Day Trip from Shanghai: Hiking Moganshan National Park

Crystal Wilde takes a day trip from the bustling city of Shanghai to the mountains just a few hours away.


A woman stands at a lookout on Moganshan mountain Photo © Getty Images/Adon Buckley Photography

Shanghai’s sweaty summer season has begun and it’s time to take a break from the concrete. My husband and I are new to this city of 26 million on China’s central east coast, but we have it on good authority that Moganshan, 128mi (207km) southwest of the city, is the best bet for a rejuvenating day of nature. Although you can get there by subway and train in around three hours, we decide to drive, a journey of 2.5 hours.

Exploring Moganshan

On arrival, we head straight to the peak of the mountain known as Mogan (“shan” means mountain in Chinese). Amid the lush bamboo forests, which have been attracting Shanghai’s overheated elites since the 1880s, are several hiking trails, waterfalls, pools, teahouses, and restaurants.

We explore the forest, ducking under and clambering over fallen bamboo trunks, and see a few cascading waterfalls on our steep 3mi (4.8 km) hike along the Temple Trail.

We stop for lunch in the village half way up, in an eatery next door to a little stone post office. We eat hong shao rou, a Shanghai-style braised pork belly dish famous for being Mao Zedong’s favorite, and spicy stir-fried cauliflower. It’s nothing special, but it does the trick for two hungry hikers.

Dinner at Yufulou Hostel

After several hours exploring the forest, we head down to Moganshan for a memorable dinner at Yufulou Hostel. Here we are led to the kitchen to take our pick of the freshest dishes of the day. For us, it’s mushy broad beans heaped high with garlic, deep-fried chicken strips, and a spicy crayfish hotpot — this meal alone is worth making the trip from the city for.

View from a teahouse at the top of Moganshan mountain
The view from a teahouse on Moganshan Mountain. Photo credit: Getty Images/Adon Buckley Photography

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