Zhangye Danxia Landform

Why is Zhangye Danxia Landform So Special?

  1. The site became a quasi-national geopark on April 23, 2012 (provisional name: Zhangye Danxia Geopark). It was formally designated as “Zhangye National Geopark” by the Ministry of Land and Resources on June 16, 2016 after it has passed the on-site acceptance test. 
  2. Known for its colorful rock formations, it has been voted by Chinese media outlets as one of the most beautiful landforms in China.

Brief Introduction of Sunlight Rock Scenic Area

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.

What to See in Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park?

 Watch the Sunrise of Rainbow Mountain

The Zhangye Danxia Geopark opens at 6:00am in the morning. The best spots to watch the sunrise: The fourth and the fifth viewing platforms. The highest spot to watch: The second viewing platform. It is very high and you need to climb to the top for about 20 minutes but you can enjoy the full view of the Colored Mountain China. Kindly reminder: It is a little cold in the morning in Zhangye Danxia Landform and you’d better wear a thick coat. But it would be warmer after the sun rises.

Watch the Sunset of Rainbow Mountain

The best platform to watch the sunset: The first, fourth and fifth viewing platforms. Actually at the fourth and fifth viewing platform, you can see “a mountain of swords and a sea of flames”. But the fourth viewing platform is further and higher with a full view of Danxia Geopark; while the fifth platform is closer to the spot “a mountain of swords and a sea of flames”. So it depends on you to choose the full view or close-up.

Sunset time in the whole year

Sunset time in Jan. about 17:30-18:00
Sunset time in Feb. about 18:00-18:30
Sunset time in Mar. about 18:30-19:00
Sunset time in Apr. about 19:00-19:30
Sunset time in May. about 19:30-20:00
Sunset time in Jun. about 20:00-20:30
Sunset time in Jul. about 20:15-20:30
Sunset time in Aug. about 20:00-20:30
Sunset time in Sep. about 19:00-19:30
Sunset time in Oct. about 18:00-18:30
Sunset time in Nov. about 17:30-18:00
Sunset time in Dec. about 17:00-17:30
Note: The itinerary is used for the whole year. Watch the sunset in the sunset time depends on the specific time.

Recommended Travel Routes

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.

Best Seasons to Visit Zhangye

June to September of each year is Zhangye’s summer with cool weather and rich water. It is not cold to watch the sunrise or sunset in Zhangye, so summer and fall are the best season to travel the Rainbow Mountain China. While in winter, the weather becomes windy, cold and dry. Thus it is not suitable for sightseeing.

The sunny days after the rain will make the color of Danxia brighter and it is the best weather to visit Rainbow Mountain China. Besides, it is also a good choice to watch the sunrise or sunset in sunny days as the sunshine will make Danxia present different layers. There is almost nothing can be seen in cloudy days because Danxia’s most beautiful color cannot be presented.

How to get to Zhangye Danxia Landform

Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)

If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to Zhangye Danxia Landform in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Traveler

  • 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.

Useful Travel Tips

  1. .Avoid visiting during school holidays and Golden Week in October as there will be large numbers of local tourists.
  2. Watch the sunrise and sunset
    If you plan to watch the sunrise and sunset, you can live near the scenic zone that night. There are several three-star hotels there for you to choose. We suggest you telling your intension to the staff in the scenic zone when buying the ticket in the previous day. The staff will register your passport information and give you a receipt. You need to take the receipt to the boss of the hotel you will live in to stamp. The next morning before eight, you can go into the park once again. If you reserve a private itinerary with us, the guide can help you to arrange these things.
  3. 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)

    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

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Bella Ren/任新月