Located in the northern part of Wulingyuan Scenic Area in Hunan Province, Tianzi (Son of Heaven) Mountain Nature Reserve is one of the four scenic spots in Wulingyuan (three other spots are the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the Suoxiyu Natural Resource Reserve and the Yangjiajie Scenic Area). It covers an area of 67 square kilometers (about 16,550 acres), and the highest peak is 1,262 meters (about 4,140 feet) above the sea level.
Tianzi Mountain provides stunning views of peaks, which rise one after another. It is known as ‘the Monarch of the Peak Forest’. At the top of the mountain, visitors can see the full extent of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area. Beautiful scenes of the mountain greet visitors in different seasons. There are four wonders: the Sea of Clouds, the Radiance of the Moonlight, Rays of Sunshine and the Snow in winter.
Tianzi Mountain takes its name from a man, Xiang Dakun. He was the leader of the Tu ethnic group during the last years of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 -1279). Xiang Dakun led a revolution and avowed himself as Tianzi (Son of Heaven). Visiting the Tianzi Mountain Area, visitors can see many sites about his story, the most impressive being: the Yu Bi Peaks, the Xian Nü San Hua, and the Shen Bing Ju Hui.
With pine trees on the top, the Yu Bi (imperial brushes) Peaks rise upward into the sky. Legend goes that they are brushes the Tianzi-Xiang Dakun used that became stone peaks after his martyrdom. The Xian Nv San Hua (floral tributes by fairies) is slightly opposite the Yu Bi Peaks. A legend goes that Xiang Dakun and his army were defeated to fall back on the Tianzi Mountain. He fought to the finish, but finally jumped off the cliff. A girl in love with him went across the mountain to search for him. She strewed flowers over the cliffs and turned into a stone statue. Shen Bing Ju Hui is a forest of soldier-like peaks arrayed for a review.
Visitors can take a cable car to see these charming peaks. With 692 meters’ (about 2,270 feet) difference in elevation, the aerial tramway is 2,084 meters (about 2,279 yards) in length. The minimum running time is six minutes and twenty-two seconds for a single trip during which visitors can keep the wonderful scenery of the Tianzi Mountain in view.
The yearly average temperature of Tianzi Mountain is 12 degrees centigrade, and annual average rainfall is 1,800 millimeters. There are around 240 frost-free days. The best months to explore this mountain are April, May, September and October.