Sitting between the Tibetan and Loess Plateaus is the province of Gansu, where you will find one of the most beautiful landforms in China: the Rainbow Mountains. These colorful rock formations are a sight to behold, presenting rippling waves of vibrant red, orange and yellow, contrasted by stripes of sapphire blue.
The Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park extends along the northern slope of the Qilian Mountains, and within the park, this massive formation of rainbow-colored rocks covers an area of 320 square kilometers. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009, this natural phenomenon intensifies in color during different times of day. Summer is the best season to visit, as the rock surfaces glisten under the bright sun and clear sky.
Image via Wikipedia
This fragile landscape is the result of 24 million years of natural erosion. Deposits of colored sandstone and minerals formed a multitude of layers, which changing climate conditions and shifts in tectonic plates consequently shaped into valleys and peaks.
Over the years, the Danxia Geopark has become a popular tourist destination, with travelers coming far and wide to see these formations and capture the perfect image. Thankfully, the Chinese government has made the pilgrimage easier by installing boardwalks, paths and viewing platforms throughout the park.
Image via Wikipedia
While the Rainbow Mountains may be located 'off the beaten track' compared to other World Heritage sites, this natural wonder presents a unique picture; a formation rarely seen across our planet. Danxia aptly translates to 'rosy cloud.' And, we have no doubt that when immersed within these mountains, surrounded by a palette of red, you will feel transported to another world and grateful you made the trip to this 'once in a lifetime' destination.
[Cover image via Wikipedia]
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