Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park

Basic Facts

Name: Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park, Danxia Landform Geopark, Rainbow Mountains
Chinese Name: 张掖丹霞国家地质公园
Location: between Linze County and Sunan County, Zhangye, Gansu Province in northwest China
Area: 200 square miles (510 square kilometers)

Extending along the northern slope of Qilian Mountain in west China, Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park in Gansu is the best representative of China's colorful Danxia landform and the largest Danxia landscape in an arid area, with a wide variety of landforms. Undulating fiery-red ridges together with amazing multicolored mountain folds transform the park into an immense sea of fire with rolling waves, earning it the reputation of China's Rainbow Mountains and also one of the 'Top 10 Geographical Wonders of the World' selected by the National Geographic.

How was Zhangye Danxia formed?

Zhangye Danxia Geopark's geological structure is formed by rocks piling on top of one another. It means that after billions of years of weathering and water erosion, together with the influences brought by the special geological structure, climate change, and wind power, the red sandstones, psephites and pelites have shaped into isolated mountains and steep rocks. The sandstones' bright colors make the Geopark an attractive tourist destination to experience the masterpieces of nature.

Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park
Colorful Hills
Tourists at Zhangye Danxia Geopark
Tourists at Danxia Geopark

The park is divided into two distinctive areas: Colorful Hills, featuring the bright and contrasting colors, and Ice Valley, famous for its bizarre forms.

Colorful Hills

Red is the main color of Colorful Hills. Under the sunlight, the seemingly endless hills form a sea of fire. Some of the hills feature rock stripes in different colors, looking like bright ribbons fluttering in the desert. The most representative spots of this kind are the Seven-color Screen and the Colorful Sunset, looking like a rainbow hanging in the distance. However, scenes are totally different on the edge of this area. The colors there turn into yellow and grey, resembling crystal shells in the sun. Scenes are even more breathtaking at sunrise and sunset. Then, the staggered lights and shadows thrown on the hills endow this region with a dynamic beauty.

Viewing Platforms in Colorful Hills

Colorful Hills has four viewing platforms for visitors to admire the scenes and take pictures. There is a sightseeing bus taking you to each of them. You can also walk to every platform.

 The first platform is about ten minutes' walk from the gate. It would take less than a minute to get there by bus. It is the largest one and may need about 40 minutes to visit.

 Walking to the second one also takes about ten minutes. It is the highest point for visitors to take a bird's-eye-view of the whole region. You need to climb up 666 steps to get to the top. The climbing takes about 30 minutes and requires a lot of energy.

 Taking a few minutes' walk along a boardwalk, you will reach the third platform. The splendid scenery of Seven-color Screen is the major attraction there.

 The last one is a little further from the third platform. It would take three minutes getting there by bus. Walking may need about 40 minutes. It is the major viewing platform built on a mountain ridge with the most stunning scenes.

Map of Zhangye Danxia Geological Park
Map of Colorful Hills Scenic Area
Map of Ice Valley (Binggou)
Map of Ice Valley (Binggou Scenic Area)

Ice Valley (Binggou Scenic Area)

Stretching 25 miles (40 kilometers) from west to east, Danxia precipices, stone columns, aiguilles and hills are widely distributed in this region. The narrow hills in the Ice Valley are all pointing to the sky, making this valley the Red Stone Forest of the Great Northwest. Viewed from a distance, the rolling hills look like temples, pagodas, and figures of Buddha, making the valley a natural Buddhist land.

How to Get to Danxia Landform Geopark?

  Arrive at Zhangye by flight:

Lanzhou, Xi'an, Urumqi, and Dunhuang have direct flights to Zhangye Ganzhou Airport. At the airport, you can hire a taxi to the Geopark, which is 40 mi (65 km) away. Otherwise you can take a taxi to West Bus Station, which costs about CNY 60 for the 15 mi (25-km) journey. At the bus station, take a bus bound for Sunan, get off at the intermediate stop Nantaicun, and then walk to the Geopark.

