Xiao Yao Gu: The Carefree Valley
( english.cntv.cn )
About 10 minutes down the road from Taizi Po, the Carefree Valley is an extremely scenic area with enough hiking to keep you busy for a full day.
Though the main activity here is hiking, if you cross the river and head over to the plain-looking stage area, you can catch kung-fu shows at 10am and 4pm. The tables nearest the stage have signs indicating that you have to purchase 30RMB pots of tea to sit there, but nobody will stop you from taking a seat on the ground even closer to the stage if you want.
To the left of the stage is a small lake with a tea house built over it which is accessible by docks. The docks periodically hiss steam, remnants of bygone glory days when the tea house was a film set. It's quite photogenic.
Once you've taken in the kung fu show you can move on down the valley and start hiking in earnest. You'll quickly arrive at a short waterfall and see the kind of stone slab crossings you'll encounter dozens more times throughout the valley. Skip from one rock to another with confidence, they're not slippery.
Directly after that you'll see a quintessentially Chinese tacky tourist attraction. The hostess will beckon you to sit on the moon shaped seat in front of the blue screen. Watch the TV to see yourself flying around crummy animations of Wudang Shan. It's quite amusing in its own pathetic kind of way. Don't worry, it'll be nothing but glorious natural majesty from here on in.
Cross the river again and you'll come to a little plaza where monkeys often converge to beg, or harass, people for snacks. This is your last chance to buy water before fully commiting to the trails.
After that, it'll be you and the valley. Even during busy national holidays, you won't likely see many people on the trail so you'll have all the petroglyphs, abandoned cliff temples, river rapids, snakes, frogs and crabs (the last two you'll see in abundance) all to yourself.
You can hike all the way to the Golden Palace Cable Car Station if you want, though it'll take you two to four hours, depending on your pace. Check Wudang Shan's picture section for previews of what you'll see.