The Zhaling Lake and Eling Lake are located in the Maduo County and are the largest two freshwater lakes loated in the upper part of Yellow River.
The lakes are surrounded by rolling mountains and grasslands, they offer spectacular views and there are several local legends surrounding these lakes.
Highlights of Zhaling Lake and Eling Lake
The Zhaling Lake
Zhaling Lake is a freshwater lake located on the Yellow River and is also known as Chaling Sea. In Tibetan, it means a long white lake and is located west of the Eling Lake. It is spread over an area of 526 sq km, is 4294 m above sea level and around 8.9 m long. Off the northeast, the center of Zhaling Lake is at its deepest with a 4,600,000,000 cubic meters capacity. The water of Yellow River converges by the Yueguzonglie Stream and Nakari Stream and flows into this lake.
When the Yellow River’s water flows into this lake, it brings a lot of sand with it. This makes the surface gray every time the wind stirs it, giving it its name of long white lake. The lake has a lot of free floating fishes and aquatics. It is considered to be one of the important fishing bases located in Qinghai. The lake is home to three smaller islands, collectively known as the Bird Island, close to the entering of the Yellow River. On these islands flock migrant birds. There is also a subalpine meadow by this lake which is considered to be a popular pasture.
The Eling Lake
Other than Zhaling, the other freshwater lake located on Yellow River is the Eling Lake. In the old days this lake was called BO Sea, meaning long blue lake in the Tibetan language. The lake is located in the Qinghai Plateau in a hollow area of Maduo county. There is a large swamp located just off the lake which stretches from the valley formed by the Yellow River when it flows through Bayanlangma Mountain.
The Eling Lake has an area of around 610 sq km. It is 4272 m above sea level, 17.6 m long, extends 31. Km from east to west and 32.3 km from north to south. The deepest part of this lake is at the center, with a 30.7 m depth and 10,700,000,000 cubic meter capacity.
The water flows into Eling Lake from Yellow River at the southwest corner and northeast corner. The water flows into this lake with very little sand, making the surface blue. The lake is home to a lot of scaleless cold water fish such as three eyed fish, Huanghe carp, certodus and spotted carp. A fishery industry has been set up close by since 1978.
Several migrant birds gather on smaller islands in the lake. Birds such as Sheldrake, fish gull, brown neck gull and geese can be found. It is known as the Bird Island. There is also a very beautiful meadow by the Eling Lake.
The road condition from Machali to the lakes is not very good. It may take a few hours to cover the shortest road of 50 km. Expect drivers to charge a steep price.