Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park is located in Gansu Province, China, in the eastern foothills of the Qilian Mountains. A magnificent Danxia (/dan-sshyaa/'red cloud') landform area covers around 50 square kilometers in the geological park (19 square miles).
The danxia landforms are a natural wonder. The vibrant mountain ridges resemble an upside-down palette from heaven.
Red Rocks and Rainbow Ridges abound in Zhangye Danxia's landscape
The Danxia landscape of Zhangye features numerous precipitous red cliffs, the majority of which are several hundred meters high, as well as multicolored ridges of weathered strata that extend to the horizon. These formations, which are sometimes smooth and sometimes rough, stand out against the plains' greens and grays, appearing grand and majestic, vigorous and virile.
A kaleidoscope of numerous red rocky outcrops dots the danxia landscape region, resembling strange and wonderful shapes such as castles, cones, and towers, as well as humans, insects, birds, and beasts. Their heights, which peep through the mist and clouds, create a mirage-like landscape of fantastic mountains and pavilions.
Why Are There Colorful Layers in the Zhangye Danxia Landscape?
The region was once part of the ocean around 540 million years ago. The land was folded and created mountains as a result of tectonic plate collisions, and it was raised above sea level.
When rivers formed in the area, red sandstone was deposited. Mudstone was deposited on the red sandstone as the earth sunk into a basin. Various sedimentary rocks were formed over time that contained varying quantities of ferrous salt in the mud and stone. This is why the layers are colored differently.
The sedimentary layers formed have different colors of red, purplish red, yellowish green, grayish green, and gray due to changes in sedimentary environments. Thousands of years went into the formation of each layer.
The Himalayan movement raised the region, causing rivers to develop. The early Danxia landscape was formed by river erosion, which produced gorges. River erosion and wind erosion created the colorful layers we see today after more geological cycles.
This is the main attraction that draws tourists from all over the world. The "Rainbow Mountains" refers to the colorful layers that make up the Zhangye Danxia landform range.
How to Get to Zhangye Danxia Park Zhangye Danxia Park?
In northwestern China's Gansu Province, the Danxia national park is located near the city of Zhangye, about 30 minutes west by road. You can also go to the city bus station first and then take the bus to the park.
The First Platform for Viewing (Known as Colorful Meeting Fairy Platform)
The first viewing platform, at 10 minutes' walk from the entrance, is the largest and closest to it. To get to the viewing platform, you just have to walk up a few stairs. It's basically at ground level, with views of the high, colorful mountains in the distance.
Monks Worshiping the Buddha, the massive "scallops," Monkeys Rush into the Sea of Fire, and Rainbow Hill are all shapes that can be seen in the mountains if you use your imagination.
A Second Platform for Viewing (Known as Colorful Sea of Clouds Platform)
At this stage, there are two platforms: one at the bottom and one at the top of a hill. To get to the base platform, you just need to walk for a few minutes, but getting to the top takes a lot of time. A mountain in the shape of a sleeping beauty can be seen from the base platform.
The highest viewing platform is the top platform. It has 666 steps to ascend, which takes about 30 minutes. The wooden path to the top platform winds along the ridge like the Great Wall. You can photograph the panoramic view from the top. It's also a great spot to see the sunset.
Third Viewing Platform (Known as Colorful Embroidered Platform)
The popular "Seven-Color Fan" can be seen from the third viewing platform. The mountain seems to have been painted with a vibrant palette. With their pastel shades, the vast rolling hills seem to be very relaxing.
The Fourth Platform for Viewing (Also known as Colorful Clouds Platform)
The view from the fourth observation platform is the most breathtaking. It is located on a ridge that runs east-west. Standing on the ridge and looking south, the variegated colors of Qicai Shan (/chee-tseye shan/ "Seven-Color Mountain") can be appreciated.
It's the ideal spot for photographing a sunrise or sunset.
The Best Time to Visit The Beautiful Place (Seasons and Hours)
The best months to visit Zhangye are June to September, when the weather is pleasant and the combination of good sunlight and a little rain enhances the colors. The rest of the year is scorching hot and dry. In the winter, Zhangye is bitterly cold and windy, making it unsuitable for travel.
The rocky bands are well marked with vibrant stripes, and the color would be even more beautiful if it rains the day before.
Avoid going when it is cloudy or snowy, as these mountains can only show you their beautiful colors when it is sunny.
It's best to go early in the morning or late in the evening, particularly at sunset, when the colors change constantly, displaying yellow and red hues.
Sunset is about 7:30 p.m. in the spring and fall, and 8:00 p.m. in the summer.
The Bottom Line:
The Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in China contains the Rainbow Mountains, which are a geological wonder of the world. These well-known Chinese mountains are known for their otherworldly hues, which resemble a rainbow drawn on the peaks of rolling mountains.
This is just one example of geology piqueing our interest and prompting us to wonder: What causes the Rainbow Mountains to be colored the way they are? I'll talk about the diagenetic and mineralogical processes that give reds, greens, yellows, and blues their colors.
The Zhangye Danxia National Park is a 200-square-mile park in China's northwest province of Gansu. In 2009, the site was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is a popular tourist destination for both Chinese and foreign visitors.