Huanglong National Scenic Reserve
The 'World Wonder' and 'Fairy Land on Earth' are names enjoyed by the Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area, which is well known for its colorful lakes, snow clad mountains, valleys and virgin forest. It was included in the UNESCO world heritage list in 1992.
The scenic area is located in Songpan County, in the northwest part of Sichuan Province and encompasses the Huanglong and Muni Valley. The major scenery is concentrated in the 3.6-kilometer (2.2 miles) long Huanglong Valley that includes snow-clad peaks and the easternmost glaciers in China. Due to its layered calcium carbonated deposit patterns, the valley resembles a golden dragon winding its way through the virgin forest, stone mountains and glaciers. Along the valley are scattering numerous colorful ponds of different sizes and shapes, which are strewn with gold colored limestone deposit giving a shimmering golden hue to water, so in sunlight, a golden dragon seems to surge forth from the forest. Thus it was named 'Huanglong Valley' (Yellow Dragon Valley).
Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area is famed for its outstanding travertine (calcium carbonate) formations. With the virgin forest as its backdrop, the travertine scenery holds colorful ponds, beaches, lakes, springs, waterfalls, caves, etc. The travertine formations scenery is No.1 in China.Upon entering the scenic area, a group of exquisite, crystal clear ponds will immediately catch your eyes with their unparalleled and esthetic charm. These are the Yingbin (welcoming guests) Colored Ponds. In spring, the luxuriant trees, blooming flowers, butterflies and birdsong enhance their glamour even more. From the ponds, you can see the interwoven reflection of trees, mountains, clouds and sky, which is a veritable feast to the eyes. Along the valley, you will see many attractions including Feipuliuhui (glowing waterfall), Xishen (washing body) Cave, Penjing (miniascape) Ponds, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Temple, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Cave, Shitazhenhai and Zhuanhua (whirling flower) Pond, etc. In the Yellow Dragon Cave, there are three sitting Buddha figures whose bodies are encrusted with calc-sinter crystals. In winter, ice forest, bamboo shoots and waterfalls, etc, form a magical icy scene. Shitazhenhai is the most beautiful attraction of the whole scenic area. The calcium carbonate deposits give a myriad of different hues to the water, which is truly breath-taking. Zhuanhua Pond is crystal clear and the spring water never stops welling up. If you throw flowers or leaves into the pond, they will swirl rhythmically with flow of the water.
Multi-colored Pond in Huanglong
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.
Huanglong Travel Guide