Wulingyuan National Park
Wulingyuan National Park (or called Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area) is located in the northwestern part of Hunan Province in central China. Being part of the Zhangjiajie Scenic Area, Wulingyuan consists of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Suoxiyu Nature Reserve, Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve, and the newly added Yangjiajie Scenic Area.
Wulingyuan Scenic Area is known as a natural labyrinth, a geological museum, and a paradise for wild animals. It was included in the "World Natural Heritage" in 1992.
Spend several days in Wulingyuan National Park to see Avatar mountains, hidden valleys, and limestone caves, etc.
Wulingyuan National Park Quick Facts
- Chinese name:武陵源风景名胜区(Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area)
- Location:Wulingyuan District, Zhangjiajie City, Hunan Province, Central China
- Famous attractions:Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Tianzi Mountain
- Area:690 square kilometers (266 square miles)
- Entrance fee:248.00 yuan
- The best travel season:spring and autumn, especially April and October
- Time needed:2-3 days at least
- Popular activities:hiking, cable car riding, photography
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, covering an area of130 square kilometers and is China's first national forest park. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park can be divided into six small scenic areas including Huangshi Village (or called Huangshi Fort), Yuanjiajie., Pipa Creek, Golden Whip Creek, Yaozi Village, and Shedaogou
Huangshi Villageis the biggest sightseeing platform to view the spectacular scenery in Wulingyuan National Park with an altitude of 1,080 meters. A saying goes “He who does not reach Huangshi Village does not pay a true visit to Zhangjiajie.”
Yuanjiajieis located to the north of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. The main attractions are Bailong Elevator, Avatar Hallelujah Mountain, Back Garden, The First Bridge in the World, etc.
Suoxi Valley Nature Reserve
Suoxi Valley Nature Reserve has become a jewel in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area due to the characteristics of "exotic mountains, beautiful waters, dangerous bridges, and secluded caves". Suoxiyu Scenic Area is located to the east of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.
Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve
Tianzi Mountain Scenic Area, formerly known as Qingyan Mountain, is located in the north of Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area. Its biggest draw is strange peaks and rocks surrounded by clouds. Tianzi Mountain has four wonders: peak forest, a sea of clouds, sunrise, and winter snow. It is enjoyable to take a cable car to admire the beauty of the reserve.
Yangjiajie Scenic Area
Yangjiajie is the last scenic area developed among the four major scenic areas in Wulingyuan. It consists of three small scenic areas, Xiangzhixi, Longquan Gorge, and Baihou Valley.
Yangjiajie has a total area of 3,400 hectares and has more than 200 essential scenic spots. Among them, the well-known landscapes include Sky Corridor, Longquan Waterfall, Tianbo Mansion, and Wulong Village.
How to Visit Wulingyuan Scenic Area
Wulingyuan National Park is very huge. It is no problem to spend one week there to have an in-depth tour around the national park. Usually, a three-day tour is perfect to cover its highlights in Wulingyuan Scenic Area.
If you are short of time, you should spend two days at least. One day to tour the attractions at the bottom of the mountains and the other day to tour the spots at the top.
Here is a sample 3-day tour itinerary for your reference:
Day 1: Tianzi Mountain and Yuanjiajie
In the morning, go to visit Tianzi Mountain. Take a cable car up to Tianzi Mountain, and you will see large areas of grotesque peaks thrusting up.
Have lunch at a local restaurant or McDonald's on the top of the mountain.
In the afternoon, ride a public shuttle bus to Yuanjiajie Scenic Area, whose mountains are said to be the inspiration for Avatar's Hallelujah Mountain. In the evening, get down the mountain by taking Bailong Elevator.
Day 2: Huangshi Village and Golden Whip Brook
First, you’ll take the cable car to Huangshi Village which is 1080m above sea level. It is called the most beautiful viewing platform in Wulingyuan. Later, explore the highlighted part of Golden Whip Brook, winding across mountains and valleys. It is famous for its pristine water, its verdant mountains, its steep cliffs, and its serene valley.
Day 3: Huanglong Cave and Baofeng Lake
Today you will visit Huanglong Cave (the Yellow Dragon Cave) and explore an underground wonderland comprised of limestone formations, subterranean streams, and stalactites and stalagmites.
