Guangdong: Hike in Nankun Mountain Nature Reserve

Jul 31, 2008
Outside Magazine

With its low, lush mountains, surreal bamboo forests, and 176 species of butterflies, Nankun Mountain Reserve looks like an abstract painting. But the 100-square-mile reserve, about 80 miles north of the provincial capital, Guangzhou (pop. 10 million), is very real, and it's best explored on a five-hour round-trip hike up 4,000-foot Heaven Peak, the highest summit in the region. Go in late summer, at the end of the monsoon season, when the hills below turn sea green. But the highlight of a visit to Nankun may be the digs. Designed by eco-architect emeritus Hitesh Mehta in 2006, Crosswaters Ecolodge is a sprawling resort constructed of reused roof tiles and rammed-earth walls (doubles from $210; Out back, swim at the confluence of the Gankengmei and Sumaoping rivers; on land, unwind with yoga and feast on local bearded chicken.
GET THERE: Fly from Beijing to Guangzhou (from $500; From there, catch Crosswaters' two-hour limo ride ($36).

Filed To: China