A guide to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

photo by TheKMF on Flickr

China has many incredibly scenic areas, but few of them are quite as breathtaking as the Wulingyuan scenic area. One of the highlights of this idyllic region is the Zhangjiajie national forest park, China’s very own fairy tale forest. Zhangjiajie is the first national forest park, and as such it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. Of course, a natural wonders of this caliber is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is known far beyond the borders of China. If you like natural sites that look better than anything anyone could imagine, then you absolutely must pay a visit to his park in Hunan province. Here’s a guide to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, for those who wouldn’t mind wandering a few hours (or more!) around these magical woods.

History

photo by kenner116 on Flickr

Although the woods and the iconic rock formations in the park are as old as time, it was only in 1982 that it was recognized as China’s first national forest park. It didn’t take long for the park to gain international recognition, and a decade later, in 1992, it was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The forests and the trees of the park are not its only unique features, because Zhangjiajie has some rare and interesting geological features as well. In 2004, the park was declared a UNESCO Global Geopark.

Features

photo by john0philip on Flickr

The park is famous for its incredible, seemingly gravity-defying sandstone-quartz columns that have inspired alien landscapes in sci-fi movies like Avatar. In honor of the blockbuster, the 3,350 foot tall Southern Sky Column was renamed Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.

The Golden Whip Stream is another one of the best features of the park, and on its shores you can find some of the most enchanting spots of Zhangjiajie. The water is so clear that every fish is visible, and the ridges and rocks that run along it area incredibly scenic. Several interesting rocks are scattered along the stream: Golden Whip Rock, Reunion Rock, Welcoming Guests Rock.

Yuanjiajie in the northern parts of the park is on the essential tourist trail of the park. Yuanjiajie is a platform from which you can see a magnificent vista of tall rocks rising from the deep valleys. The sights in this area of the park are the First Bridge Under the Sun, the Back Garden and the Mihun Stage.

The Yellow Stone Stronghold is one of the main attractions of the park, and one that no guide to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park would miss. The stronghold is the biggest observation platform in the park, with several points of interest of its town.

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