Huanglong National Scenic Reserve

Huanglong Facts

Location: Songpan in the northwest part of Sichuan Province
Huanglong altitude: 1,700 - 5,588m (5,580 - 18,300 feet)
What to see: Huanglong Valley and Mounigou Valley

The 'World Wonder' and 'Fairy Land on Earth' are names enjoyed by the Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area, which is well known for its colorful Huanglong pool, lakes, snow clad mountains, valleys and virgin forest. It was included in the UNESCO world heritage list in 1992.

The Huanglong National Scenic Reserve encompasses the Huanglong and Mounigou Valley.

Huanglong Valley

The major scenery is concentrated in the 3.6-kilometer (2.2 miles) long Huanglong Valley that includes snow-clad peaks and the easternmost glaciers in China. Due to its layered calcium carbonated deposit patterns, the valley resembles a golden dragon winding its way through the virgin forest, stone mountains and glaciers. Along the valley are scattering numerous colorful ponds of different sizes and shapes, which are strewn with gold colored limestone deposit giving a shimmering golden hue to water, so in sunlight, a golden dragon seems to surge forth from the forest. Thus it was named 'Huanglong Valley' (Yellow Dragon Valley).

Huanglong Map
Huanglong Map
(Click to enlarge)

Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area is famed for its outstanding travertine (calcium carbonate) formations. With the virgin forest as its backdrop, the travertine scenery holds colorful ponds, beaches, lakes, springs, waterfalls, caves, etc. The travertine formations scenery is No.1 in China.

Upon entering the Huanglong National Scenic Reserve, a group of exquisite, crystal clear ponds will immediately catch your eyes with their unparalleled and esthetic charm. These are the Yingbin (welcoming guests) Colored Ponds. In spring, the luxuriant trees, blooming flowers, butterflies and birdsong enhance their glamour even more. From the ponds, you can see the interwoven reflection of trees, mountains, clouds and sky, which is a veritable feast to the eyes.

Along the valley, you will see many attractions including Feipuliuhui (glowing waterfall), Xishen (washing body) Cave, Penjing (miniascape) Ponds, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Temple, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Cave, Shitazhenhai and Zhuanhua (whirling flower) Pond, etc. In the Yellow Dragon Cave, there are three sitting Buddha figures whose bodies are encrusted with calc-sinter crystals. In winter, ice forest, bamboo shoots and waterfalls, etc, form a magical icy scene. Shitazhenhai is the most beautiful attraction of the whole scenic area. The calcium carbonate deposits give a myriad of different hues to the water, which is truly breath-taking. Zhuanhua Pond is crystal clear and the spring water never stops welling up. If you throw flowers or leaves into the pond, they will swirl rhythmically with flow of the water.

Bonsai Pond
Bonsai Pond
Flying Waterfall on Lotus Platform
Flying Waterfall on Lotus Platform

Huanglong's beauty is beyond mere words, you need see it in person to truly appreciate this 'Fairy Land on Earth'.

Multi-colored Pond in Huanglong
Multi-colored Pond

Holding the primary area of virgin forest in Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area, the Mounigou Valley comprises Erdao Lake and Zhaga Waterfall which is the biggest calcified waterfall in all China.

Erdao Lake

Located in the northern part of Mounigou Valley, Erdao Lake is the largest in the area and around the lake are many underground limestone caves which connect Erdao Lake with other lakes in the area. The color of Erdao Lake varies with the seasons, harmoniously complementing the lake with its surrounding of colored limestone. When standing by the lake, it seems very tranquil and calm; this belies a strong undercurrent that is very active. Erdao Lake holds attractions such as Swan Lake, Baihua Lake, etc. Beside the Baihua Lake, there is a mysterious cave which embraces wonderful and magnificent naturally-formed stalactites.

