Located in northwest Hunan Province, Zhangjiajie is a small city, but very famous for its fantastic nature including the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, which is listed as the World Natural Heritage Site in 1992. It owes its fame throughout the world to the beauty of its landscapes composed of majestic rocky peaks, streams with translucent waters as well as its abundant fauna and flora. James Cameron was inspired by certain sites in the park and created the landscapes of the famous film Avatar.
Within the whole city, it has three famous scenic areas. The first is the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, which includes the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Golden Whip Stream, Huangshi village, Yuanjiajie, Yangjiajie, and Tianzi Mountain. The second is Tianmen Mountain, and the last is the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, where is the famous Glass Bridge located.
Wulingyuan Scenic Area:
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is the main part of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area and the first national forest park in China. It is considered the most beautiful place on earth and also the shot scene for the famous film ‘Avatar’. Inside the film, it is called Hallelujah Mountain.
Golden Whip Stream (Jinbianxi in Chinese)
500 m from the entrance of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the Golden Whip Stream allows a leisurely hike of 7.5km, and this trail is mostly flat and takes about 2 hours at a moderate pace. The trip offers beautiful scenery from the base of the park to the famous peaks. The rock formations rising from the valley floor will make you feel like you are walking among stone giants. These are also where the population of monkeys occupying the park comes to play.
Yuanjiajie Scenic Area
Yuanjiajie, connected to Golden Whip Stream in the east, Huangshi Village in the south, Tianzi Mountain in the west, and Suoxiyu in the north, offers splendid panoramas on the high karst peaks and shelters an impressive natural bridge between two stony mountains.
We suggest you take a sightseeing bus from Zhangjiajie National Forest Park to the Bailong Elevator, which takes only 2 minutes to Yuanjiajie, to save time and energy. Or, you can hike from the Golden Whip Stream to this place, but it challenges your physical condition.
Yangjiajie is relatively isolated and remote from the other sites in the park, so it would be the least known and visited area, with peaks, cliffs, waterfalls, streams, gullies, and other natural landscapes. Travelers tend to stop at the limits of Yangjiajie because its access roads are not very well maintained, while it is probably the ideal place to stroll in peace and enjoy the spectacle of nature.
Tianzishan Nature Reserve
Tianzishan, which means “Mount of the Son of Heaven”, offers a different view to the travelers every day. It is famous for combining 4 natural phenomena: clouds of fog enveloping the mountain peaks, spectacular panoramas at sunrise, mysterious peak forests under the moonlight, and snow-capped peaks.
With its isolated peaks, the Huangshizhai is located in the heart of Zhangjiajie Park, and it is the highest observation point in Zhangjiajie at 1200 m above sea level. However, being relatively isolated from the rest attractions of Wulingyuan, its access is not necessarily easy, so it will be necessary to plan to cross the entire park to take advantage of its formidable panoramas.
The Ten Thousand Gallery
The Ten Mile Gallery is located in the Suoxiyu Scenic Area and is one of its highlights, rich in natural landscapes. The 5-kilometer-long valley is full of lush vegetation and majestic peaks, some rising to more than 90m in height. Traveling through it is like walking into a natural landscape painting. At the end of the Ten Mile Gallery Road, visitors can walk to Tianzi Mountain.
Other interesting places in Zhangjiajie
The Grand Canyon of Zhangjiajie
Near the city of Zhangjiajie, you can test your ability to resist vertigo by crossing the 400m long glass bridge all paved with transparent glass, overhanging the river located 300m below. Regarded as the “12 Most Spectacular Bridges in the World” by CNN, it offers a panoramic view of Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon with green forests, waterfalls, streams, etc.
Located in an outlying part of the other nature reserves, Baofeng Lake is a peaceful man-made alpine lake and offers a pleasant setting for rest.
The Cave of the Yellow Dragon
It is located in the famous site of Wulingyuan. To take a break in the middle of a trip filled with breathtaking karst landscapes, the Yellow Dragon Cave (or Huanglong) takes you underground for 1 to 2 hours of wonder. It has been arranged so that the visit is made partly on foot and partly by boat. The stairs are numerous, but the beauty of the place is well worth a few kilometers of walking. In some areas, the caves reach 140m in height.
Tianmen Mountain is the symbol of Zhangjiajie. The stunning views of it include the Heaven Gate and 99 Bends, vertical cliffs, the thrilling cliff-hanging walkway and glass skywalk, and the world’s longest cable car ride which takes about 30 minutes for over 7 kilometers.
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