There are two roads leading up to the top of Niubei Mountain, one of which is travelling through Sanhe Township of Yingjing County, while the other is to go through Lengqi Town of Luding County. But at present due to the fact that Niubei Mountain is still in the tourism development stage of closure development, access by both road is blocked by the government. It is expect to be open again in October 2017.
April and May is the best season for hiking in Niubei Mountain, when the weather gradually gets warm, the best time of year to watch the spectacular sea of clouds. From June to September it is the rainy season, when it rains, it is difficult to see the sunrise, and on the top of the mountain there is too much fog, making it hard to see the beauty of the sea of flowing clouds; From September until winter, when the rainy season has already gone, the weather becomes relatively stable, and it is relatively easy to see the top of the mountain scenery, but the disadvantage is that there are more tourists, and up the mountain in the winter there is ice on the road, which calls for special attention. Every year from December to March in the following year it is the winter control period of Niubei Mountain. In addition, Niubei Mountain has an ever-changing weather, with the weather in completely different states on the top of the mountain and at the mountain foot. You have better make a phone call to the mountain top innkeeper before departure, to make clear of the weather condition, and don’t trust the weather forecast.
There is a shuttle bus at Chengdu Xin’nanmen Bus Station, which sets off at 9:30 every morning bound for Hailuogou Valley, passing by Lengqi Town. The entire drive takes about 5 to 6 hours, but if you encounter road repair you will need around seven to eight hours; after arriving at Lengqi Town, you can choose to spend the night, or you can also take the local small vans or motorcycle heading for Yujingou, the route of which is 13 kilometers. From here you can hike up the mountain on the second day; If you have already booked the accommodation in Yujingou, you can also call the innkeeper and ask for a pick-up; Or contact a driver and charter a four wheel drive sport utility vehicle to climb up the mountain, which costs about 1000-1500 Yuan per vehicle, and takes about four hours driving to the top of the mountain.
If you find accommodation in Yujingou, you will generally encounter a lot of hiking travelers. You may consult the innkeeper for hiking route, as there are many forks in the road on the way up the mountain, and also there are many shortcuts to shorten the distance. Under normal circumstances it takes 7 to 8 hours to reach the top, but it should be adjusted according to the personal body situation; you need take a rest when necessary. The process of hiking begins at Yujingou, with the entire route of around 35 kilometers, and relatively much elevation rise. It is suggested to bring medicine against altitude sickness in case of emergency. 1.5 to 2 hours of hiking up later, there is a place called Pumai Village, where the “Pumai Youth Hostel” catches the eyes with its unique architectural style and strong sense of art. If you choose to hike up the mountain, you had better take a pair of masks because of the road dust. About all the food supply along the way, especially in the winter, it is better to bring chocolate or snickers or other food of high calorie; If the water is too heavy, you can also bring fruits like pears, tomatoes to quench thirst and supply energy, but in the winter it is strongly recommended to equipped with at least a vacuum cup of hot water; It might snow on the mountain if you climb in the winter; To go through huge wind and snow fog, gloves, scarves, hats, anti-skid climbing shoes, knee pads, (two) sticks, ski-wear, charge pants and cold preservation measures must be prepared, but you also need to prevent overheating while climbing, as sweat easily causes a cold; Halfway up the mountain the “Clouds Households” owns a retail section for complement with emergency food, and there you can also boil water, warm yourself by a fire, cook instant noodles, etc; When reaching the top of the mountain the innkeeper generally can provide simple meals, as all the foods are shipped from below, the charge will be a bit expensive.
On the top of the mountain, there are all tents at present, among which large dormitory costs 50 Yuan/person/night, while a single room 100-200 Yuan/person/night. The accommodation condition is relatively poor, and you can bring your own sleeping bags, of which the temperature scale can be adjusted according to the season between -15 ℃ to – 20 ℃; Every night the inns generate their own power, but power supply time is not long, so all kinds of electronic products need to hurry up for a charging, while in the winter you can turn on the electric blanket for a while to warm up the quilt; Water resource is in shortage on the mountains, so that only simple washing requirement can be satisfied; you can bring your own wet paper towels, chewing gum, mouthwash, etc; The toilet is very plain and is a little distance away from the accommodation point, so we suggest you go to sleep at night without drinking any water or only little water; A flashlight is necessary as there is basically no electricity in the evening. On the top of the mountain you can also be camping, and bring your own tents, where water and electricity can be paid in at the top of the mountain hotel.
The main scenery photo time:
Sea of Clouds: if it’s sunny, the sea of clouds can usually be seen 24 hours a day. Commonly there are a large amount of clouds overflowing down the mountain at around 4PM, forming a majestic waterfall.
Starry Sky: generally at 4 o ‘clock in the morning or a little later, you should be ready to set the foot stool for shooting of star track. On the night of a sunny day, if you are lucky enough you can also capture the sea of stars, which generally appears at 5 o ‘clock in the morning or a little while later, until the sunrise and lasts for 1 hour or so. The horizon turns red from below, when the two colors of red and blue forms the entire sky, with clouds and stars, making a very beautiful picture. Attention should be paid as the temperature on the top of the mountain at night can fall down to only -10 ℃, accompanied by the fog and cold wind, so you must be sure to keep warm. Also what needs to be mentioned is that the No. 5 batteries and button batteries used in the cameras are usually unable to resist low temperature, so be sure to carry enough spare batteries. The cold on the mountain calls for a pair of gloves when waiting for the pictures.
Sunrise: For a shot of the sunrise, you first need to locate the best shooting point on the day before, which you may consult to the innkeeper. Second, when the sun rises slowly from the horizon, the light is not strong. The red light together with a golden projection radiates into the endless sea of clouds hidden in the dark: it is the most impressive sunrise. The entire process lasts at the most a few minutes or no more than ten minutes, so you must grasp the time to take pictures.
Sunshine on the Golden Mountain: Mt.Gongga, the King of Sichuan Mountains is located on the highest point direct west of Niubei Mountain. During the sunrise, golden sunbeam shines on the peak of Mt. Gongga, forming sharp contrast between light and shade, when the color collocation perfectly reflecting the sunshine beauty of the golden mountain. The sunshine time on the golden mountain is only a little bit longer than the sunrise time. Until the sunbeam becomes strong, and the golden color gradually disappears, what is left is only the white Mt. Gongga, which compared with the sunshine of the golden mountain is yet another style of landscape.
Sunset: the sunset time changes according to the season and the weather, but if it’s sunny, under the golden sunset clouds roll up and down, with the faraway and nearby peaks partly hidden and partly visible, forming spectacular scenery.
Buddha’s Glory (Halo): If you are lucky enough, you can even see the Buddha’s glory on the top of Niubei Mountain. Buddha’s Glory is a natural phenomenon, which is formed with illumination in cloud surface, when landscape exerts diffraction and diffuses reflection effect, projecting the shadow to the clouds, and the tiny ice crystals in clouds and rain form a unique circle rainbow around the figure.