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near Foxinqiao, Jiangsu (China)
Track distance includes the gondola up. The walking decent is around 4 kilometers.
There are several Wikilocs crossing "Purple Mountain", all following different routes. The previous ones climb on foot, however this Wikiloc takes the "Purple Mountain Cableway" (Gondola) up to near the peak. The number of Wikilocs attest to the popularity of Purple Mountain as a real nature experience close to the city centre, a natural hillside forest.
Purple mountain is in "Zhongshan Mountain National Park". Regarding the Park name , Zhongshan is part of the name of numerous parks in China honoring Sun Yat-sen, President of Republican China, whose mausoleum is further east and on the south slope of Purple Mountain.
At upper elevation there is a subtle change in vegetation and occasional wildflower carpets (mid-march). This descending track follows the most direct, easiest, continuously downhill route back to the gondola base station. There are lots of interesting views and points of interest along the upper part of this descent.
There is an alternate more challenging, hilly descent that continues along the ridge-line and passes the astronomical observatory.
There was a 60 RMB one-way gondola fee, however the large "Zhongshan Mountain National Park" is free. We were surprised to find a KFC with a nice outdoor balcony approx. 100 m up the road from the top gondola station.
Back at the gondola base station, there are WC, and taxi touts waiting. Alternatively there is an approx 1.5 to 2 kilometer boardwalk down to more busy streets with Subway access and bus stops. That path follows near the the access road, in the shadow of the Ming City Wall (shows on Open cycle map). If it's spring, the nearby Plum Blossom Festival is a short taxi ride, the trees were in bloom in mid-March 2019..
This track recorded on March 11, 2019, a poor air quality index (AQI) day, so some photos are processed to highlight the city view in the background. Wikiloc default maps might not work inside China. The Jiangsu Province free Wikiloc download is necessary to record new Chinese wikilocs, and the "open city" or "open cycle" map selections work very well for viewing in-China Wikiloc tracks and waypoints.
A short circular driveway provides a convenient taxi drop off about 100m below the gondola ticket station.
The Ming city wall runs along the side of the access road and is visible from the gondola base station.
Bamboo forests in this area.
The gondola pauses mid-way up and the doors open. This is convenient for anyone who only wants to hike half way down, or just get to the observatory as directly as possible. Otherwise just stay in the gondola car and continue up after 1/2 minute or so.
there are spectacular city and lake views from the large deck. The Yangtze River may be visible on a clearer day. Some photos are processed for background clarity (it was a poor AQI day).
The area is also called the Tuo Tuo Ling Scenic Area. There was a temple on the ridge in ancient times.
The path up from the Gondola station is only accessible for a few hundred meters, and ends at a small rocky outcrop on the peak of Purple Mountain. Not too crowded in mid-March.
From the description plaque:
"Completed in 1995, the No. 1 Maitreya Buddha in Jiangnan (the south of the Yangtze River) is 4 meters high and 6 meters wide, weighing more than 100 tons. It was cast according to the image of Qibi, a famous monk in the Five Dynasties Period who is also called Hop-Pocket Monk."
View over the Old Imperial Palace Lake Park to downtown
Nanjing City. (Photo processed to highlight background structures.)
From information plaque:
"As one of the Three Wonderful Stones in Jinling, it tells a moving story about how Xiao Sihua, a noted figure of the Six Dynasties, became a good friend of the Emperor by playing zither on the stone here."
An abandoned, decaying military bunker has a rooftop observation deck. It is accessible along a short narrow footpath.
A large landing near the gondola mid-station exit. Snacks, large well maintained toilets.
From here, this track takes a direct descent down the southeast side of the mountain. It has a constant downward grade, all smooth surfaced with even steps, continuously through forest, no more special views or points of interest, and exits onto a paved lane with easy walking back to the gondola base station.
Alternatively, the more challenging main path (illustrated on the gondola tickets) continues along the ridge and passes the observatory area, with some uphill sections.
From here is is easy walking along a narrow lane back to the gondola base station.
The lane emerges at a parking lot near the gondola base station.