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Lanzhou Danxia Landform, Yellow River Stone Forest, and Bingling Temple, Gansu Province (3 days)

In Brief: Head out to Gansu Province for a three-day trip that features hikes and walks around three scenic spots near Lanzhou.

The colourful mountains of the Lanzhou Danxia Landform

The colourful mountains of the Lanzhou Danxia Landform.

New Years Holiday trip!

Head out to Gansu Province for a three-day trip that features hikes and walks around three scenic spots near Lanzhou.

The main highlight of the trip is the Lanzhou Danxia Landform, an undeveloped site similar to the more famous ‘rainbow mountains’ of Zhangye. Word is that it will be developed into a park area next year – 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.

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; walk around the Yellow River Stone Forest.
Day Three
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 shut down next year so it can be developed as a park – we’re doing these trips now so you can see it before that happens.)

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 banks of the Yellow River

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

Yellow River Stone Forest

On the way back to Lanzhou, after our hike at the Lanzhou Danxia Landform, we’ll stop by 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!

We’ll do a short walk here to get a good look at the scenery.

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.

Flights and transport

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

Want to organise your own way to meet us in Lanzhou? That's fine, and you can subtract 1,700 RMB from the trip cost.

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.

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
    09:30 – Meet at Beijing Capital International Airport
    11:20 – Take off
    14:00 – Arrive at Lanzhou Airport
    15:00 – Check in at the hotel
    15:30 – Visit the Lanzhou Museum and a mosque
    18:00 – Walk to the food street
    19:00 – Dinner
    20:00 – Back at the hotel

  2. Day 2
    08:30 – Drive to Lanzhou Danxia Landform
    09:30 – Start hiking at the Danxia landform
    13:30 – Lunch
    14:30 – Drive to the Yellow River Stone Forest for a walk
    17:00 – Drive back to the hotel
    18:00 – Arrive at the hotel
    19:00 – Dinner

  3. Day 3
    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
    15:30 – Drive to the airport
    17:00 – Check in for flight
    19:15 – Take off
    21:30 – Arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport
    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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