Yunnan Hiking Tour from Dagu Niuzhai Mountain to Dahai Caoshan Mountain

The Dagu Niuzhai Mountain to Dahai Caoshan Mountain hiking tour is a popular itinerary in China that covers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the area. Here is a detailed guide on how to plan and prepare for this hiking trip:

Duration: 3 days and 2 nights

Total Distance: Approximately 50 km

Best Time to Visit: March to May and September to November

Day 1: Dagu Niuzhai Mountain

  • Start your hiking tour by arriving in Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan province
  • Take a bus or drive to Dagu Niuzhai Mountain, which is located about 120 km away from Kunming
  • Hike through the lush forests and breathtaking views of the mountain
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch at the top of the mountain before returning to Kunming

Day 2: Dahai Caoshan Mountain

  • Start your day by driving or taking a bus to Dahai Caoshan Mountain, which is located about 100 km away from Kunming
  • Hike through the mountain’s beautiful scenery, including the Stone Forest and Red River Gorge
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch at the top of the mountain before returning to Kunming

Day 3: Departure from Kunming

  • Spend the morning exploring any remaining sights in Kunming that you may have missed
  • Depart from Kunming and end your hiking tour

Note: The hiking routes on Dagu Niuzhai Mountain and Dahai Caoshan Mountain are well-maintained and marked, but it’s always a good idea to bring a map and compass to avoid getting lost. Also, make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring enough food, water, and sunscreen.


  • Research the hiking routes and make sure you are in good physical condition
  • Bring a map and compass to avoid getting lost
  • Wear comfortable shoes and bring enough food, water, and sunscreen
  • Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly
  • Obtain any necessary travel permits or tickets in advance

Overall, the Dagu Niuzhai Mountain to Dahai Caoshan Mountain hiking tour is a great way to explore the natural beauty of Yunnan province. By following this guide, you can plan and prepare for a safe and enjoyable hiking trip.

Yunnan Hiking Tour from Dagu Niuzhai Mountain(大牯牛寨山) in Dongchuan(东川) to Dahai Caoshan Mountain(大海草山)in Huize County(会泽县)

 Two months ago, I took a trip to Dongchuan(东川) with my friends—Binbin,Aya and Haibo. We made a team name of “ Four Old Men” and promised to write a travelogue about what we have seen and felt during this trip. They have already finished their works early except me. Well, I haven’t finished yet. Actually, I wrote many unnecessary details and much nonsense with my phone on the coach back to Zhaotong(昭通). Then, I got a good rest and thrown myself into daily work. I used my spare to modify the writing but only made it a mess. I really don’t know how to continue, but I have to finish it as I promised.

Climbing was not my first choice for the Dragon Boat Festival. In the end, I decided to join this trip due to a series of uncontrollable factors such as the time conflict. Our organizer is Binbin( though he told us that Haibo海波 had planed this trip at first).

Daguniuzhai Village in Dongchuan – Dahai Caoshan Mountain in Huize County (东川大牯牛寨—会泽大海草山)

The route is from Daguniuzhai Village(大牯牛寨) of Dongchuan(东川) to Dahaicaoshan Mountain(大海草山) in Huize(会泽). I had misestimated the trip from the very beginning. I prepared myself rough mountaineering equipment in a hurry( As I was grateful for having a pair of climbing shoes since Binbin said that would be enough for the trip, he sent me a list a few minutes later which containing 20 more needs. Well, Ifelt being cheated). At about 12 o’clock, I took a coach which set off from Zhaotong(昭通) to Dongchuan(东川). I thought it won’t take us too long; however, it actually took us 5 hours to get there. I felt being cheated again!

I was the first one arrived at Dongchuan(东川) in our team, so I was asked to arrange accommodations. Dongchuan(东川) was not that hot as I had imagined due to the rain. I wandered aimlessly aroud the street alone. Accidently, a hotel across the street caught my eyes. I went to have a look with no hesitation and called Binbin斌斌. The room was simply furnished but very clean, and with hot water,free WiFi and suitable prize.  So we booked rooms there. It was not until that time did I knew that we actually got 10 partners in this trip.

