Covering an area of 290 square kilometers, Danxiashan Geopark is situated at the junction of Renhua County and Quxian County in the northeast of Shaoguan City, Guangdong Province. The landform featured by red cliffs and scarlet rocks which are made up by red sandy conglomerates is called Danxia landform. Danxia Mountain is named after this unique landform.
Danxia Mountain is in an intermountain basin located in the south of Nanling Mountain. It is in a red bed needle-karst-style structure, with over 380 stone peaks, stone forts, stone walls and stalactites. Most peaks, in different shapes, are from 300 meters to 400 meters in height. Consisting of red sandy conglomerates, Danxia Mountain is featured by red cliffs and scarlet rocks. As a result, Danxia Mountain is like a cluster of red clouds. So, ancient people give the name “Dan xia”(“dan” means hong and “xia” means clouds) to this mountain. Danxia Mountain is also known as “the Park of Red Stones in China”. It is the most miraculous mountain in the area south of the Five Ridges. Peaks and rocks, like birds or beasts, seem to be works of outstanding sculptors. In fact, they are all created by nature.
Danxia Basin came into being in the late Palaeozoic era. It was developed in the Mesozoic era, and was remade in the Cainozoic era. Its history went through three complete stage from geosyncline of platform to activation of platform (or geodepression). The material foundation of Danxia Landform is red fluvial-lacustrine sandy conglomerates which were formed in Upper Cretaceous 70 to 90 million years ago. 65 million years ago, due to tectonic movement, a lot of faults and joints came into being in this region, making the whole Danxia Basin a denudation region. 23 million years ago, Himalayan movement quickly uplifted this region. Over time, intermittent uplifting effects changed the landform of this region completely. The geologic process has made this region more colourful and diversified.
Apart from beautiful natural scenery, well-reserved ecotope, primitive ecological community, ancient trees and wild animals are attractive to tourists as well.
As a result of its long history, the cultural landscape in Danxiashan Geopark is extremely rich. There are evidences of primitive men living near Danxia Mountain long ago. Besides, in the southwest edge of Danxia Basin, skull fossils of the famous Mapa man (or Homo neanderthalensis) were once found, which are important sources of evidence to study early Homosapiens. Moreover, the Stone Gorge Cultural Site in Shi Zi Yan (Lion Rock) belonged to ancient people living in the late Neolithic period six thousand years ago. Here, there are a lot of legendary anecdotes and folk legends popular among local people. The story of Nv Wa (a goddess in Chinese mythology) and King Shun (a legendary monarch in ancient China) have affected the culture and people here. All of these attracts numerous tourists from home and abroad every year.