Songpan County, Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northern of Sichuan Province.
Reasons to visit
Huanglong, a World Natural Heritage site, touching Jiuzhaigou, is also famous for its colorful ponds, snowy mountains, deep valleys, and dense forest. Between 3,145 and 3,578 meters above sea level at the foot of Xuebaoding, the main peak of Mt. Minshan, lies a 3.6-km-long calcified hill, resembling a giant golden dragon galloping among the virgin forest, and this is how the mountain was named. More than 3,400 ponds, varied in color and shape, picture the most spectacular view in the world, known as the Jasper Lake Under Heaven.
Huanglong is also home to many endangered species including the Giant Panda and the Sichuan Golden Snub-nosed Monkey. Huanglong's beauty is beyond mere words, you need see it in person to truly appreciate this "Fairy Land on Earth".
Huanglong National Park’s main scenic spot Huanglong Valley is like a "dragon" in the eyes of the Chinese, therefore it has traditionally been described as "the world jade pool" and "Chinese symbol". In the local, it was worshiped by villagers. Tibetans call it "East Day · Seerjun", meaning the Hailuo Mountain in the east (refers to the Xuebao Mountain), golden sea (refers to Huanglong Valley).
Development and Construction
• In October 1982, Huanglong became the national key scenic spot exanimated and approved by State Council of the People’s Republic of China.
• In December 1992, Huanglong formally listed in the "world heritage list" by UNESCO as a natural heritage. • In 1997, it was listed by the United Nations as the world's man and biosphere reserve. • In February 2001, Huanglong got the "Green Globe 21" certificate, and it has become a world-class scenic area with the three crown of laurels.
Huanglong Scenic Area is located in the Minshan Mountain southern section, in northern Sichuan province within the territory of Songpan County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, which belong to the transition zone between Sichuan basin and the eastern edge of Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Scenic area range is for the east longitude 103 ° 25 '59 "8' ~ 104 ° 45 ', north latitude 32 ° 30 '53" ~ 32 ° 54' 17 ". The highest mountain is the main peak of Minshan Mountain Xuebao Peak, with an elevation of 5588 meters, which is covered with snow all the year around and it is the easternmost spot where the entities of modern glacier in China. It has a total area of 700 square kilometers and perimeter protection zone covers an area of 640 square kilometers.
Huanglong Scenic Area belongs to plateau temperate subfrigid zone monsoon climate types. Its climate features are: cold and moist, long winter in the year and short summer day, the spring and autumn is similar. It has an average annual temperature of 7 ℃ and it has adequate sunlight, mist in the morning and evening, rainfall concentrated in May to August each year. The hottest month in Huanglong Scenic Spot is July, with average temperature of 17 ℃, the coldest month is January, with average temperature of 3 ℃. From April to November each year is the best time to visit Huanglong.
What to See
Holding the primary area of virgin forest in Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area, the Muni Valley comprises Erdao Lake and Zhaga Waterfall which is the biggest calcified waterfall in all China. Located in the northern part of Muni Valley, Erdao Lake is the largest in the area and around the lake are many underground limestone caves which connect Erdao Lake with other lakes in the area. The color of Erdao Lake varies with the seasons, harmoniously complementing the lake with its surrounding of colored limestone. When standing by the lake, it seems very tranquil and calm; this belies a strong undercurrent that is very active. Erdao Lake holds attractions such as Swan Lake, Baihua Lake, etc. Beside the Baihua Lake, there is a mysterious cave which embraces wonderful and magnificent naturally-formed stalactites. Zhaga Waterfall scenic spot stretches for about 5 kilometers (3 miles), where water flows around trees and trees grow in water and this scenic spot boasts many attractions. At the bottom of Zhaga Waterfall, there is a round-shaped stone onto which the waterfall cascades. In the sunlight, the spattering water is like jade, exhibiting wonderful colors. This is the Jianyu Tai (spattering jade platform).Guhuashi (ancient fossils) is the place where a number of prehistoric, fossilized animals, plants and fish are well preserved and remain intact. Feicui (Emerald) Spring is one of the ten most famous springs in China due to its water's medicinal value, and many have recovered from stomach sickness and arthritis after drinking or bathing in its water. The local population considers Feicui spring divine and allows nobody to cause damage.
