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10 treacherous trails with gorgeous views

By: Josh Lew on June 27, 2014, 1:23 p.m.
Chang Kong Cliff Road

Photo: Ian Armstrong/Flickr

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Chang Kong Cliff Road, China

Hua Shan (Hua Mountain) sits in China's Shaanxi Province about 70 miles from the ancient city of Xian. The steep climb to the summit has traditionally been used by monks and hermits as a kind of spiritual exercise. Some sections of the path are made of wood planks, many of which are centuries old, nailed to the side of the sheer cliff. After adventure seekers started coming to the mountain a few decades ago, fatalities rose. Sections have been made safer by grinding down the rock and increasing the width of the path. Safety ropes have been added to the most precarious sections of the cliffside “boardwalk.” The trek up Hua Shan is even more challenging for many hikers because they make the climb in the dark of night so they can reach the summit to see sunrise. Some say climbing at night is easier because they can't see how extreme the drop-offs along the path are.