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Huanglong Limestone Terraces

Fragile beauty of limestone pools is hidden high amidst forested mountains inhabited by rare wildlife


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Huanglong in Chinese means "yellow dragon". When viewed from the mountains the colourful terraced variously-shaped pools resemble a beast indeed. Also, a legend says, once a giant dragon was flying over the area and dropped his scaled skin into the gorge between these mountains. When all the myths are put aside, and you are exposed to this fairy beauty, a close-up look reveals these are gorgeous and at the same time brittle calcite formations filled with crystal clear turquoise and azure waters. Prevailing colours are complemented with the hues of yellow, orange and green,—that palette is attributed to algae and other bacteria found in these waters.

The name of Huanglong refers to the entire reserve, but the most scenic part stretches from the Benbo temple to the Xishen Cave Waterfalls. It's located at 3,400 m above the sea. To preserve the natural site as it is, a range of bridges and other viewing platforms were constructed along the scenic route in order to allow the visitors to enjoy the best landscapes without stepping into the fragile limestone pools.

Besides, the terraced pools, the area also boasts rare wildlife species in nearby forests, some of the most unique include Giant Pandas and Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys. Unique local nature has been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992.

Tourists come year-round to see Huanglong limestone terraces, still, April to October is the high season, and the entrance fee is naturally higher. Take into account, the period from May to August is marked with morning fogs and evening rains. At last, if you seek for the best weather and best colours, September to October would be the utmost time to visit this place.

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