Zhaga Waterfall

Zhaga Waterfall scenic spot stretches for about 5 kilometers (3 miles), where water flows around trees and trees grow in water and this scenic spot boasts many attractions. At the bottom of Zhaga Waterfall, there is a round-shaped stone onto which the waterfall cascades. In the sunlight, the spattering water is like jade, exhibiting wonderful colors. This is the Jianyu Tai (spattering jade platform).Guhuashi (ancient fossils) is the place where a number of prehistoric, fossilized animals, plants and fish are well preserved and remain intact. Feicui (Emerald) Spring is one of the ten most famous springs in China due to its water's medicinal value, and many have recovered from stomach sickness and arthritis after drinking or bathing in its water. The local population considers Feicui spring divine and allows nobody to cause damage.

The Huanglong National Scenic Reserve gained its fame for its magical landscape of limestone formations, as well as the forest ecosystems and animals on the brink of extinction, such as the giant panda and Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey.

Huanglong Middle Temple
Middle Temple
Huanglong Ancient Temple
Ancient Temple
Tips: The average temperature is around 7°C all the year round. It is misty in the morning and evening and rainy from May to August.

How to get to Huanglong National Scenic Reserve

Chengdu to Huanglong

Take a bus from Chengdu Chadianzi Bus Station to Songpan county, and the buses depart at 7:30, 9:30, 11:30 and 13:00. The bus fare is CNY109. After arrival, take a bus to Huanglong at 6:00, 7:00 or 14:00, and the bus fare is CNY25/ 29.

Jiuzhaigou to Huanglong

Visitors can hire a private car and the fare is around CNY400 for a round trip. 
Entrance Fee Apr. - Nov. 15 (Peak Season): CNY170;
Nov. 16 - Mar.: CNY60.
Huanglong Cable Car Ticket CNY80 (up), CNY40 (down)
Opening Hours 8:00 - 17:00
Recommended Time for a Visit 1 day

 Recommended Guided Tours:
7-Day Sichuan Tour of Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou from $1609
5 Days Private Jiuzhaigou Tour from Chengdu

 Further Reading:

15 Most Beautiful Places in China

- Last updated on Jul. 12, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Huanglong National Scenic Reserve
Asked by Narong from THAILAND | Dec. 08, 2023 19:55Reply
Huanglong national park is still open in January 2024 yes or no?
Answers (1)
Answered by Helen | Dec. 10, 2023 19:04

Yes, it is open.
Asked by Louise from AUSTRALIA | Jun. 06, 2021 08:48Reply
I heard jiuzhaigou is open to foreigners again. Is Huanglong also open to foreigners now?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jenny | Jun. 06, 2021 19:19

Well, I found the news that Huanglong Scenic Area doesn't open to foreigners yet.
Asked by Carolina from COLOMBIA | Feb. 26, 2021 04:36Reply
Huanglong National Scenic Reserve

We are two people who currently live in Shanghai (visas and green codes issued) who wanted to visit the Huanglong National Scenic Reserve 3 days from March 8th 2021. Can you please tell me if the park is open for foreigners? and what is the cost for the hike?
Answers (1)
Answered by Arthur | Feb. 28, 2021 17:25

Well, as I know, it cannot accept foreign tourists nowadays. You are advised to consult the local travel agency to confirm this information.
Asked by Alyson from UK (IN CHINA) | Jun. 13, 2020 02:05Reply
Is this open to foreigners?
I saw that Jiuzhaigou area seems to be closed to foreign visitors at this time, is Huanglong also closed to foreigners?
Answers (1)
Answered by Christian from FRANCE | Jun. 15, 2020 02:13

Yes, as I know, it is still closed to foreigners.
Asked by PS from MSIA | Oct. 14, 2019 20:08Reply
Visit HuangLong first then go to JiuZhai Park - is there avails public bus for this?
I will visit HuangLong park then go to JiuZhai park (stay there) ... will there avails bus? I cant afford take taxi or private car.
Answers (1)
Answered by Randy from UNITED KINGDOM | Oct. 16, 2019 19:08

Sorry, there is no public transportation between them. It is suggested to share a car with other tourists. This would be a cheaper way for you.
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