in doubt. There is also a hiking trail that branches off to the left shortly after the gate and cuts through the switchbacks of the road.
Eventually you will pass the construction site of a new visitor center and arrive at a stone post labeled "Changchong Mountain Ecology Park" in an amusing hybrid of simplified and traditional characters (長虫山生态公園). Take a left here.
You will soon see the peak of the mountain and it is easy enough to find one's own way to the top.
Upon reaching the top you will be more than 450 vertical meters higher than Green Lake, and if you have been cycling continuously from the cigarette factory, your legs will be on fire and you'll be gasping for breath.
Barring smog or fog, your reward for the climb will be a 360-degree view of Kunming, Xishan, and the forested hills to the north.
On the way back, cyclists can follow an alternate route by going right and through a quarry a few hundred yards below the stone post. Follow this road downhill. It will eventually dump you out further south on Longquan Lu.© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.