  Get to Lanzhou first and transfer to Zhangye:

Lanzhou, 310 mi (500 km) from Zhangye, enjoys more convenient accessibility. One can get to Lanzhou first and then take a flight, high-speed train (Lanzhou West Railway Station - Zhangye West Railway Station), or bus (at Lanzhou East Bus Station) to get to Zhangye, and then go to West Bus Station of the city to take a bus to the Geopark.

Admission Fee

 Colorful Hills

CNY 60 (Entrance CNY 40 + Sightseeing Bus CNY 20)
CNY 40 (Entrance CNY 20 + Sightseeing Bus CNY 20) for children between 3.9 and 4.9 feet (1.2 and 1.5 meters) in height.
Free of charge for children under 3.9 feet (1.2 meters)


 The sights are widely distributed. The tour route is very long with no walkways. Visitors need to take the sightseeing bus.

 The spot provides ten-seats charter buses. Those who enjoy this service don't need to pay for the sightseeing bus. (Fare: CNY 300/2h)

 Ice Valley

Entrance Ticket CNY 80
CNY 40 for children between 3.9 and 4.9 feet (1.2 and 1.5 meters)
Children under 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) enjoy free admission
Sightseeing Bus CNY 20/per person
Charter Bus CNY 300/per bus

Opening Hours

May 1 to October 10 6:00 - 20:00
October 11 to April 30 Next Year 7:00 - 19:00
- Last modified on Nov. 21, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park
Asked by J. C. from UNITED STATES | Nov. 17, 2018 19:09Reply
Sightseeing bus of Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park
How frequent is the bus? How long does the bus stop at each viewing platform? Could I stay at one spot longer and wait for the next one to take me to the next stop?

Answers (1)
Answered by David from SINGAPORE | Nov. 21, 2018 18:02

The frequency of the bus is about 5 - 10 minutes. The bus won's stop for a long time at each viewing platform. You get off at one platform, then take other tourist buses to the next platform. Tourists can hop on or off. So you can stay longer at one platform and take another sightseeing bus.
Asked by Amnon from ISRAEL | Nov. 04, 2018 07:11Reply
I plan a two-days trip in Daxia. Is there an hotel near the entrance?
Are there walking trails in the park or just the observation points?
Many thanks for your reply.
Amnon from Israel.
Answers (1)
Answered by Quentrel from AUSTRALIA | Nov. 05, 2018 17:50

Yes, there are many hotels in this scenic area. You are advised to book one in the Seven-color Town at the north gate of Danxia scenic area with good environment and service. You can take the shuttle bus in the scenic area and the bus will pass the six viewing platforms. In the scenic area, you can only take the sightseeing bus shuttle among the viewing platforms and there is no path for tourists walking.
Asked by Uli from SPAIN | Oct. 26, 2018 16:46Reply
Binggou scenic area ad Danxia scenic area in one day

I would like to inow if it is possible to combine in only one day the visit to Binggou and Danxia scenic areas? Or should I do it in 2 days?
Answers (1)
Answered by Dahlia from SOUTH AFRICA | Oct. 29, 2018 00:04

Yes, it is possible but you are advised to book a one-day tour to these two scenic areas or hire a car to visit.
Asked by Wilma post from NETHERLANDS | Jul. 03, 2018 08:54Reply
Bus to Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park
Do you know how many busses will go from west bus station and at what time?
Answers (1)
Answered by Molly from NETHERLANDS | Jul. 04, 2018 18:35

The bus is to Linze County departed from 7:00-19:00 with an interval about 15 minutes and you need to tell the driver you need to stop at the national park.
Asked by Cristofre from GRENADA | Jul. 02, 2018 08:02Reply
Can you tell me what the Number of the bus to take from the West Bus station?
Also, can you explain how to get to the Ice Valley area from the Colorful Hills area and back to Zhangye?
Answers (1)
Answered by Edwardo from BRAZIL | Jul. 02, 2018 21:17

It seems that there is no specific bus number and there are only Chinese characters and you can show this to the staff in bus station “张掖—丹霞公园”. You can take the bus to Ice Valley area first, and after visit you can take the pass-by bus to the Colorful Hills area and back to ZY.
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