Wu-Tang Mountains (Wudangshan) in China

The Wu-Tang Mountains (Wudang Mountains; Wudangshan; traditional Chinese: 武當山; simplified Chinese: 武当山) are in northwestern Hubei Province, in China.

There are two major styles of martial arts in China: Wudang and Shaolin, with Wudangshan being the birthplace of not only Wudang, but also Tai Chi, an internal martial art of the Wudang style. I'm not sure about other American cities, but in San Francisco seeing old Chinese people do Tai Chi in public parks, especially early in the morning, is quite common. For such a passive style, you might be surprised to learn that its name (Taijiquan) translates as, Supreme Ultimate Fist.

Wudang is probably more famous in America for what it inspired: the Wu-Tang Clan, which took its name from the 1981 Hong Kong martial arts movie, Shaolin and Wu Tang.

Traveling to Wudangshan is not all that easy, although if you're interested in martial arts or beautiful mountains, it is worth a visit, partly because it's not too difficult to reach the mountains, especially via Wuhan or Shiyan, but also because I've read that they are building a local airport in Wudangshan, ostensibly to accommodate the large number of Chinese tourists who visit the mountain. In two days, I did not see any other foreigners, only enthusiastic Chinese people.

The mountains are full of stone steps, temples, caves, wells, bridges, and beautiful views.

Steps toward the summit of Wudangshan.

Wudang Mountains (Wu-Tang Mountains).

If you look closely, you can see Nanyan Palace, perched on the cliffs of Wudangshan.

Entrance to Wudangshan.

Huanglong cave, with natural well, at Wudangshan.

Wǔdāngquán translates as Wudang fist, or Wudang boxing.

One of the many love locks on Wudangshan.

There are probably hundreds of thousands of love locks lining the summit of Wudangshan.

If you look closely in this photograph, in addition to the mountains in the background and the love locks in the foreground, you might see the gondola that takes you up toward the summit, if you choose not to walk.

Famous martial arts school on the Wu-Tang Mountains in China.

One of the many mountain workers on Wudangshan.

Nanyan Palace on Wudangshan; this Taoist temple is perched on the south cliff. 

These red prayer flags are all over the mountain, and there are also many walkways like the one seen here.

Wudangshan Taxi Co.


It is hard work climbing the mountain by yourself; I cannot imagine having to carry another human being up the mountain, or asking another human being to carry me up the mountain.

From the Golden Palace (i.e. the very very top of Wudangshan).

One of the many small relics on the mountain, carved into the wall near Huanglong Cave.

While climbing up the mountain, I came across a level area where there were maybe five or six poorly built residences, built next to restrooms that smelled better than the housing, which smelled sadly like the hippo house I remember from the Baltimore Zoo. I'm pretty sure it is workers like those above who live there.

Wu-Tang Mountains (Wudang Mountains) in China.