I only knew two persons in this team—Binbin斌斌 and Haibo海波. Binbin, an artistic youth, is my classmate and also an unreliable boy. He loves traveling around, doing experiments and taking actions. Haibo is our junior alumnus and also an artistic youth. In my impression, he always has a smiling face and he can play guitar and write good articles. Binbin introduced Aya, a considerate girl who watches sunrise everyday to me. I merely talk to strangers, but we had a friendly chat the first time we met. Then, we came to be “The Four Old Men” of this trip(I might not like art as they do, but, never mind). Others in the team are basically born in 1990s. In the end, I came to realize that they are truly trouble-makers.

The rest of them finally arrived at half past even. Then, we arranged our accommodations, had dinner and prepared solid food and water for the next day. In consideration of my poor physicalstrength, I also prepared a bottle of Red Bull( a kind of energy drink in China). The organizer Binbin suggested us to take along silk stockings, sulfur soap and essential balm which could prevent us from leeches since the leech is our biggest threaten during the trip. However, not until we divided other needs did he realize that he had forgotten about the sulfur soap. Aya阿雅 and I couldn’t help complaining about this since he had promised to bring one. It was 11 p.m., all the stores were closed and we had to set off at 5:50 a.m., so, we had to forget about the sulfur soap. Fortunately, Aya阿雅 had brought us essential balm.

Not long after I went to bed, I had realized that it was completely wrong to choose this hotel in a hurry. The flowing trucks outside the window were so noisy that I took a long time to fall asleep. However, I was soon awaked by the rain and then got worried about the weather. It was not even 4 a.m., but I couldn’t fall asleep anymore.

Soon, at about 5 a.m., I got up after Aya . She is used to getting up early, taking a quick wash and then going out for sunrise. I felt very dizzy and uncomfortable because of the bed rest. Haibo had persuaded me to take a bottle of HZL(藿香正气水 a kind of medicine) last night, or I would feel worse. Aya was so considerate that she made me a cup of coffee when I was washing.

We called two minibus and the drivers picked us on time. We arrived at our start point Jijieping(基节坪) of Lizigou village(李子沟) after over one hour’s driving of mountain road. The rain had stopped, but the visibility was still very low due to the heavy fog. A younger sister in our car kept asking why there are people living in such high mountains. I felt very puzzled and angry about this since I am actually living in such a mountain in Yunnan(云南).

                                                      Overlook from Jijieping (基节坪)
With the help of a villager, we found our tour guide Mr. Li. He led us the way to climb with a small but heavy pack of salt on his back. He told us the salt was for his sheep.

The rain had stopped but made the road very muddy. It was very hard to move forward with massive mud on our shoes, so, Mr. Li led us to another road in the forest. The trees were wet but the grass helped to wipe out the mud and made it easier to move on.

Due to the bad rest, my liver began to ache, but I was attracted by the wet yellow flower alongside. I felt my packsack became heavier and heavier even I had already lost much weight of it. I asked Haibo to exchange his pack with me since his pack was smaller and lighter than mine. Though, with less weight on my back, my liver got much more painful.

                                                  Wet Beautiful Flowers
Soon, we arrived at a place where people were paving concrete stairs. Mr. Li told us that was for tourism development. Binbin said it was grateful that we could see much more original scenery than others since we had came here before tourism.

The stairs were very steep. Many earthworms were washed out by the heavy rain. I had never seen such big earthworms before. They were about a-finger thick and very long. They were very dreadful.

                                          Long And Big Earthworms
As the elevation had risen fast during this distance, my liver got more painful. My face, back and legs were all soaked with streaming sweat. I couldn’t tell whether the sweat came from ache or tiredness. Haibo and Aya kept persuading me to take the medicine which can strengthen my spleen and stomach. I really felt better and the speeded up. The stairs seemed to go up the cliff endlessly. We were amazed at the floating clouds when we stand on the stairs for a short break. We climbed for another one hour and had met two camping men. Then Mr. Li told us that we had only risen from 2600 meters to 2800 meters. That was only 200 meters. I was so stunned about that since our destination is 4017 meters.

                The Winding Stairs And Struggling Us.
I was familiar with mountains, but I had never seen a mountain, a road like this. In my memory, the mountain road could be muddy or even covered with branches and grass, but at least I can see it. However, there, your road was on a cliff which is full of rocks.

