Guilin Lijiang Overview

Guilin Lijiang National Park, often referred to simply as the Lijiang River Scenic Area in Guilin, is located in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, southern China. This renowned national park is celebrated for its extraordinary natural scenery, particularly the Lijiang River (Li River) that meanders gracefully through Guilin and Yangshuo, covering a length of about 83 kilometers (approximately 52 miles) from Guilin to Yangshuo. The park itself is part of a larger karst landscape that spans approximately 2,000 square kilometers (about 772 square miles), known for its dramatic limestone karst hills, serene rivers, and rich biodiversity.

The Lijiang River Scenic Area is distinguished by its picturesque landscape, which has inspired Chinese poets and artists for thousands of years. The river flows through a stunning array of limestone karst peaks, each uniquely shaped by millions of years of weathering and erosion. These towering formations, alongside the crystal-clear waters of the Lijiang River, create a magical and almost surreal vista that is often depicted in traditional Chinese paintings.

One of the most iconic features of Guilin Lijiang National Park is the Nine Horses Fresco Hill, where natural rock formations create patterns resembling horses. Another notable landmark is Elephant Trunk Hill, a hill that looks remarkably like an elephant dipping its trunk into the river. The park is also home to Reed Flute Cave, a remarkable cave filled with a variety of stalactites, stalagmites, and rock formations in vivid colors, illuminated by artificial lighting.

Visitors to Guilin Lijiang National Park can explore its beauty through river cruises on the Lijiang River, offering close-up views of the karst landscape and traditional rural life along the riverbanks. Bamboo rafting, hiking, and cycling are popular activities that allow tourists to immerse themselves in the serene and captivating environment.

The Guilin Lijiang National Park stands as a testament to the natural beauty of China’s karst landscapes, offering a peaceful retreat and a source of artistic inspiration. Its unique geological formations, combined with the cultural significance of the area, make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and those seeking to experience the essence of China’s natural heritage.

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Guilin Lijiang National Park Pictures

Engaging Guilin Lijiang National Park

Explore the park’s karst formations on hiking trails that wind through dense forests, meander along rivers, and ascend to panoramic viewpoints. Choose from a variety of hiking routes, ranging from leisurely walks to challenging treks, providing opportunities to discover hidden caves, picturesque waterfalls, and stunning vistas.

Embark on a scenic river cruise along the Li River, offering mesmerizing views of Guilin Lijiang National Park’s iconic karst landscapes. Glide past towering limestone peaks, lush greenery, and traditional fishing villages as you cruise down the tranquil waters, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the region.

Challenge yourself with rock climbing adventures amidst Guilin Lijiang National Park’s karst mountains. Ascend towering limestone cliffs, test your skills on vertical rock faces, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes from elevated vantage points. Guided rock climbing tours cater to climbers of all levels, providing equipment and instruction for safe and exhilarating climbing experiences.

Guilin Lijiang National Park Trails

Li River Bamboo Raft Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, as this is a water-based experience rather than a hiking trail

Description: While not a trail in the traditional sense, bamboo rafting along the Li River offers a unique way to experience the breathtaking scenery of Guilin’s karst mountains. Travelers will glide past ancient villages, lush bamboo groves, and iconic limestone peaks.

This serene journey provides unparalleled photographic opportunities and a chance to see local fishermen employing traditional techniques.

Moon Hill Hike

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 0.8 miles (1.3 km) one way with about 800 feet (244 meters) elevation gain

Description: Moon Hill offers a moderately challenging hike to a natural arch with a moon-shaped hole, providing stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and karst formations.

The ascent involves a stairway leading to the arch, making it accessible yet rewarding for those seeking elevated views.

The area is iconic for its geological features and is a favorite among photographers and nature enthusiasts.

Xianggong Hill Viewpoint

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 0.5 miles (0.8 km) one way with about 300 feet (91 meters) elevation gain

Description: Xianggong Hill is renowned for its spectacular sunrise and foggy morning views over the Li River and karst landscape.

The hike to the viewpoint is short but steep, culminating in one of the most breathtaking panoramas in the region.

It’s a must-visit for photographers and those looking to experience the quintessential beauty of Guilin’s natural scenery.

Reed Flute Cave Path

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 0.3 miles (0.5 km) round trip with minimal elevation gain, inside the cave

Description: Located within a natural limestone cave, this easy walk takes visitors through a fantastical landscape of stalactites, stalagmites, and rock formations illuminated by colorful lights.

The Reed Flute Cave, known as “the Palace of Natural Arts,” offers a magical exploration of Guilin’s underground wonders.

It’s suitable for all ages and provides a cool respite from the outdoor heat.

Longji Rice Terraces Trek

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, up to 5 miles (8 km) with significant elevation gain across multiple trails

Description: The Longji (Dragon’s Backbone) Rice Terraces, located a few hours from Guilin, offer various trails through stunning agricultural landscapes.

Hikers can explore traditional Zhuang and Yao villages, marvel at the intricate terraces carved into the mountains over centuries, and enjoy seasonal changes that paint the landscape in different hues.

The trek can be tailored to fitness levels, promising cultural insights and natural beauty.


1. What is Guilin Lijiang National Park known for?

Guilin Lijiang National Park in China is known for its stunning karst landscapes, featuring towering limestone mountains, picturesque rivers, and lush forests.

Apart from pandas, the park is renowned for its scenic beauty, which has inspired poets and artists for centuries.

Visitors can explore the park’s karst formations through activities such as river cruises, hiking, and rock climbing, immersing themselves in the natural wonders of Guilin’s landscape.

2. When is the best time to visit Guilin Lijiang National Park

The best time to visit Guilin Lijiang National Park is during the spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and comfortable.

Average temperatures during these seasons range from 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C) during the day, providing pleasant conditions for outdoor activities. Additionally, spring and autumn offer clearer skies and less rainfall, enhancing the scenic beauty of the park’s karst landscapes.

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  • China, Lijiang River National Park in Guilin,, retrieved April 2024.
  • National Parks of China, Guilin and Lijiang River National Park, April 2024.
  • UNESCO, The Lijiang River Scenic Zone at Guilin,, retrieved April 2024.
  • World Atlas, Guilin Lijiang River National Park,, retrieved April 2024.