Huang Shan barely rises above 1870m, but as you hike up either of the staircases on the trails it can begin to feel very high indeed. You’ll need between two and eight hours to walk up, depending on whether you follow the easier eastern route or the lengthy and demanding western route. Alternatively, cable cars take upwards of twenty minutes to ascend, though queues can be horrendous (there’s usually less of a wait to go down), and services are suspended during windy weather. Once at the top, there’s a half-day of relatively easy hiking around the peaks.
Ideally, plan to spend two or three days on the mountain to allow for a steady ascent and circuit, though it’s quite feasible to see a substantial part of Huang Shan in a full day. Accommodation in Tangkou and Wenquan will store surplus gear: just bring a daypack, suitable footwear and something warm and weatherproof for the top – not forgetting the likelihood of year-round rain, and winter snow.