Jiuzhaigou Valley - Atlas Obscura

Jiuzhaigou Valley

Ziyang, China

Snow-capped peaks, colorful waterfalls and stunning vistas on the edge of the Himalayas. 


In just 35 years, the remote Jiuzhaigou Valley has undergone some serious changes. In the 1970s, the breathtaking landscape had little permanent population and was being extensively logged. Today, the vibrant valley is fighting to keep its beauty under the weight of 7,000 visitors per day.

Nestled next to the border with the Tibetan Himalayas, the nine-village valley is a colorful natural world, comprised of turquoise lakes, cascading waterfalls, and a backdrop of multi-colored and forested mountain slopes. In the highlands of Eastern China, the protected area spans a wide range of elevations from 6,500 to 14,500 feet above sea level, causing the rushing water to flow between the placid lakes.

This incredible landscape was formed over thousands of years by earthquakes and carbonate rocks. Jiuzhaigou’s waters are especially clear from the presence of calcium carbonate, which allows visitors the opportunity to peer into the depths of the greens and blues, which reveal yet another natural phenomenon: floating and underwater forests.

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December 12, 2011

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