Tianmen Shan Big Gate (also called the Tianmen Winding Mountain Road) is a road located within Tianmen Mountain National Park, Zhangjiajie, in northwestern Hunan Province, China.
The road to reach the top is 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) long from the bottom to the top. The highest point of the road is 1.300m above sea level, and the lowest point is 200m. The road took eight years to finish with work starting in 1998, and finishing in 2006.
To get there, you need to drive up Tongtian Avenue (Avenue toward Heaven), which has 99 turns, symbolizing that Heaven has nine palaces. There are also 999 stairs, called Tianan stairs (also known as Tianti, or the Celestial/Heaven Reaching Ladder), to climb before you reach the peak, where Heaven's Gate—a natural rock arch that was believed to be the link between the gods and the mortal world—awaits. And there's no platforms for stopping.
This road has been heralded as one of the most spectaculars roads in the world by the dangerousroads.org users. This road which spirals rapidly upwards from 200m to 1300m above sea level, offers a view of a long winding road which looks like a dragon ascending from the mountains. It’s just wondrous how the Chinese were able to build structures like this and how long they made it.
The driver should be extra careful during the drive. Taking it slow and paying attention to every curve and turn. Not being overly careful could make it too easy to junk a car, or worse injure and even kill passengers. The scenery looks beautiful, but take your eyes off the road for a second, and you’re on the fast way down to the bottom. The roads are scary with many twists & turns & certainly not for the faint-hearted. The road is difficult and it’s a nightmare in the wet or dark (or both).
A traveler on this road must be experienced and completely devoted to safe, slow and obstacle-conscious driving to deter danger. Alternatively to this road, you can take the cable car straight from the city - which they claim is the longest cableway in the world with a distance of 7,455 meters and a height gap of 1,279 meters. It’s an absolutely ‘must see’ scenic area. The main featured scenic spots are centralized in the north part of Zhangjiajie City – Wulingyuan Scenic Area which became China‘s first National Forest Park in 1983.