It is located in the Minshan Mountain main peak Xuebao Peak, close to the Fujiang River origin-- Fuyuan bridge, which is a gentle slope clough with the length of 7.5 km, 1.5 kilometers wide. The valley is full of cream yellow rock, looking from distance like a winding Huanglong in the forest and that is the name of Huanglong comes from. In the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) people built the Huanglong Temple here to enshrine Huanglong. Huanglong Valley with the natural landscape of its "strange, unique, elegant, deep and remote" makes a name at home and abroad. It resembles a "dragon" image in the eyes of the Chinese, Tibetans call it the "East Day · Seercuo", meaning the Hailuo Mountain in the east (refers to the Xuebao Mountain), golden sea (refers to Huanglong Valley). Here carried on the annual grand temple fair of walking around mountain and people of all ethnic groups across various northwest provinces came here to participate the fair. Huanglong Valley continuous distribution calcification is 3600 meters long, the longest calcified beach is 1300 meters long, 170 meters wide; there are up to 3400 colorful pools.
Entering the Huanglong Scenic Area, first you see is a set of sophisticated, chic, bright and beautiful groups of water pools—Yingbin Pool. There are different sizes of pools, they have strange shapes, gorgeous color, strewn at random, surrounded by mountains. And the forest is luxuriantly green, wildflowers are in blooming in the mountain, butterflies are dancing in the air. Stone path winds in the mountain and dots with viewing pavilion.
Going out of Yingbin Pool, and going up along a tortuous and winding road, people can see multi-layer water break through the forest, flowing down to rock step of about 10 meters high, about 60 meters wide to form dozens of trapezoidal waterfalls, just like pearl stream tumbled with silver flash; just like suspended water curtain with rising mist; just like a bead curtain flashing, attractive. Behind the waterfall there is a steep cliff, mostly patchy calcification product which looks like horse lung structure and schistose, setting about to drip, and it is golden color, make the whole waterfall spectacular. By the sun's rays touched, reflecting different color, looking from distance it is like rosy clouds from the sky, glittering, so-called "Waterfall Glittering".
Washing Cave is 1273 meters away from Fuyuan Bridge, and it is on the second step of Huanglong Valley. Plunging travertine flows down from the Golden Beach, and suddenly collapses and falls into a wall, which is 10 meters high, 40 meters wide travertine subside, and it is currently the world's longest wall travertine subside. Running water comes from the dam over bunds, and becomes a resplendent and magnificent travertine waterfall, very spectacular. Washing Cave is located in the bottom of travertine waterfall.
Miniascape Pool is composed of a set of hundred pools, there is pool inside the pool, and there is pool encircled pool. The rootstocks of trees in the embankment are changed according to the terrain; The bottom of pool represents yellow, white, brown, gray of a variety of colors, the pool surface is clean and clear, just like mirror; aside the pool there are woods and stones, flowers and plants. This beautiful landscape, just like fancy bonsai which is match made in heaven, make horticulturalists breathtaking.
This piece of landscape and the mirror reflecting pools alongside the forest are beautiful and colorful among calcification landscape.
About 3.5 km away from the valley, visitors can have a rest in Huanglong Temple. In the valley there were originally three temples of front, middle and back before, now there only remains site of front temple; a total of five halls of middle temple, which covers an area of about 5100 square meters. The existing hall of Avalokitesvara Buddhisatva and the ten arhats statues in the hall covers an area of 2100 square meters and located in the Huanglong Valley at an altitude of 3558 meters, and the architecture of temple is basically well-preserved. It was said that the Huanglong helped Yu to prevent floods by water control, later generation set up a monument and built a temple here to worship. There is another saying that because of the Huanglong cultivated itself to become immortal here so it built the Huanglong Temple. Inside the temple there is Huanglong statue wearing a dark black priest frock.
【Muni Valley Scenic Area】
Muni Valley Scenic Area is located in the southwest of the Songpan County, is a new scenic spot of Huanglong Scenic Area. It combines the beauty of Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong, but more origina, peace and quite, and no frozen ice mountain in winter. There is mountain, forest, cave, and the sea, big and small Haizi can be comparable to the Jiuzhaigou colorful pools, calcified pond waterfall can be comparable to the Jade Pool of Huanglong.
Mount Xuebaoding (Snow Treasure Top) is the main peak of Minshan Mountain. At an altitude of 5588 meters, it is located in the east of 50 km of Songpan County.
