Huanglong Travel Guide

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Oct. 19, 2022

Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area are located in the northwestern corner of Sichuan Province. It is an area of exceptional scenic beauty and historic interest that is also globally environmentally important as it is home to the Giant Panda and the Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey, both endangered species. The area is also marked by unusual forest ecosystems, waterfalls, hot springs, and snow-capped mountain peaks as well as glaciers.

The Huanglong area was declared a state scenic district by the Chinese Government in 1982 and was extended official legal protection by the Sichuan Provincial Government in January 1987. In 1992, it was listed as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.

The city of Huanglong is situated in the southern part of the Minshan mountain range, about 150 km from the province's capital, Chengdu.  Huanglong Valley itself is 7000m in length, and 300m in width. There are over 3400 natural pools scattered about the valley, some of which are quite large and some of which are no larger than the size of a soup bowl. The sides of the pools are golden in hue, and the water is clear (not muddy), albeit brightly colored.

Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area are one of two shining pearls in the West-Sichuan Plateau (the other is the Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area). With its many stunning geological formations, its unusual ecosystems, and its unique wildlife habitats, it is no wonder that Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area has been dubbed "A Fairyland on Earth".

Top Attractions to Visit in Huanglong

1. Danyun Valley

Danyun Valley is the typical valley landscape. It’s a peculiar valley landscape that features clouds, mist, peculiar peaks, various fantastic rocks, towering cliffs, rushing torrents, waterfalls, flowing springs hanging upside down, waterspouts, and forests inside it. Danyun Valley covers an overall length of 35 kilometers and the Fujiang River runs through it. There is cloud and mist that rise from the forests almost every day, which creates a fairyland. Danyun Valley also abounds with varieties of trees, shrubs, flowers, and plants, which is a paradise for plant enthusiasts.

Danyun Valley boasts different landscapes in four seasons. There is a sea of verdant forests in summer, and the valley is carpeted with azalea blossoms in spring. In autumn, the whole valley is covered with fiery and flaming maple leaves, which look like the flaming cloud at sunset dropping from the sky. Danyun Valley got its name because of its flaming autumn landscape. In winter, Danyun Valley becomes a snow-white world with ice pillars standing in great numbers. The famous scenic spits inside Danyun Valley Scenic Area include Huajiao Valley, Yusun Peak, Zaokong Cave, Lingbing Rock, Bailongxia waterfalls, and Yixiantian waterfalls.

2. Huanglong Valley

 Huanglong Valley is the most visually striking part of the scenic area far from Huanglong Valley. It is better known for its breathtakingly beautiful travertine landscape with its many colored pools that lie in a terraced formation along the slope of Huanglong Valley, it also includes mountains with snow-clad peaks, nestled among which are to be found China's easternmost present-day glaciers. Travertine landscapes are not uncommon (but not automatic) features of a karst landscape; the difference seems to lie in the presence of geothermal springs that are rich in carbonic acid (see the footnote for an explanation of the process that produces travertine).

3. Mouni Valley

Mouni Valley Scenic Resort is 36 kilometers far away from the west urban of Songpan County. It is over 300 kilometers far from Chengdu. The resort has an area of 160 square kilometers. The lowest altitude is 2800 meters, while the highest one is 4070 meters. The mean temperature here is 7℃. It consists of Zhaga Waterfall and Erdaohai Lake. This scenic area has fresh air and enough sunshine. It is very charming as it has features of waterfalls, colorful ponds, grasslands, pools, springs, caves, etc. Moreover, it is also characterized by strong folk customs. Therefore, it is a place combining the beauty together with the scenic and historic interest areas of Jiuzhaigou Valley and Huanglong. What’s more, visitors can travel in winter as there is no traffic problem here.

4. Sigou Valley

The Sigou Valley Scenic Area is situated at an altitude of 2700 meters to 4200 meters. Before you enter the valley, there is a spacious terrace at the entrance where the view is majestic. Within the valley, there are spacious beaches, forests, and glaciers that have been successfully preserved and thus still retain their original looks dating back to ancient times. It’s a great place to visit and spend an afternoon of exploration in.

The area also has wide expanses of plain hillsides with a lot of patches of farmlands. There grows a lot of pink buckwheat and green highland barley fenced in by round wood, which extends to the forest area. In the middle of the spacious grassland, there is also a watershed where there are lakes formed by glaciers. This is the same area where the famous Long’an Horse Path passed by, and until now, the wide paths can still be seen.

5. Yingbin Pond

The ponds are surrounded by the lush vegetation of evergreen trees and flowering shrubs and plants. The area is a photographer's dream with all of the wonderful colors of the ponds and the Karst landscape provides a totally different picture from other parts of China. 

The many colors of the Yingbin Pond with trees reflected on the mirror-like surface.

The pond is made up of more than 100 pools of differing sizes. The ponds are like glass and reflect the many trees and magnificent scenery around them. The pools are bordered by banks of deposited limestone that was dissolved many years ago by rainwater and meltwater from the glaciers that were in the region.

Best Time to Visit Huanglong

The average temperature is around 7 ℃ all year round. It is misty in the morning and evening and rainy from May to August.

Aba has a complex landform, and therefore, has various types of climate. The temperature is higher in the southeast, but lower in the northwest, because of the changing altitude.

The hilly plateaus in the northwest belong to the continental plateau monsoon climate. Therefore, the features of the four seasons are not too distinct. The weather in winter is cold and long, but cool and moist in summer. The mean temperature is 0.8℃~4.3℃. The region of plains and hills belongs to the cool and semi-moisture climate.

Thus, it is cool in summer and cold in winter and spring. The climate changes vertically. In the high hills, it is moist and chilly. In valleys, it is dry, warm, and cool. The mean temperature is 5.6℃~8.9℃. In those areas, with the change in the altitude, the climate zone changes from the subtropical zone to the temperate zone, the cool temperate zone, and finally to the Frigid Zone.

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