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The Travel Well Guide
Huang Long valley
City: Songpan Town State: Sichuan Country: China
Huanglong is a scenic and historic interest area in Songpan County in the northwest part of Sichuan, China. It is located in the southern part of the Minshan mountain range, 150 km north-northwest of the capital Chengdu. This area is known for its colorful pools formed by calcite deposits, especially in Huanglonggou (Yellow Dragon Gully), as well as diverse forest ecosystems, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and hot springs. Huanglong is also home to many endangered species including the Giant Panda and the Sichuan Golden Snub-nosed Monkey. Huanglong was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992. Huang Long means yellow dragon, and according to legend, about 4,000 years ago a great yellow dragon helped the Kia king, Xiayu, to remove floodwater by creating the Minjiang river. The king named the valley in honour of the dragon and had a temple built. More prosaically, the waters of the river have a golden hue because they carry dissolved calcium carbonate, which they deposit as they pass, and the valley could be said to resemble the tail of a dragon because it undulates through its gorge, following the path it has carved through faults in the limestone over the millennia. The spectacular gorge, about 250 km (155 mi) from the provincial capital, Chengdu, is surrounded by primeval forests and dominated by snow-capped peaks. Its limestone formations are unique, and its massive waterfalls breathtaking. Its emerald-green lakes and thousands of multicoloured, calcium-carbonate encrusted, ponds are fed by melted snow from the mountain above and monsoon rains from May to September. The river has also carved out caves, and several of these contain spectacular stalactites and there are warm springs just above the temples. The area is also rich in wildlife, with a small population of Giant pandas, lesser pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, brown bear and Asiatic black bear, Asiatic wild dog, leopard, lynx, three species of deer and possibly Clouded leopard as well. More than 150 species of birds have been recorded here.Whether visitors believe the legend of the yellow dragon or not, this beautiful site will stay in their memories.
Climate | When to Visit
The weather is cold but dry in winter, while the monsoon season from May to September is hot and humid.
Visit during: March to May
Directions | How to Reach
By air to Chengdu, then overland.
miscellaneous | Important Information
Minor earthquakes are not uncommon here.