When Mr. Li took us to the cliff, I was about to cry since I had serious acrophobia. With floating clouds around but no road on the cliff, I was extremely eager to go home. Mr. Li tried to comfort us and then climbed over the cliff. Haibo climbed over it, too. I was so afraid but still decided to do this quickly since I worried I would lose my confidence then. Staring at the bare and wet rocks in my front, I followed Mr. Li’s guidance to move my hands and feet very cautiously. When I finally climbed it over and saw the familiar road, I suddenly felt powerless and knelt down. My gloves, knee pads and clothes were all soaked with my sweat, fog and dew. The floating clouds were very beautiful but also tormented us a lot since they had brought much moisture and blocked out our sights. The road was so wet, slippery and muddy. I almost crawled through it.


                      The Fog Is Coming.   No-road Cliff And Frustrated Me
However, all sufferings would go away when you saw the extremely gorgeous scenery. You could never imagine the feel of the moment you stepped on the heaven. Due to the clouds, the faraway mountains were partly hidden and partly visible. It seemed that we could touch the sky with our hands. A gust of wind not only calmed us down but also made the faraway mountains come out to show their beauties.

     Faraway Views        The Direction of This Photo Is Just Right
The road was tougher than we had imagined. After the first cliff, the road was almost alongside the cliff with no mud, no grass and very slippery after rain. It was so hard to move on that I had to watch out every step with great care. On the contrary, the arrogant and fearless 90s thought they were gifted and skilled as they had watched many outdoor safari shows. They sometimes drank from the river and sometimes jumped here and there like a monkey. The reality was not like the shows yet.

Xiaoming, one of our members, came to be the first one to climb over a cliff. Mr. Li told him to stay and wait for others, but he was so impatient. I climbed over the cliff after him and dared to move but then wait for others. A few minutes later, Xiaoming moved before all members came to our side. I saw him lifted his right foot, stepped on a stone and suddenly fell down on his back. I was so frightened to catch him but screamed instead. I saw him fell down the cliff and then rolled a circle. Hearing my scream, Haibo ran out from my back to catch him, but he failed. At that dangerous moment, Mr. Li ran to him quickly and caught him successfully before he fell down the cliff. He had rolled two circles; one more circle would kill him. I can’t find any words to describe that thrilling moment. I nearlysaw a life gone at that moment. Everyone was frightened. I would blame myself for the rest of my life if Xiaoming lost his life in such a way. Haibo told me that he would be very sad and regret if Mr. Li hadn’t caught Xiaoming. Then, what about me? I hadn’t done anything but screamed at that time. I was the one should felt sad and regret. However, no matter Haibo or I would fell down together with Xiaoming if we had caught him, we both knew that clearly.

Xiaoming insisted he was fine, so we moved on after a 10-minutes break. Few minutes later, I heard people in the rear screamed again. I suddenly felt powered off and worried something bad had happened. Ilooked back and then came to know that Aya’s pack had been dropped down the cliff by accident. Aya had prepared some solid food for Mr. Li in that pack (Mr. Li’s nephew helped to take Aya’s pack). I was so tired of those screams.

As we walked through the cliffs, we came to a bamboo forest in which full with bamboos higher than us and I couldn’t tell their names. We were wet when we walked through the bamboos. I walked behind the team and suddenly the 90s screamed in the front. I was so distraught since their screams only came from a small waterfall. Aya and I told them not to scream when there was actually nothing happened because we were all tired of screams. I didn’t know what to say about their so-called waterfall as the fall along the highway was more spectacular than this one.

            The Screaming ‘Waterfall’
Soon, we came to a cliff again. I didn’t know how to express my feeling when I saw the cliff even we had made a hard way here. The cliff was almost vertical. We could only see a few raised rocks and holes but not a road. It was just like rock climbing. As a Chinesesaying goes:” It is easier to climb uphill than to go downhill”(上山容易下山难). At that time, we couldn’t go back either since we could only fall down the cliff if we went back. Binbin gave his pack to Mr. Li and went first, then me and Haibo. I hardly knew how to move but with my hands grasped the stone firmly and moved forward with my knees. My knees would be wounded badly without the knee pads. The only thing I could do at that moment was to stare at the rocks before me. Although, Mr. Li had kept telling me how to move, my mind wet blank. Additionally, Binbin kept shouting that he couldn’t see any road at all, so, I did go to the wrong directions. Thanks to Aya’ and Mr. Li’ s warning, I went back to the right way. I’d like to give my biggest thanks to Haibo since that he lifted my feet with his hands all the way to make me feel safety. When I finally came to see the road hidden in the grass besides the cliff, I climbed over the cliff with my knees. I sat down in the wet grass and didn’t want to stand up even though my clothes, pants and hair got soaked again. That stretch of road was a natural moat for me, but luckily, I went through it in the end.


