Jiuzhaigou Valley is in the northwest of Sichuan province, which was listed as “Chinese 5A grade scenic area” in 2007 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. It gets its name because there scattered nine Tibetan villages, with the altitude of 2000 to 3000 meters, belonging to terrain of steep mountain and gorge carbonate side weir, famous for its high mountains, lakes, primitive forests, snow mountains. It is said that “when coming back from Huangshan , you don’t want to see any other mountains ; when you come back from Jiuzhaigou, you will never want to visit other waters”.
Jiuzhaigou is composed of three valleys arranged in a Y shape. The Rize and Zechawa valleys flow from the south and meet at the centre of the site where they form the Shuzheng valley, flowing north to the mouth of the valley. The mountainous watersheds of these gullies are lined with 55 km of roads for shuttle buses, as well as boardwalks and small pavilions. The boardwalks are typically located on the opposite side of the lakes from the road, shielding them from disturbance by passing buses. it's best-known feature is its dozens of blue, green and turquoise-colored lakes. The local Tibetan people call them "Haizi" in Chinese, meaning "son of the sea". Originating in glacial activity, they were dammed by rockfalls and other natural phenomena, then solidified by processes of carbonate deposition. Some lakes have a high concentration of calcium carbonate, and their water is very clear so that the bottom is often visible even at high depths. The lakes vary in color and aspect according to their depths, residues, and surroundings.The four seasons here are with each unique characteristics, with varied animal and botanical resources, and primitive forests, ten kinds of rare animals such as giant panda.
The Shuzheng Valley is the northern (main) branch of Jiuzhaigou. It ends after 14.5 km at the Y-shaped intersection of the three gullies. Going downhill from the intersection to the mouth of the valley, visitors encounter the following:
Nuorilang Falls, near the junction of the valleys, are 20 m high and 320 m wide. They are reportedly the widest highland waterfall in China, and one of the symbols of Jiuzhaigou.
Nuorilang Lakes and Shuzheng Lakes are stepped series of respectively 18 and 19 ribbon lakes formed by the passage of glaciers, then naturally dammed. Some of them have their own folkloric names, such as the Rhinoceros, Unknown, and Tiger lakes.
Sleeping Dragon Lake is one of the lower lakes in the area. With a depth of 20 m, it is notable for the clearly visible calcareous dyke running through it, whose shape has been compared to a dragon lying on the bottom.
Reed Lake is a 1375m-long, reed-covered marsh with a clear turquoise brook zigzaging through it. The contrast is particularly striking in the autumn when the reeds turn yellow.
Five Flower Lake
The 18 km long Rize Valley \ is the south-western branch of Jiuzhaigou. It contains the largest variety of sites and is typically visited first. Going downhill from its highest point, one passes the following sites:
The Primeval Forest\ is a preserved ancient woodland. It is fronted by spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and cliffs, including the 500 m high blade-shaped Sword Rock .
Swan Lake is a 2250 m long, 125 m wide picturesque lake named for its visiting swans and ducks.
Grass Lake is a shallow lake covered in intricate vegetation patterns.
Arrow Bamboo Lake, covering an area of 170,000 m2, is a shallow lake with a depth of 6 m. It lies at an elevation of 2,618 m, and was a main feature site for the 2002 Chinese film Hero.
Panda Lake features curious color patterns of blue and green. It empties into the multi-stream, multi-level Panda Waterfalls, dropping 78m in 3 steps.
Five Flower Lake is a shallow multi-colored lake whose bottom is criss-crossed by ancient fallen tree trunks.
Pearl Shoal is a wide, gently sloping area of active calcareous tufa deposition covered in a thin sheet of flowing water. It empties into the famous Pearl Waterfalls, where the shoal drops 28 m in a 310 m wide broad curtain of water. A scene of the television adaptation of Journey to the West was filmed there.
Mirror Lake is another quiet lake casting beautiful reflections of the surroundings when the water is calm.
It is comprised by Five-colored Pond in the upper part of Zechawa and Long Lake, upper, middle, lower Jijie Lake.
Long Lake is the highest, largest and deepest lake in Jiuzhaigou, measuring 7.5 km in length and up to 103 m in depth. It reportedly has no outgoing waterways, getting its water from snowmelt and losing it from seepage. Local folklore features a monster in its depths.
Five-Color Pond is one of the smallest but most spectacular bodies of water in Jiuzhaigou lakes. Despite its very modest dimensions and depth, it has a richly colored underwater landscape with some of the brightest and clearest waters in the area.
Jiuzhaigou Travel Guide
Jiuzhaigou wonderful place