Jiuzhaigou Overview

Jiuzhaigou National Park, nestled in the Min Shan mountain range on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in Sichuan, China, is a spectacle of natural beauty and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992. Covering an area of approximately 720 square kilometers (about 278 square miles), Jiuzhaigou, which translates to “Nine Village Valley,” is named after the nine Tibetan villages scattered throughout the park. This enchanting valley is celebrated for its stunning array of multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snow-capped peaks, creating a landscape that seems almost otherworldly.

The park’s geography is marked by its three main valleys – Rize, Zechawa, and Shuzheng – each offering distinct scenic views that are interconnected by boardwalks and trails to facilitate exploration. Jiuzhaigou’s altitude ranges from 2,000 to 4,500 meters, encompassing a variety of ecosystems from dense forests to alpine meadows, which support a diverse range of flora and fauna. Among its biological riches, the park is home to several endangered species, including the giant panda and the Sichuan takin.

However, what truly sets Jiuzhaigou apart are its crystal-clear turquoise lakes, formed by glacial activity and dammed by natural travertine barriers. These lakes change color with the seasons and the shifting light, creating a dynamic landscape that is both tranquil and dramatic. The best-known features include the Five Flower Lake, known for its multi-colored water, and the spectacular Pearl Shoal Waterfall.

Jiuzhaigou National Park underwent restoration after a significant earthquake in 2017 but has since reopened to the public, continuing to enchant visitors with its natural beauty and serene landscapes. It remains a testament to the power of natural forces and conservation efforts, offering a peaceful retreat and a reminder of the pristine beauty that exists in the world’s protected areas.

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Jiuzhaigou National Park Highlights

Five Flower Lake

Five Flower Lake is a stunning jewel nestled in Jiuzhaigou, known for its mesmerizing turquoise waters and colorful underwater landscape.

Spanning approximately 82 feet (25 meters) in depth, this lake boasts a kaleidoscope of hues, ranging from emerald green to azure blue.

Visitors are enchanted by the unique sight of ancient submerged tree trunks beneath the clear waters, lending an ethereal charm to the scenery.

Long Lake

Long Lake stretches majestically for about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers), making it the largest and deepest lake in Jiuzhaigou.

Surrounded by pristine forests and snow-capped peaks, Long Lake offers a serene retreat for nature lovers.

Its tranquil waters mirror the surrounding landscape, creating a picturesque setting that captivates visitors with its beauty and tranquility.

Arrow Bamboo Lake

Arrow Bamboo Lake is renowned for its stunning reflections and vibrant aquatic vegetation.

Spanning approximately 6,561 feet (2,000 meters) in length, this lake is adorned with lush arrow bamboo groves, which cast delicate shadows on its surface.

Visitors can stroll along wooden boardwalks that meander through the bamboo forest, immersing themselves in the peaceful ambiance of this enchanting landscape.

Pearl Shoal Waterfall

Pearl Shoal Waterfall is one of the most spectacular sights in Jiuzhaigou, cascading gracefully over a series of terraced limestone formations.

Standing at approximately 131 feet (40 meters) tall and spanning about 164 feet (50 meters) in width, this majestic waterfall creates a mesmerizing curtain of water that glistens in the sunlight.

Visitors can witness the sheer power of nature as the crystal-clear waters plunge into the emerald pool below, surrounded by lush vegetation and colorful wildflowers.

Nuorilang Waterfall

Nuorilang Waterfall is a breathtaking cascade located near the entrance of Jiuzhaigou National Park. With a height of around 79 feet (24 meters) and a width of approximately 820 feet (250 meters), it is one of the widest waterfalls in China.

The waterfall emerges from a lush forested cliff, creating a dramatic display as the water tumbles down in a series of graceful tiers.

Visitors can admire the sheer force and beauty of the waterfall from various viewpoints along the trail, immersing themselves in the awe-inspiring natural scenery.

Rhinoceros Lake Waterfall

Rhinoceros Lake Waterfall is a picturesque cascade nestled amid the tranquil landscapes of Jiuzhaigou National Park. Standing at approximately 98 feet (30 meters) tall, this enchanting waterfall descends gently over moss-covered rocks, creating a serene and idyllic atmosphere.

Visitors can enjoy the soothing sound of rushing water as they take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

The pristine beauty of Rhinoceros Lake and the tranquil waterfall flowing into the lake offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers seeking tranquility and rejuvenation.

Jiuzhaigou National Park Pictures

Engaging Jiuzhaigou

Meander Amongst the Splendor

Jiuzhaigou is renowned for its extensive network of hiking trails, offering visitors a chance to explore its pristine landscapes, crystal-clear lakes, and vibrant forests.  This is one of the best ways to get up close and personal with the majestic nature of the surrounding landscape of the national park.