                          Poised 90s
At this point, Mr. Li told us we only got one more dangerousstretch to go. Not until that time did I knew that we actually have another further but safer road than this one. What’s more, it we took another way, we could pass a Taoist temple named Zixia Palace(紫霞宫). However, Zixia Palace was in the reconstruction. Mr. Li thought that it was fine to choose this dangerous way since we are all young persons. Nonetheless, we nearly got in big troubles.

In the end, we came to the last dangerous stretch. It was actually easier than what we have went through. The only problem was that there were thousands of loose rocks which were about a fist size. We needed to pay much attention since those rocks were very easy to be crept down. If you were in the front, you need to not stepping down the rocks to attack the latter; if you were in the latter, you need to pay attention to not being attacked by the falling rocks. I climbed up to the slope, looked back and came to find Binbin kneeled down. It turned out that he had got a leg cramp. I took a picture of him. I nearly used my phone on the way I was too tired to take out my phone.

It was finally lunch time-12 a.m. after climbing over several hills. I ate my solid food (I only had solid food since I had ate my canned rice porridge earlier to reduce my burden), drank some water , had a short break and then we srt off again. Mr. Li told us that we might climb to the top at about 2 p.m. and though the road go down may be easier but also more further.

                                                          The Road We Went By
Gradually, the mountain was no longer covered with stones but grass. We could go up the mountain as we like only if the direction is right. The grass was sparse and shorter than our shoes. There were flowers in the grass and clusters of azalea had already withered away. As we felt so sorry to miss the blossom, Mr. Li told us that we might see some white azalea in higher areas. The road was no dangerous anymore but very tiring because of its gradient of 40%. Ioccasionally find several beautiful yellow flowers and then ran to have a look though I couldn’t tell their names. I felt happier after seeing those flowers. As we went higher, we could see clusters of white azalea, but when we went nearly to have a look, only to find they are about fading away.

                                                      Beautiful Yellow Flowers

                                              Withered White Azalea高山白杜鹃

Finally, we could get an instinct glimpse of the prayer flags fluttering on the top, but the slope got steeper and steeper. Aya and I exclaimed that being young was so great as we were left far behind the team. The 90s in the front were truly delighted. The sun came out to burn the land. Aya and I had already put on sunscreen, so we were fine with the ultraviolet light. However, others were all got sunburned by the intense ultraviolet light.

                                                              Sunny Day

                                                                Before Climbing to The Top
There was a Mani stones (玛尼堆) and praying music on the top. Heavy clouds were floating on the other side of the mountain and many hills were hidden in them. It was a glorious sight to see many beautiful purple flowers blossomed all over those hills. We took a picture in the front of a stele on which the altitude of the mountain was engraved. Not far away from the stele was the remains of the old translator station(转播台遗址). It almost became a ruin since the local villagers had taken away the most of the bricks, left only some broken bricks and its base.

                      Devoutly Prying

                                        To the Submmit
Mr. Li urged us to leave for Dacaohai Mountain(大草海山) as quickly as we could. The first stretch was not easy because of the puddles hidden in the grass. Fortunately, the water proofness of my shoes were pretty good, so the inner was not soacked. Otherwise, Icouldn’t make it to the destination. Along our road, we met the two camping men again and another two group of people who climbed to the top from Dacaohai Mountain.

                                The First Stretch We Go Down The Hill
It was pretty easy as we walked through the meadows most of the time. We continuously climbed over several hills but still couldn’t see the end of the meadows. There were countless sheep and cows, yellow, white and purple flowers in the grass. This was really different from what we have seen in the morning. However, I was despaired of these no-end mountains. Xiaoming was left behind because of his painful foot.  Although Haibo had sprayed Yunnan Baiyao on his foot for couple of times, he still felt painful and walked lamely.  So, Binbin gave his alpenstock to him.

