Stunning Beauty of Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park

A Vibrant Wonderland: Discovering Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park's Rainbow Mountains

The National Zhangye Geopark is located in the counties of Linze and Sunan inside the prefecture-level city of Zhangye, Gansu, China. It has a total size of 322 square kilometers (124 sq mi). On April 23, 2012, the location was designated as a quasi-national geopark (provisional name: Zhangye Danxia Geopark). After passing the on-site acceptance test, it was formally named “Zhangye National Geopark” by the Ministry of Land and Resources on June 16, 2016.

It’s been voted by using Chinese media as one of the maximum stunning landforms in China. It is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Location of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains

The park is located at the northern foot of Qilian Mountain, under the jurisdiction of Linze County and Sunan County of Zhangye City, Gansu Province. Danxia landforms are mainly distributed in Kangle and Baiyin townships

Linze Danxia Scenic Area, the park’s main region, is located 30 kilometers west of downtown Zhangye and 20 kilometers south of Linze County’s seat. It is the park’s most developed and frequented area. On August 3, 2014, a second beautiful area, Binggou, located on the north bank of the Liyuan River, was formally launched. Binggou has a land area of 300 square kilometers and a height of 1,500 to 2,500 meters above sea level. Sunan Danxia Scenic Area, located south of Linze, is a third area.

Location of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains
Location of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains

The landscape of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains

The distinctive hues of the rocks, which are polished, sharp, and several hundred meters tall, are well recognized in Zhangye Danxia. These are the consequence of sandstone and other mineral formations that happened over 24 million years. The result (akin to a layer cake) was slanted by the same tectonic plates that created sections of the Himalayan Alps. Wind, rain, and time then carved remarkable formations such as towers, pillars, and ravines in a variety of colors, patterns, and sizes.

Media and tourism Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains

Zhangye Danxia was named one of China’s most beautiful Danxia landform locations by a panel of reporters from 34 major media sources in 2005. Zhangye Danxia was named one of China’s “six most beautiful landforms” by the Chinese National Geographic magazine in 2009. The region has become a popular tourist destination in Zhangye. A network of boardwalks and access roads have been constructed to assist visitors in exploring the rock formations. 100 million yuan was invested in 2014 to upgrade amenities in the Binggou region.

In the computer game Sid Meier’s Civilisation VI, Zhangye Danxia is portrayed as a natural marvel. The “Rise and Fall”

Media and tourism Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains
Media and tourism Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains

Reason the Zhangye Danxia has rich and colorful layers

The region was previously part of the ocean about 540 million years ago. The terrain folded and developed mountains as a result of tectonic plate collision, and it rose above sea level.

As rivers developed in the region, red sandstone was deposited. Mudstone was formed on the red sandstone when the earth fell into a basin. Several sedimentary rocks were created throughout the time that included varied levels of ferrous salt in the mud and stone. This is why the layers are colored differently.

The sedimentary layers generated as a result of changes in sedimentary settings have diverse hues of red, purplish red, yellowish green, greyish green, and grey. Each layer formed over thousands of years.

The movement of the Mountains raised the land and caused rivers to originate. The early Danxia landscape was produced as a result of river erosion. River erosion and wind erosion generated the colorful strata we see today after subsequent geological aeons.

This is the main attraction that draws people from all around the world. The multicolored strata are what gave rise to the name “Rainbow Mountains” for the Zhangye Danxia landform region.

Reason the Zhangye Danxia has rich and colorful layers
Reason the Zhangye Danxia has rich and colorful layers

To Visit Zhangye Danxia Park

Danxia National Park is located near Zhangye City in Gansu Province in northwest China, about a 30-minute drive to the west. Alternatively, you can go to the city bus station first and take the bus to the park.

The First Viewing Platform of Zhangye Danxia (Called Colorful Meeting Fairy Platform)The first viewing platform is the biggest and closest to the entrance, about a 10-minute walk away. To get to the viewing platform, you don’t have to trek up many steps. It’s almost at ground level, with views of the towering, colorful mountains.

The Second Viewing Platform (named the Colorful Sea of Clouds Platform)

At this point, there are two platforms: one at the bottom and one at the top of a hill. It simply takes a few minutes to get to the bottom platform, but it takes a lot of work to reach the top. A sleeping beauty-shaped mountain may be seen from the base platform.

The highest viewing platform is on the top platform. It has 666 stairs and takes around 30 minutes to climb. The meandering wooden walk to the top platform resembles the Great Wall of China. You may photograph the panoramic vista from the summit. It’s also a great spot to see the sunset.

The Second Viewing Platform (named the Colorful Sea of Clouds Platform)
The Second Viewing Platform (named the Colorful Sea of Clouds Platform)

The Third Viewing Platform (Called the Colorful Embroidered Platform)

The iconic “Seven-Color Fan” may be seen from the third observation platform. The mountain appears to have been painted with a vibrant palette. The pastel tones of the vast rolling hills are incredibly relaxing.

The Fourth Viewing Platform (Colorful Clouds Platform)

The best view is from the fourth observation platform. It is located on a ridge that spans east to west. Looking south from the crest, one may see the vibrant hues of Qicai Shan (/chee-tseye shan/ “Seven-Color Mountain”).

This is the perfect place to take pictures of the sunrise or sunset.

Useful Travel Tips of the Zhangye Danxia

Within the national park, you must use the sightseeing buses because private automobiles and tourist buses are not permitted.

The distance between the four observation platforms is around 8 kilometers (5 miles), and the entire trip takes approximately 2-3 hours when riding the sightseeing buses.

When you’ve had your fill of one viewing platform, you may board the next bus and proceed to the next.

In approximately 20 minutes, another bus will come.

Zhangye Danxia
Zhangye Danxia

Different tourist bus lines

There are three distinct tourist bus routes, one for each park entrance:

  1. Route to the north entrance: north entrance – platform 2 – platform 1 – platform 3 – platform 4 – north entrance
  2. East exit route: east exit – platform 2 – platform 1 – platform 3 – platform 4 – east exit
  3. Route through the west entrance: west entrance – platform 1 – platform 3 – platform 4 – platform 2 – west entrance

Best Seasons to Visit (Seasons and Hours)

  • The months of June to September are ideal for visiting Zhangye since the weather is pleasant and the mix of strong sun and a little rain brings out the colors more.
  • The remainder of the year is quite dry.
  • In the winter, Zhangye is far below freezing and windy โ€“ not advised.
Best Seasons to Visit (Seasons and Hours)
Best Seasons to Visit (Seasons and Hours)

The best hotels and places to stay in Zhangye Danxia, China

  • Zhangye Danxia Tianyu Yododo Inn
  • KaoShan Tent Zhangye
  • The Silk Road Travelers Hostel
  • Holiday Inn Express Zhangye, an IHG Hotel
  • Zhangye Liangmao Hotel
  • 7Days Premium Zhangye Passengers Station

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