Jiuzhaigou National Park is a network of valleys in China’s Sichuan province. In the northern Shuzheng Valley, Nuorilang Waterfall cascades from the edge of a large tree-fringed lake. The Zharu Monastery is a place of worship for the park’s Tibetan villages. In the south, Rize Valley’s mountains are covered with ancient forests. Fallen trees are scattered on the bottom of the striking, multicolored Five Flower Lake.
The Nuorilang Falls are 320 metres wide
View of the Min Mountains as the plane approaches the Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport
The Zharu Valley runs southeast from the main Shuzheng gully and is rarely visited by tourists. The valley begins at the Zharu Buddhist monastery and ends at the Red, Black, and Daling lakes.
Zharu Valley is the home of tourism in Jiuzhaigou. The valley has recently been opened to a small number of tourists wishing to go hiking and camping off the beaten track. Visitors can choose from day walks and multiple day hikes, depending on their time availability. Knowledgeable guides accompany tourists through the valley, sharing their knowledge about the unique biodiversity and local culture of the national park. The Zharu Valley has 40% of all the plant species that exist in China and it is the best place to spot wildlife inside the national park.
The main hike follows the pilgrimage of the local Benbo Buddhists circumnavigating the sacred 4,528 m Zha Yi Zha Ga Mountain.
Jiuzhaigou Scenic Areas
Jiuzhaigou is arranged in the Y shape with a total length of over 50 km. By consisting of three main valleys, called Shuzheng Valley (main gully), Zechawa Valley(left gully), Rize Valley (right gully) and the magnificent Nuorilang Waterfall, Jiuzhaigou has over 100 lakes and waterfalls. Here are the main scenic areas with featured spots to visit:
The main valley of Jiuzhaigou, Shuzheng Valley is about 13.8 km extending from the mouth of the valley to the intersection of Nuorilang. Come all the way in, you’ll find:
getting into the gate, you’ll encounter various kinds of small streams, which are called Shuzheng Lakes. Spreading over 5 km, it consists of Sparking Lake, Shuzheng Waterfall, Tiger Lake and about 19 lakes. Go over along the way, you can enjoy the great nature with traditional Tibetan villages.
as the second largest lake, Rhinoceros Lake is about 2.2 km long, and 17 meters depth, extending to 200,000 square meters. Visit in Summer, you can view it changing into different green in the different area. There is a saying about its name that a monk riding a rhinoceros was infatuated with the scenery and went to the lake with the rhinoceros. If you are lucky enough, you can see the rhinoceros in the bottom.
The name Jiuzhaigou translates as The Valley of Nine Villages. Seven of the villages are still populated, and as at 2003 there was a permanent population of around 1,000. Previously residents worked farms and fields, but now the focus is on tourism.
Many of the residents are of the mountain-dwelling Qiang ethnic group, who carry on the old traditions for styles of clothing and hair. An interesting fact: some of the Qiang trace their line of descent through the female side, instead of the male side.
Nearly half of the 720 square kilometers of Jiuzhaigou is covered by virgin mixed forest, an amazing sight when covered by autumn colours. Even more amazing would be to spot one of the Giant Pandas or Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys, two endangered species that are said to inhabit the forests in tiny numbers.
However, the most well-known features, and the focus of our visit, are the greens and blues of the many lakes in the valleys. The colours of the lakes depend on the depth of the water and the concentration of different minerals in the water.
We‘ll use the park bus system to cut out some of the longer walks between scenic spots, but still hope to get some good walking in.
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