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Can You Believe These Rainbow Mountains Are Real?

Zhangye Danxia Geopark is a psychedelic geological dream.

China’s Zhangye Danxia Geopark is a psychedelic geological dream.

The technicolour mountain range is located near the city of Zhangye in China’s northwestern Gansu province and the rainbow rocks are a result of mineral and sandstone deposited over 24 million years.

When tectonic plates lifted the mountain range, the layer cake of coloured rocks rose from the depths. Over time, wind and rain sculpted the sharp rocks into the amazing peaks and troughs that exist today, streaked with bursts of colour that are most visible after rain.

A photo posted by netotrevino (@netotrevino) on

The formations are fast becoming a tourism destination with viewing platforms, boardwalks and roads to encourage people to explore the amazing site. Tour buses aren’t permitted inside the park, but there are sightseeing cars on site that provide visitors with a comprehensive view of the park’s otherworldly landscape. It takes around two hours to visit all four viewing platforms, which are located about 8km apart.

It’s worth noting that the second platform is the park’s highest, and its 666 steps take around 30 minutes to climb. It’s totally worth the effort, though — at the top, those who conquer the climb are rewarded with a panoramic view of the landscape. From the fourth platform, visitors can see Qicai Shan (“Seven-C0lour Mountain”) in all its glory. It’s best to plan to reach the last platform at sunset (around 7:30pm) for incredible snaps.

Local operators recommend visiting Zhangye Danxia between June and September to avoid the dry and/or frigid conditions that come with China’s winter.

How To Get There

  • Fly into Shanghai International Airport with Qantas
  • Transfer to a China Eastern service to Zhangye Ganzhou Airport
  • Drive 58km (1 hour, 20 minutes)
  • Danxia National Geopark, Sunan Yuguzuzizhixian, Zhangye Shi, Gansu Sheng, China

(Lead image: eltonjohn1973 / Pixabay)