Located north of Sichuan Province, Jiuzhaigou Valley is one of China’s most spectacular nature reserves and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning 278 square miles (720 square kilometers), the valley is famed for its colorful lakes, cascading waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, diverse wildlife, and Tibetan culture. The Basics
With over 43 miles (70 kilometers) of walking trails, 114 lakes, five major waterfalls plus numerous small waterfalls, vast forests, rich biodiversity, and seven (inhabited) Tibetan villages, there’s plenty to see and explore in Jiuzhaigou Valley. Visit independently or as part of a guided valley tour. A (paid) hop-on hop-off shuttle bus takes visitors throughout the valley to major attractions, which is an easy way to explore the park. Multi-day tours from Chengdu can include Huanglong National Park, as well as top attractions in and around Chengdu, including the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center, People’s Park, and the Leshan Giant Buddha.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Jiuzhaigou Valley lies between 6,600 feet (2,000 meters) and 14,108 feet (4,300 meters); be aware of potential altitude issues.
- Don’t forget your camera to capture stunning vistas throughout the valley.
- Bring layers, even in the summer.
- Bring an umbrella or rain gear during the rainy season (May to October).
- Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes for the walking trails.
- There is only one (buffet) restaurant in the valley.
How to Get There
Jiuzhaigou Valley is located 205 miles (330 kilometers) north of Chengdu. Nonstop flights are available from Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chongqing, Beijing, and Xi’an. From the airport, it’s another 55 miles (88 kilometers) to the valley. Buses from Chengdu take about 8–10 hours. When to Get There
The best—and busiest—time to visit Jiuzhaigou Valley is during the autumn, when the colors are changing. The forests will be lush and the flowers blooming in spring and summer. Winter, which is the off-season, can be stunning with frozen waterfalls, but some parts of the valley will be closed. Entrance fees are lower during the off-season.
Highlights of Jiuzhaigou Valley
Jiuzhaigou Valley highlights include Mirror Lake, Five Flower Lake, Five Color Pond, Nuorilang Waterfall, Pearl Shoal Waterfall, Shuzheng Village, and Zechawa Village. The park is also home to over 2,500 species of plants, 140 species of birds, 170 species of vertebrates, and 17 species of rare animals, including giant pandas, takins, golden monkeys, and snow leopards.