Rainbow colored mountains of China are located in Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park. This unique geological formation has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2010.
Danxia Trip Posts:
- Scenic Spot: Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park 丹霞 .
- Nearest town: Zhangye 张掖, Gansu province 甘肃, China
- Coordinates: 38 ° 29’11.0 “N 100 ° 25’03.1” E
- Location: Nantaizi Village, Nijiaying County, Zhangye Prefecture (张掖市倪家营乡南台子村)
- Opening hours: 5:30am–8:30pm in summer time, 8am–6pm in winter time.
- Ticket price: 60¥ (10$)
- Time for observing: 2-4 hours
- Visitors: many
- Best time to visit: just after rain
The topography of the area includes steep cliffs, sharp peaks and eroded caves.
A formation of these fantastic “sea waves” red-orange-pink colorful mountains started about 100 million years ago. In the past, this area was the bottom of a huge lake, and many rivers brought him sand of different colors. Then the lake dried, and oxidized sediments and acquired the specific red-orange palette. Formed of layers of reddish sandstone, the terrain has over time been eroded into a series of mountains surrounded by curvaceous cliffs and unusual rock formations. It is mainly horizontal and low diagonal red strata, belonging to the Jurassic and Tertiary eras. By the way, some dinosaur fossils were found in the area.
Such colorful surreal landscaped can be found in other countries as well as in China. But Zhangye Danxia landform is the biggest one. It covers over 300 square metres.
In ancient times, Zhangye was called Ganzhou. It was a well-known commercial trade post located on the Silk Road. Many traders used to come to Ganzhou, and it was one of the richest cities in China. This gave birth to the growth of both tourism and commerce in the area.
Danxia National Geological Park
There is a bus running through the park to get from one viewpoint to another.
Danxia National Geological Park also known as Linze Danxia Scenic Area (临泽丹霞景区) is 40 kilometers away from Zhangye City and 20 kilometers away from Linze County Town. It’s the best spot to observe vivid rainbow mountains.
Sufficiently large area with several viewing platforms and buses plying between them. All buses are on the same route from one site to another and then back to the exit. So you can sit down at any of them without any questions.
With their vivid bands of color, the “rainbow mountains” of China look like a land formation from another planet.
Using these buses is not necessarily, you can walk if you wish. But it doesn’t really make sense, because you can walk only on sidewalks that connect platforms. Going beyond sidewalks is strictly forbidden. I had tried to do a couple of steps towards a mountain for a great shot, a guard whistled and cried unfriendly. According to photos in the Internet it was possible to climb the red sand mountains, but now it is not. Given the fact that there is a huge amount of tourists coming to see mountains, and the soil of the mountains is sandy, it makes sense. Otherwise, the mountain hills will become a shapeless heap of rocks in a few years.
The first viewing platform is the nearest and the best viewing platform. A lot of viewpoints for the 360° observing experience.
The second viewing platform is based near by the highest peak of the park. It takes a lot of effort to get to the top – 666 steps require about 30 minutes climbing. But the panorama of the scenic area definitely worth it.
The third viewing platform allows you to see bright colored “rainbow” mountains very close. Unearthly species of uninhabited land right before your eyes.
Highly contrasting bands of colour glowing most intensely after rainfall.
The fourth viewing platform is the perfect place for catching pictures of a sunrise and a sunset. Vivid seven-color mountains can be observed from different sides. Camel rides are offered near by the bus stop.
Food and Facilities
Food and beverages are not available in the park. It’s better to take them with you. There are Chinese cafes near by the entrance, so you can eat there when you finish your tour. As for restrooms, it’s not problem. A few modern buildings are located near by bus stops. Restrooms are free.
How to get to Danxia Geopark?
Detailed trip to Gansu province is described here. You can take a taxi in Zhangye. We stayed in Huachen International Hotel and staff called a taxi with English-speaking driver for us. It will cost you about 300¥ ($50) per car for the whole day. A taxi driver will wait you near by the entrance. A distance of about 40 km and it takes an hour and a half.
Also you can take a bus from Zhangye City Western Bus Station to Sunan County Town 肃南, and take a local taxi to the park entrance then. It will cost you about 10¥ ($2) for the bus and about 40¥ ($8) for a taxi.
There are several Travel agencies in Zhangye (there is one in Huachen International Hotel) that offer a day tour for 150-200¥ ($25-35) per person. English speaking guide and meals are included.