Then drive to Baofeng Lake that is in a basin in the middle of this mountainous area. You will see a beautiful waterfall when you enter it; then you'll enjoy a 30-minute ride in a wooden boat.
How to Get to Wulingyuan
Wulingyuan Scenic Area is located in Wulingyuan District of Zhangjiajie City. It takes about 40 minutes by bus or taxi. There are regular buses from Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station (near Zhangjiajie Railway Station) to Wulingyuan National Park. The bus fare is around CNY 12. You can also take a taxi, which costs about 100- 150 yuan.
There are five entrances to Wulingyuan National Park, including Forest Park Ticket Station (森林公园门票站), Wujiayu Ticket Station (吴家峪门票站), Zimugang Ticket Station (梓木岗门票站), Yangjiajie Ticket Station (杨家界门票站) and Tianzi Mountain Ticket Station (天子山门票站). You are recommended to start your tour from Forest Park Ticket Station (森林公园门票站) or Wujiayu Ticket Station (吴家裕门票站) which are accessible conveniently.
Climate and Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Wulingyuan National Park is spring and autumn when the weather is comfortable, and the scenery is best.
Wulingyuan in Spring
Spring in Wulingyuan Scenic Area comes late, generally starting in mid-April and ending in early May. The temperature is from 15 to 25 °C (59–77 °F) and is warming up. Recommended attractions in spring are Ten-mile Gallery, Huangshi Village, and Baofeng Lake.
Wulingyuan in Summer
Summer in Zhangjiajie is from June to August. Wulingyuan Scenic Area is a good place to escape the summer heat. During the rainy season in July, the weather is volatile, and the visibility of the scenic spot is poor. After the rain, many unexpected wonders will appear in the sea of clouds and fog. If you visit Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area in summer, don’t miss Golden Whip Stream, Yellow Dragon Cave, and Tianzi Mountain.
Wulingyuan in Autumn
In autumn, the trees in the national forest park are constantly turning red and yellow. The best place to see fall foliage in Wulingyuan is Tianzi Mountain. After light rainfall, the mist gathers around the peaks, making you feel you are in a wonderland.
Wulingyuan in Winter
If you like snow scenery, Wulingyuan in winter will not disappoint you. The most likely time to see snow scenery in the mountains is from mid-January to late February. Please note that some scenic areas might be closed if it snows heavy.
Fees for Wulingyuan National Park
- March to November: CNY 225 for adults and CNY 160 for children between 1.3 - 1.5 meters (4.3 - 4.9 feet)
- December to February: CNY 115 for adults and CNY 85 for children between 1.3 - 1.5 meters
- Free entry for children below 1.3 meters but they need to pay CNY 65 for the battery car.
With a ticket, you can visit four scenic areas in Wulingyuan, including Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve, Suoxi Valley Nature Reserve, and Yangjiajie Scenic Area. Please keep your ticket well, which is valid for three or four days.
The shuttle buses in the national park are included. If you would like to take elevators, cable cars or tourist trains, here are the prices for your reference:
Bailong Sightseeing Elevator (Single Trip)
CNY 65; CNY 43 for children between 1.3 - 1.5m.
Yellow Stone Stronghold Cable Car
Single Trip: CNY 65; CNY
40 for children between 1.3 - 1.5m.
Tianzi Mountain Cable Car (Single Trip)
CNY 72; CNY 43 for children between 1.3 - 1.5m.
Yangjiajie Cable Car (Single Trip)
CNY 76; CNY 46 for children between 1.3 - 1.5m.
Ten-mile Gallery Tourist Train (Single Trip)
CNY 38; CNY 24 for children between 1.2 (3.9 ft) and 1.5m.
Travel Tips for Visiting Zhangjiajie Wulingyuan Park
1. Because the climate in Zhangjiajie changes very soon, especially the temperature difference between morning and evening, you’d better bring some warm clothes.
2. The less luggage the better, the lighter the better. You can find a luggage storage facility at the Service Center near the entrances of Zhangjiajie Wulingyuan Park.
3. If you visit Wulingyuan in spring or summer, you’d better bring an umbrella or rainproof clothes.
4. Arrive at the national park in the early morning and enjoy the scenery before a large of number of Chinese tourists arrive.
5. Bring some water and snacks as it takes energy to climb mountains.