Zhangye National Park, China

Forth stop on the journey, Zhangye National Park, AKA, the Rainbow Mountains. I took the overnight train into the smaller city of Zhangye. The city was nothing special, had a few nice parks but that’s about it. It was nice to get out of the heat of Xi’An, with the temperature dropping to 70 degrees in Zhangye.

The only day I spent in the area, was at the national park. I went with about five other people from the hostel. The day started out rainy and overcast, which I thought would carry though the day. The park consisted of four different lookout platforms, which were massive. After getting the first platform, I was honestly underwhelmed and thought all the pictures I’d seen online were massively photo-shopped or that the rain and clouds were ruining the view.

As we arrived at the second platform, the rain stopped and it started to get a bit brighter out, as the sun was trying it’s best to peak through the clouds. The second platform had much better views and each platform would get better and better, with the last platform having one of the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen in my life. On third platform, if you looked to the west, the sky was getting brighter and colors in the mountains really popped. If you looked to the east, you could the clouds clinging to the mountains, as if you could reach up and touch them.

The mountains were absolutely stunning. I counted at least eleven different shades of red, orange, yellow, grey and white, each a different strip on the mountains. The mountains are made of mud, clay, sandstone and shale. As the mountain erodes, different layers appear.

The park reminded me a bit of the Grand Canyon and a bit of the Badlands. My only complaint, which I totally understand why, is that you can’t leave the platforms to do a bit of hiking. It was an incredible experience and I’d recommend it to everyone visiting China.

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