Cangshan Mountain, also known as Diancangshan, is located at the southern end of the Yunling Mountains and forms a trailing section of the Hengduan (transversely faulted) Mountains. Cangshan is always jade-green, hence the name. Cangshan Mountain stretches from Shangguan (Upper Pass) in the north to Xiaguan (Lower Pass) in the south, and touches the limpid water of Erhai Lake in the east and reaches the turbulent Heihuijiang River in the west. It measures 42 km. from south to north and 20 km. from east to west. The mountain range comprises 19 peaks and 18 brooks.
The names of the peaks are as follows: Yunlong Peak, Canglang Peak, Wutai Peak, Lianhua Peak, Baiyun Peak, Heyun Peak, Sanyang Peak, Lanfeng Peak, Xueren Peak, Yingyue Peak, Xiaocen Peak, Zhonghe Peak, Longquan Peak, YujuPeak, Malong Peak, Shengying Peak, Foding Peak, Ma’er Peak and Xieyang Peak. Malong Peak is the highest, measuring 4,122 metres above sea level, while the rest of the peaks average over 3,500 metres in elevation, and are covered with snow throughout the year.
There are 18 brooks among the peaks. They rush down torrentially into Erhai Lake. From north to south, the 18 brooks are respectively named the Xiayi, Wanhua, Yang, Mangyong, Jing, Lingquan, Baishi, Shuangynan, Yinxian, Mei, Tao, Zhong, Luyu, Long, Qingbi, Mocan, Tingming and Yuangnan Brooks.
The vegetation over Cangshan Mountain has a distinctive distribution and it is a treasure house of more than 3,000 species of plants, mainly consisting of evergreen coniferous trees, shrubs and grasses. In spring and summer, azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons bloom in profusion over an infinite expanse.
Cangshan Mountain is famous for the following eight scenic wonders named in the Qing Dynasty: Painted Screens at Rosy Dawn, Spring Snow on Cangshan, the Belt of Clouds across Autumnal Cangshan, the Radiance of Phoenixes’ Eyes, Multistage Falls of Limpid water, Clouds Hovering over Yuju Peak, Clear Streams Running over the Pebble Bed in Early Winter, and Rosy Clouds at Sunset. The Clouds Hovering over Yuju Peak, believed to resemble the blank wife who is longing in rain for the return of her husband, has evoked a touching legend. Hence the more popular name “the Cloud Longing for the Return of Her Husband” (Wang Fu Yun). The story goes like this: In the days of Nanzhao, Ah Feng, the sweet princes of the King of Nanzhao fell in love with ah Long, a poor young hunter. The king was enraged and had the young man killed and thrown into Erhai Lake. Ah Feng, the princess in turn died and became a white cloud – the Longing-for-Husband Cloud floating over Cangshan Mountain – waiting for her husband to appear. The story praises the unswerving loyalty in love between Ah Feng and Ah Long.