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Lanzhou Danxia Landform, Yellow River Stone Forest, and Bingling Temple, Gansu Province (4 days)

In Brief: Head out to Gansu Province for a four-day trip that features hikes and walks around the Lanzhou Danxia Landform, the Yellow River Stone Forest, and Bingling Temple.

Lanzhou Danxia Landform

The colours of the Lanzhou Danxia Landform.

New Years Holiday trip!

Head out to Gansu Province for a four-day trip that features hikes and walks (and rafts) around the Lanzhou Danxia Landform, the Yellow River Stone Forest, and Bingling Temple.

The Lanzhou Danxia Landform, is an undeveloped site similar to the more famous ‘rainbow mountains’ of Zhangye. Word is that it will be developed into a park area sooner or laer – visit now to hike it with us while we’re still allowed!

While we’re in the area we’ll make side trips to the Yellow River Stone Forest and Bingling Temple, as well as taking a stroll around Lanzhou city to visit the mosque, museum, and food street.

(Last year we did this as a three-day trip, but we have added an extra day so we can fully explore the Yellow River Stone Forest.)

Trip overview

Day One
Fly to Lanzhou; visit the mosque, museum, and food street.
Day Two
4-5 hour hike in the Lanzhou Danxia Landform.
Day Three
Cross the Yellow River by raft to get to the Stone Forest for a hike.
Day Four
Visit Bingling Temple and take a short hike; lunch in Lanzhou; fly back to Beijing.


Lanzhou Danxia Landform

We started hiking here a few years back, as part of our trips through Xiahe and Zhagana. Like the Zhangye Danxia Landform, the mountains here are striped with unusual colours. The area is still undeveloped, which means we’re able to do get up into the hills for a good long hike. (The local gossip is that the whole area is going to be developed as a park sooner or later.)

We’ll do a 4–5 hour hike in the hills here, heading up to a high point that gives great views of the colours of the mountains.

The cliffs of the Stone Forest Scenic Area, by the Yellow River
The cliffs of the Stone Forest Scenic Area, by the Yellow River.

Yellow River Stone Forest

We’ll do a day trip to the Yellow River Stone Forest. The Stone Forest is a protected scenic area sited on a bend in the Yellow River, and contains canyons lined with rock columns – quite a sight!

To get to the Stone Forest we have to get across the river, and we'll do it in style on rafts that float on inflated pig-skins.

We'll spend most of the day looking around the canyons and cliffs here, heading back to Lanzhou after a late lunch.

The Giant Buddha at Bingling Temple
The Giant Buddha at Bingling Temple.

Bingling Temple

One of the many Silk Road-related sites in Gansu, Bingling Temple is a collection of caves and cliffs filled with Buddhist carvings and sculptures that was recently only accessible by boat. The first caves date back to 420 AD, and more were being added as late as the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 AD), and the sculptures and artwork in the caves preserves a record of the different styles of artwork popular during the time of construction.

We’ll tour the temples and caves, and then climb up to take a look at the 27m tall carved Buddha.


It's going to be cold! Expect highs of around 6°C and lows of around -5°C. It could get colder! There’s a small chance of rain, so bring a waterproof jacket just in case.


On this trip we'll stay in a nice hotel in Lanzhou.

You’ll be sharing a room with another hiker. If you'd like a hotel room to yourself for the trip, it can be arranged at an extra cost of 500 RMB in total.

Further details about room shares and single supplement can be found in the documents we send you as part of the registration.

Floating across the Yellow River
Crossing the river.

Flights and transport

We fly to and from Lanzhou for this trip. Land transportation will be via big and comfortable SUVs.

Frequent flyers: Please let us know if you would like to use your frequent flyer miles or if you are a frequent flyer member. If you would like to organise your own flights, we can provide further details.


We will take most of our meals at restaurants in the areas we visit, or at the hotels. Bring some spending money for snacks during the trip. Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements or food allergies.

The cliffs of the Stone Forest Scenic Area, high above the Yellow River
The cliffs of the Stone Forest Scenic Area, high above the Yellow River.

Kid's prices

Ages 7–11: 7,050 RMB
Ages 12–17: 7,300 RMB

Things to bring

  • Passport/ID card
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Thermal underwear and other warm clothing (it could go well below zero!)
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Thick socks
  • Hiking boots
  • A day pack to take on outings, suitcases or bigger bags can be left at the hotel
  • Camera and charger, batteries
  • Suncream
  • Torch or headlamp
  • Mobile phone, charger

Full itinerary

  1. Day 1
    Morning flight to Lanzhou
    Afternoon visits to the Lanzhou Museum, the mosque, and the food street
    Back at the hotel after dinner.

  2. Day 2
    08:30 – Drive to Lanzhou Danxia Landform
    09:30 – Start hiking at the Danxia landform
    13:30 – Finish hike and get back to the car
    14:30 – Lunch
    15:30 – Drive to the terrace field for a hike
    18:30 – Arrive back at the hotel
    19:00 – Dinner

  3. Day 3
    08:30 – Drive to the Yellow River Stone Forest for a walk
    10:00 – Arrive at the jetty and ride the raft to the canyon
    10:30 – Arrive at the canyon and start hiking
    12:00 – Hike to the Canyon Stone Forest
    13:00 – Hike back to the canyon
    14:00 – Lunch
    15:30 – Drive back to Lanzhou
    18:00 – Arrive at the hotel
    19:30 – Dinner

  4. Day 4
    08:30 – Check out and drive to Bingling Temple near the Yellow River
    09:30 – Arrive at the shore of Yellow River
    10:30 – Tour of Bingling Temple
    13:30 – Drive back to Lanzhou
    14:30 – Lunch in Lanzhou
    Evening flight to Beijing
    All times are approximate, and depend on our speed of movement.

More information

Contact us at any time for more information. Payment terms, conditions, and details will be supplied along with a waiver document and travel guidelines after your registration request has been received.

We usually need to get 8–10 people signed up to go ahead with this trip. Beijing Hikers reserves the right to decide who may participate in this trip.

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Explore China calendar

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