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.The park is divided into two distinctive areas: Colorful Hills, featuring the bright and contrasting colors, and Ice Valley, famous for its bizarre forms.
Red is the main color of Colorful Hills. Under the sunlight, the seemingly endless hills form a sea of fire. Some of the hills feature rock stripes in different colors, looking like bright ribbons fluttering in the desert. The most representative spots of this kind are the Seven-color Screen and the Colorful Sunset, looking like a rainbow hanging in the distance. However, scenes are totally different on the edge of this area. The colors there turn into yellow and grey, resembling crystal shells in the sun. Scenes are even more breathtaking at sunrise and sunset. Then, the staggered lights and shadows thrown on the hills endow this region with a dynamic beauty.
Viewing Platforms in Colorful Hills
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.
Ice Valley (Binggou Scenic Area)
Stretching 25 miles (40 kilometers) from west to east, Danxia precipices, stone columns, aiguilles and hills are widely distributed in this region. The narrow hills in the Ice Valley are all pointing to the sky, making this valley the Red Stone Forest of the Great Northwest. Viewed from a distance, the rolling hills look like temples, pagodas, and figures of Buddha, making the valley a natural Buddhist land.