China's Zhangye National Geopark | The Breathtaking Rainbow Colored Mountains | 4K HDR | 张掖七彩丹霞
The Zhangye National Geopark is located in Sunan and Linze counties within the prefecture-level city of Zhangye, in Gansu, China. It covers an area of 322 square kilometres. The site became a quasi-national geopark on April 23, 2012. Zhangye National Geopark is located in the northern part of China about midway along the border with Mongolia. It rests in the foothills of the Qilian Mountains.
The national park encompasses an area of 124 square miles (322 sq km). The national park, originally named Zhangye Danxia Geopark, is renowned for the stunning display of colors across hills and rock formations. The Chinese media designated the region as one of the most amazing landscapes across China.
Linze Danxia Scenic Area is the most popular and most developed area of the park. Binggou is a second area located on the Liyuan River. Although it is visited less, it offers additional views of amazing landscapes.
A third area is known as Sunan Danxia Scenic Area. The rock formations and rolling hills almost look as if they were painted. The landscapes are surreal. It would be fair to say that Zhangye National Geopark is the most colorful national park in the world.
The colorful landscapes were created by sandstone and minerals being layered atop each other over the years with the tectonic plates shifting creating angled painted layers across the rock formation and sandstone rolling hills. Rain, wind, and time have further sculpted the rock formations and rolling hills into various displays of pillars and ravines. The erosion and tectonic plates have worked together to create amazing patterns to be viewed by all. The multi-colored rock formations and naturally painted foothills that blanket the area are the most picturesque landscapes.
It is hard not to gaze upon the landscapes and wonder if someone actually added colored sand. The park features a series of boardwalks that allow visitors to meander around the colorful sandstone landscapes. The boardwalks are level and make it accessible to wheelchair and other physically challenged travelers to still experience the splendor. These Breathtaking Rainbow Colored Mountains Are A Fascinating Geological Wonder They may look like something out of a Dr. Seuss story — or as locals say, like “God overturned his palette” — but the Rainbow Mountains of China are real. China Highlights explains that the Danxia (pronounced dan-sshyaa, which means “red cloud”) landform area, which covers about 19 square miles, is part of Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts visitors from around the world for good reason — the mountains have red, yellow, blue, white, and green stripes.
The Best Time To See The Mountains Winter in Zhangye is very cold and many months are dry and windy. With that in mind, the best time to visit Rainbow Mountains is from June to September, according to China Discovery. “The best hours for sightseeing are the early morning and late afternoon when the temperatures are lower, and colors are clearer,” China Discovery advises. “The most beautiful moment is sunset — when the golden sunlight shines on the red mountains.”
Eons ago, the area was part of the ocean floor. Over time, as the Earth’s tectonic plates shifted, mountains were formed and rose above sea level. Next, over millions of years, sandstone and other mineral sediments were deposited in layers of different colors.
Over time, as the mountains rose higher, river erosion formed gorges, China Highlights explains. Further erosion from both water and wind over millions of years exposed the red, purple, yellow, green, and gray layers. By the way, China isn’t the only place where you can find a rainbow-colored mountain.
Deep in the Peruvian Andes, Vinicna Mountain — known as Montana de Colores or Rainbow Mountain — was formed in the same way. WHAT WOULD YOU GET IF you mixed rainbow and rock? The Zhangye Danxia Landforms might be an example. Found along the path of the Silk Road in Northwestern China’s Gansu Province, this stupefying array of colorful geology awaits those who are willing to find it.
Vivid reds, oranges, and yellows stripe along the mountains in technicolor harmony with rocks allegedly shaped like animals and mythical creatures. This geological park also offers several hiking areas and scenic overlooks to fully enjoy the color. That being said, visitors don’t need to struggle to see the rainbow rocks. Where did the rainbow come from? The answer is not as magical as one might hope: different layers of sandstone dating back millions of years. With erosion, wind, and weather, the colorful layers were formed. But what matters isn’t why there are rainbow mountains, but that somewhere out in the wild, a place like this actually exists. And no, it’s not through the looking glass.