Mount Xuebaoding covers snow all year round, in the mountainside there is jagged and rugged rock, criss-cross ravines and gullies, and lakes scattered all over like stars in the sky or men on a chessboard. There are 108 larger Haizi, the Four Seas are particularly known by people: the southeast of the Circle Sea which is like a mirror; the southwest Square Sea, which is imposing like city wall; the northwest of Semicircle Sea which shapes like a crescent moon; and the northeast of Triangular Sea which just like pyramid reflected in the sea. Mount Xuebaoding foothill has spread throughout plants, scrub, and towering conifers.
The west, north and south side of Mount Xuebaoding is high cliff and precipice, makes the climber helpless; although east and west slope is relatively slow, it also make people flabbergasted and sighed. Sino-Japanese mountaineering team reached the top in 1999. After investigation, people think it is a "famous mountains treasure hill" with unlimited value in such aspects as scientific research and the development of physical culture and sports.
Danyun Gorge becomes one of the "five greats" in Huanglong with its delicate beauty of gorge scenery. It has a lot of trees, shrubs, flowers and plants, where is a paradise for plant enthusiasts. Danyun Gorge Scenic Spot starts at Ziyusun Peaks (Jade Bamboo Shoot Peaks) and ends in Shanzi Cave (Fan Cave), stretches long and unbroken for 18.5 kilometers, and the difference of level should be 1300 meters, the peak to valley height difference of 1000 to 2000 meters. In winter there is snow-white, and in summer there is green mountain forest, especially in spring when the red azalea spreads all over the mountain, and in autumn maple leaves spread all the way across the canyon, which looks like the evening glow drop from the sky, Danyun Gorge hence comes the name. Mountain clouds, tree and wind, there is mist rising from the forest of Danyun Gorge almost every day, curl up around the mountains and plains. In the Danyun Gorge, there is densed forest. And Fujiang River which is originated from Mount Xuebaoding flows between the strange rock in the gorge and forest, looks like a white dragon nods its head and wags its tail.
Huanglong Scenic Area has a long history and there are various customs of Tibetan, Qiang, Hui and Han nationality: unique cultural activities such as Huanglong temple fair, Qiang song, the Hui singing in the dam add a mysterious beautiful feeling to this natural wonder. From June 12th to June 15th in the lunar calendar is the Huanglong tourism peak season--Huanglong temple fair.
It is said that, June 15th was the day that Huanglong became immortal. In order to commemorate Huanglong helped Dayu to dredge the river, hundreds of the Tibetan, Hui, Han and other nationalities’ peoples, or viewing or party, or pray for luck, or close together in this day. Over time, established by usage, then this day became the annual Huanglong temple fair. During the temple fair, people dresses in festive costumes, brings tents, cooking utensils and food, etc., an endless stream come to Huanglong. And Tibetan compatriots from thousands of miles away in Qinghai, Gansu, Mianyang and Aba came here all the way to take part in the temple fair.
【Chinese Name】: 黄龙地质国家公园
【Recommended Visiting Time】: a day
【How to Get to Huanglong】: tourists can take flight to Jiuhuang Airport first, which is located in the Chuanzhusi Town, 43 km away from Huanglong. During the peak season (from April to November), there are shuttle buses from the airport to Huanglong, and it stops 4 hours in Huanglong and heads to Jiuzhaigou Valley. Or people can take bus from New South Gate Bus Station in Chengdu to Huanglong directly. The road is secondary road which has good road condition.
【Best Time to Visit Huanglong】: From September to October is the best time to travel Huanglong Scenic Area. During that time is the golden time, the scenery of Huanglong is especially beautiful. The colorful pools and the golden maple leaves make people linger on without any thought of leaving. Huanglong in summer, the highest temperature is tens or more degree that it is very cool, so it is suitable to visit Huanglong in summer for avoids summer heat. And due to its special geography location and weather issue, it is closed in winter.
【Travel Tips】: Huanglong Scenic Area is 3000 meters above the sea level, and it is one of the highest scenic areas in China. When people come to visit Huanglong, people need to prepare to prevent altitude stress, and it is better to eat Rhodiola Rosea extract 7 days before you go to Huanglong or bring quick-acting oxygen-laden pill.