The multi-colored cliffs of Zhangye Danxia are a unique rocky formation in the southeast of China, recognized in 2009 by the Chinese National Geography magazine as one of the six most picturesque landscape formations in the Middle Kingdom. The colorful natural landmark is located 30 km from the city of Zhangye, northwestern Gansu province, in the national geological park of the same name, where it bears the title of the most popular site, attracting a huge number of tourists from all over the world.
The geological phenomenon of Zhangye Danxia is the result of deposits of sandstone and other minerals that over the course of 24 million years have formed an amazing miracle of nature, reminiscent of a multi-colored layer cake. Under the influence of tectonic plate movements, erosion and time, local landscapes took on various forms - pillars, towers, hills, grottoes and ravines, varying in color, texture and size. Rocky formations, as if painted with the brush of an invisible artist, are full of scarlet, orange, yellow, gray-blue and green colors.
In 2010, the colorful mountains of Zhangye Danxia came under the protection of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2011 the entire scenic area received the status of a National Geopark.
The popularity of colorful rocks in Zhangye does not stop growing - every day endless streams of tourists are drawn to them, eager to see an unusual natural landmark with their own eyes. In order to avoid pollution and damage to the unique landscape, it is forbidden to independently explore the Danxia Hills. Walking around the protected area is possible only as part of a bus tour. The entrance fee to the park is RMB 40 ($ 6). In addition, there is a mandatory fee of 20 Chinese yuan ($ 3) for the excursion program. During the tour, the bus makes stops at four of the most picturesque points of the reserve, where visitors are given the opportunity to calmly admire the surrounding landscapes. The total time of the excursion is 2-3 hours.
The best time to visit Zhangye Danxia Geopark is from June to September. Moreover, colorful landscapes acquire the most attractive appearance at dawn and before sunset - at this time, the shades of the rocks are constantly changing.
The Danxia Cliffs lie an hour's drive west of Zhangye city, the best way to go is by taxi or by your own car. From major cities in China, Zhangye is most conveniently reached by air travel through Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. The cities of Zhangye and Lanzhou are connected by rail.