When talking about Pingshan, many would think of its high-tech industries represented by automobile maker BYD, semiconductor manufacturer SMIC and others. Apart from bustling factories and industrial parks, however, Pingshan is also home to a myriad of wonderful creatures.

If you’re lucky enough, you may spot a foraging leopard cat on Tiantou Mountain, find a courting Hong Kong newt in a pond below one of the Biling Waterfalls, or bump into an egret walking by Pingshan River.

Located in the east of Shenzhen, Pingshan covers an area of 168 square kilometers with a variety of natural landscapes, including Maluan and Tiantou mountains, Pingshan River, and a total of 23 reservoirs, all of which form a unique and excellent ecological system.

According to previous ecological investigations, more than 1,000 species of animals and over 1,900 species of plants have been recorded in Pingshan, which makes it one of the best places in Shenzhen to observe nature.

Maluan Mountain

Maluan Mountain in Pingshan District is very popular among avid hikers because of its waterfalls, flora and fauna resources and breathtaking natural scenery.

With clear streams and lush woods, Maluan Mountain is acclaimed as a “natural oxygen bar.” Climbing the mountain is not strenuous since all the peaks are below 500 meters. The Biling Waterfalls (碧岭瀑布群) in the northwestern part of the mountain features five sections of waterfalls in various forms due to the erosion of water on the rocks.

To reach the waterfalls, hikers can climb along the Biling Waterfall Trail, which has information signage of routes, directions and introductions to scenic spots and biological features.

The Guangbei, Laowei and Maluan Mountain villages on the mountain are also worth visiting with their centuries-old Hakka houses hidden amid the lush forests of the mountain.

The “Walking Pingshan” project

In 2019, it was announced that the Shenzhen Museum of Natural History would be settled in Pingshan. In 2020, the “Walking Pingshan” project was launched to help people better explore nature in Pingshan.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. After completion, it will include 15 trails that add up to a total length of 106 kilometers, run across Pingshan’s mountains, rivers, parks and cultural facilities, and connect Pingshan with its neighboring areas including Longgang, Dapeng, Yantian and Huiyang District of Huizhou.

Books and an online guiding system has also been developed to provide routes information, directions and introductions to scenic spots and biological features along the trails.

So far, nine trails have been completed and open to the public. Visitors can enjoy views of waterfalls along the Biling Waterfall Trail (碧岭瀑布群步道), admire century-old ancient trees along the Jingui Nature Study Trail (金龟自然教育步道), observe diversified local plants along the Honghualing Local Flora Hiking Trail (红花岭乡土植物步道), find Birdwood’s Mucuna flowers in full bloom along the Mucuna Trail (禾雀花步道), and much more.

Visitors can also find more information about the trails and the online guiding system on the WeChat mini-program “坪山全域自然博物”.

Ancient trees

According to the urban greening regulations of Shenzhen, trees over 100 years old, rare and precious trees, and trees with historical value or important commemorative significance are all defined as ancient and famous trees.

In Pingshan, there is a total of 149 ancient and famous trees widely distributed across its six subdistricts, including banyan trees, camphor trees, longan trees, litchi trees, Cleistocalyx operculatus, Bischofia javanica, Syzygium hancei Merr. et Perry and more.