                                                                The The Border of Pasture

                                                Cute Yellow Flowers( Fog Again)

We were to emotional to say a word when we finally see the distant Mongolian yurt we were going to live. There was a river between us and the Mongolian yurt. How I wish I could grow wings and fly to it. However, we had to go down to the river, across the river and then climb up to the Mongolian yurt. The mountain on the opposite was full of sheep. It was very spectacular to hear sheep bleating all around. We “Four Old Men” took a picture at that time. We could see from the picture that I was abused by them.

                                            Animals All Around But Don’t Afraid of People
There were thousands of leeches in the river due to the countless sheep and cows alongside. We were all bothered by the leech when we crossed the river. I was so lucky to prevent leeches from my skin owing to wearing the silk stockings which Aya had given to me.


                                                    The River in Which We Attacked by Leeches
After 10 hours, we finally arrived at our destination Dacaohai Mountain at about 5 o’clock. We had shish kebab and baked potatoes for rest.

                                    Shish Kebab (too salty)
Considerate that the Mongolian yurt was not suitable to live, we decided to call a minibus to Huize(会泽). However, the driver was not so reliable that he not only raised the fee but also helped the host of the Mongolian yurt charging us 100 as default.

We went to Yangbawan(羊八碗)to have dinner, but the severs were not very friendly. I was too tired to quarrel about this. The severs’ attitude finally changed because Binbin and Haibo had lost their temper. I was powerless and dizzy. At first, I thought I was too tired, but I finally came to realize that I was just too hungry since I cheered up a lot after having a bowl of rice.

After dinner, I got a fever because of the changeable weather and my clothes got wet, dry.wet and dry for the whole day. Aya had a cold, too. So, Haibo accompanied Aya to buy some medicine though it rained outside. They also took me some medicen.

We found a hotel, took a shower and then went to bed but couldn’t fall asleep. When I closed my eyes, I could only see the cliffs we climbed over before. So, we “Four Old Men” chatted on the phone till late nite.

The next day, we took Binbin’s advice to eat a kind of porridge made of white pea稀豆粉. However, I preferred to the one I usually eat in Zhaotong. Then, we booked tickets and said goodbyes to each other.

When we walked on the meadow, Binbin asked me what I was thinking about when I climbed over the cliff. To be frankly, my mind went blank at that time. I dared think about nothing but the stones which I grasped and stepped. I was afraid of falling down the cliff if Idivided my attention.

This kind of trip is very rare in my life. This is the first time I conquered myself. My acrophobia was almost cured by this trip. This is a worthy trip since I had climbed over the wonderland and witnessed the picturesque scenery. However, this might be a one-time experience. I would choose another further but safer road next time if I went to Dongchuan. So luckily, we came back safe and sound. My words can’t describe our emotion along this trip but to write down some important moments. You can’t imagine what we have seen and saw with the help of these pictures, either. You can only experience Iwith your own feet.

I forgot who sad this: “We went through fire and water, right?”

I replied: “Yes! We are like Damon and Pythias now.”

This trip would be one of my valuable memories in my whole life. My life seemed to be easier than before after taking such a risk. Only one time is enough, to stand higher in the sky and touch the clouds.

This article might not be a travel journey I really don’t know how to write a travel journey. This could only be a rambling diary which I used to record those important moment.

Last but not least, I’d like to say thank you to Binbin, Haibo and Aya. Binbin is an excellent organizer even though he might be unreliable sometimes. He brought me knee gaps and alpenstocks, together with my own climbing boots and gloves, formed my most important weapons along the road. Thanks for Aya’s coffee, silk stockings and essential balm. What’ more, she accompanied and encouraged me all the way. Haibo helped me a lot, too. He prepared medicine for us, exchanged his lighter pack with my heavier one and so on. I also want to express my appreciation to Mr. Li. This trip would be completely a horrible disaster without him. Likewise, thepartners who took pictures for us are very important. Thank you so much. (Fine, that’s all)

Chinese Version: