Huangshan is known for its sunrises, pine trees, "strangely jutting granite peaks", hot springs, winter snow and views of clouds touching the mountainsides for more than 200 days out of the year.
The Huangshan mountain range has many peaks, some more than 1,000 meters (3,250 feet) high. The three tallest and best-known peaks are Lotus Peak (Lian Hua Feng, 1,864 m), Bright Summit Peak (Guang Ming Ding, 1,840 m), and Celestial Peak (Tian Du Feng, literally Capital of Heaven Peak, 1,829 m).[The World Heritage Site covers a core area of 154 square kilometres and a buffer zone of 142 square kilometres The mountains were formed in the Mesozoic, about 100 million years ago, when an ancient sea disappeared due to uplift.Later, in the Quaternary Period, the landscape was shaped by the influence of glaciers.
The well-known Ying Ke Pine or Welcome Pine
The vegetation of the area varies with elevation. Mesic forests cover the landscape below 1,100 meters. Deciduous forest stretches from 1,100 meters up to the tree line at 1,800 meters. Above that point, the vegetation consists of alpine grasslands. The area has diverse flora, where one-third of China's bryophyte families and more than half of its fern families are represented. The Huangshan pine (Pinus hwangshanensis) is named after Huangshan and is considered an example of vigor because the trees thrive by growing straight out of the rocks. Many of the area's pine trees are more than a hundred years old and have been given their own names (such as the Ying Ke Pine, or Welcoming-Guests Pine, which is thought to be over 1500 years old). The pines vary greatly in shape and size, with the most crooked of the trees being considered the most attractive. Furthermore, Huangshan's moist climate facilitates the growing of tea leaves,and the mountain has been called "one of China's premier green tea-growing mountains. Mao feng cha ("Fur Peak Tea"), a well-known local variety of green tea, takes its name from the downy tips of tea leaves found in the Huangshan area.
The mountaintops often offer views of the clouds from above, known as the Sea of Clouds (Chinese: 云海; pinyin: yúnhǎi) or "Huangshan Sea" because of the cloud's resemblance to an ocean, and many vistas are known by names such as "North Sea" or "South Sea."One writer remarked on the view of the clouds from Huangshan as follows:
The area is also host to notable light effects, such as the renowned sunrises. Watching the sunrise is considered a "mandatory" part of visiting the area. A phenomenon known as Buddha's Light is also well-known and, on average, Buddha's Light only appears a couple of times per month. In addition, Huangshan has multiple hot springs, most of them located at the foot of the Purple Cloud Peak. The water stays at 42 °C all year and has a high concentration of carbonates, and is said to help prevent skin, joint, and nerve illness.