With trails ranging from easy strolls to challenging hikes, adventurers of all levels can immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty.  It is one of the best ways to experience the tranquil lakes and beautiful waterfalls.  You can explore more about trails in our trails section.

Navigation Made Easier

Hop on one of the park’s scenic bus tours to enjoy panoramic views of the park’s stunning landscapes.

These tours take you through the park’s highlights, including its iconic waterfalls, colorful lakes, and towering peaks, providing a convenient and comfortable way to experience Jiuzhaigou’s natural wonders.

These tours make it easier for visitors to experience more of the park in a single day.  They also help those who might have physical challenges have the opportunity to witness such grandeur.

Jiuzhaigou National Park Trails

Shuzheng Valley Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: Approximately 14.5 kilometers one way, with minimal elevation gain.

Description: This trail takes visitors through the heart of Jiuzhaigou, past the Shuzheng Lakes, a series of stunning, terraced, naturally dammed lakes and waterfalls.

The path is mostly flat and boardwalked, making it accessible to all fitness levels.

Highlights include the Shuzheng Waterfall and views of local Tibetan villages. It’s a great way to experience the park’s signature water features.

Rize Valley Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: About 18 kilometers one way, with some sections having moderate elevation gain.

Description: The Rize Valley Trail offers a more challenging but rewarding hike, featuring some of Jiuzhaigou’s most iconic sights, including the Mirror Lake, Pearl Shoal Waterfall, and the Five Flower Lake.

The trail includes boardwalks and stairs, with stunning views of multi-colored lakes and dense forests. This trail showcases the park’s biodiversity and geological wonders.

Zechawa Valley Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Roughly 18 kilometers one way, with gentle elevation changes.

Description: This trail extends from the Long Lake, the largest in Jiuzhaigou, down through the Zechawa Valley, ending near the entrance of the park.

Along the way, hikers can enjoy serene lake views, including the Five-Color Pond, known for its vivid colors and clear waters.

The trail is a peaceful exploration of Jiuzhaigou’s quieter, but equally beautiful, landscapes.

Primeval Forest Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2.5 kilometers round trip, with minimal elevation gain.

Description: The Primeval Forest is a scenic area with a boardwalk that winds through an ancient forest surrounding a spectacular waterfall and lake.

This area provides a tranquil walking experience, with opportunities to see Jiuzhaigou’s flora and possibly some fauna.

It’s an excellent spot for those interested in the park’s ecology and looking for a short, leisurely walk.

Panda Lake Loop

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: About 3 kilometers loop, with minimal elevation gain.

Description: This gentle loop takes hikers past the Panda Lake, one of the park’s lower-altitude lakes, offering stunning reflections of the surrounding forest and mountains. The path is well-maintained and offers a relaxing way to enjoy Jiuzhaigou’s natural beauty. While actual panda sightings are rare, the area is peaceful and provides a chance to enjoy the park’s serene environment.



1. What is Jiuzhaigou National Park most famous for?

Jiuzhaigou National Park is most famous for its stunning natural scenery, characterized by its pristine turquoise lakes, vibrant waterfalls, lush forests, and snow-capped peaks.

The park is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, which are a result of its unique geological formations, including limestone terraces, karst valleys, and glacial activity.

Visitors flock to Jiuzhaigou to marvel at the vivid colors of its lakes, created by mineral deposits and aquatic plant life, and to witness the cascading waterfalls, which range from gentle trickles to thundering torrents.

Additionally, Jiuzhaigou is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

2. When is the best time to visit Jiuzhaigou National Park?

The best time to visit Jiuzhaigou National Park is during the spring and autumn months, from April to June and September to November, when the weather is mild, and the park is less crowded.

During these seasons, visitors can enjoy comfortable temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F) during the day. Spring brings blooming flowers and lush greenery, while autumn offers stunning foliage colors.

However, it’s essential to note that Jiuzhaigou can experience sudden changes in weather, including rain and occasional snowfall, so it’s advisable to check the forecast before planning your trip.

Winter months (December to February) can be cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing, but the park’s snowy landscapes offer a unique and serene atmosphere for winter enthusiasts.

  • All Trails, Jiuzhaigou Full Scenic Hike,, retrieved April 2024.
  • China Discovery, Jiuzhaigou Travel Guide,, retrieved March 2024.
  • The China Guide, Jiuzhaigou National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • UNESCO, Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area,, retrieved March 2024.
  • World Atlas, Jiuzhaigou National Park,, retrieved April 2024.