Zhangye National Geopark Overview

Zhangye National Geopark, also known as Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park, is located in the Gansu Province of northwestern China. The park is famed for its extraordinary landscapes known as Danxia landforms, which are a unique type of petrographic geomorphology found in China. Covering an area of approximately 510 square kilometers (about 197 square miles), Zhangye National Geopark is a magnificent showcase of nature’s artistry, distinguished by its colorful rock formations that seem to paint the mountains in vibrant hues.

Situated in the foothills of the Qilian Mountains, the geopark’s landscape has been sculpted over millions of years, primarily through the depositing of sandstone and other minerals, followed by extensive erosion by wind and water. The result is a series of towering peaks, rugged cliffs, and deep ravines, all characterized by their striking layers of reds, yellows, oranges, and greens. This vivid palette has earned the area the nickname “Rainbow Mountains.”

The park is divided into several scenic areas, with the most famous being the Linze and Binggou areas. These regions offer visitors a chance to marvel at the Danxia landforms’ intricate patterns and surreal beauty through a series of viewing platforms and walking trails designed to provide the best vistas without harming the delicate environment.

Zhangye National Geopark has gained international fame for its unique geological features, attracting geologists, photographers, and nature lovers from around the world. Its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List further underscores its global significance and the need to preserve its natural beauty for future generations.

Exploring Zhangye National Geopark offers an unforgettable journey through one of nature’s most extraordinary galleries, where the earth itself seems to tell a story of time, transformation, and the sheer power of natural forces.

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Park Map
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Zhangye National Geopark Pictures

Zhangye National Geopark Trails

Danxia Landscape Area

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, but most paths are less than 1 kilometer with minimal elevation gain.

Description: This area offers a series of short, easy walks from various parking lots to viewing platforms.

Visitors will experience the stunning, multicolored Danxia landforms, with vibrant layers of reds, yellows, and oranges.

The trails are mostly paved and accessible, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the layered formations, especially beautiful at sunrise or sunset.

Binggou Danxia Area

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Up to 2 kilometers round trip with some gentle slopes.

Description: Binggou Danxia offers a slightly more rugged terrain compared to the main Danxia Landscape Area, with trails leading to unique rock formations and sculptures shaped by erosion over millions of years. The area is less crowded, offering a peaceful exploration of its extraordinary landscapes.

Sunan Danxia Scenic Area

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Trails can vary, up to 3 kilometers round trip with moderate elevation gain.

Description: This part of the geopark features some of the most vibrant colors and patterns. Trails here lead through varied terrain, offering close-up views of the intricate layers and colors of the Danxia formations.

The area is great for those looking for a more immersive experience in the park’s natural beauty.

Colorful Clouds Viewing Platform

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: Short walk, less than 1 kilometer from the nearest parking area with minimal elevation gain.

Description: This platform is one of the most popular spots in the park for photography, offering expansive views of the Danxia landscape.

The trail is short and easy, suitable for all visitors, leading to a viewpoint that showcases the dramatic colors and patterns of the rock formations, especially striking at sunset.

Qicai Mountain (Seven-Color Mountain)

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 1 to 2 kilometers round trip, with minimal elevation gain.

Description: Qicai Mountain features trails that wind through some of the most vividly colored sections of the park. Easy to navigate, these paths allow visitors to appreciate the unique geological phenomenon of layered sandstone and minerals which create a rainbow of colors. The area is a highlight for its scenic beauty and geological interest, accessible to visitors of all abilities.

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  • China Highlights, Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park – Rainbow Mountains,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Forbes, The Rainbow Mountains of China Earth’s Paint Palette,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Lonely Planet, Zhangye Danxia National Geopark,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Travel China Guide, Zhangye Danxia National Park,, retrieved April 2024.