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Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

In Brief: Photos from two days of hiking in and around the Zhangye Danxia Landform and visits to Silk Road sights in Zhangye and Jiayuguan.

The barren hills in the Zhangye Danxia landform - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

A great view of part of the Zhangye Danxia Landform.

On our Zhangye Danxia Landform long trip we got very busy, with two days of hiking in and around the Zhangye Danxia Landform as well as visits to Silk Road sights in Zhangye and Jiayuguan, including the Jiayuguan Fortress and Horsehoof Temple.

In Jiayuguan, we visited the Jiayuguan Fortress, built in 1372, during the Ming Dynasty, and we made some side trips to take a look at nearby sections of Great Wall.

Our main focus in Zhangye was the hikes in the Zhangye Danxia landform, with visits to several different sections showing quite different views. We also visited the ‘Giant Buddha’ Temple, and the Horsehoof Temple – both interesting sights in themselves.

Scroll down to see super-guide Jun’s photos from the trip!

One of the towers at the Jiayuguan Fortress, with the layers of rammed earth visible at the base of the wall - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

One of the towers at the Jiayuguan Fortress, with the layers of rammed earth visible at the base of the wall.

Wax figures of Ming Dynasty generals making plans - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Wax figures of Ming Dynasty generals making plans.

Group photo in the fortress - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Group photo in the fortress.

The barren hills in the Zhangye Danxia landform - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

The barren – yet beautiful – hills in the Zhangye Danxia landform.

We started a hike in the Zhangye Geological Park - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

We started a hike in the Zhangye Geological Park.

Views of beautifully coloured hills - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Views of beautifully coloured hills.

A valley trail - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

A valley trail.

More of the colourful hills - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

More of the colourful hills.

Heading further into the park - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Heading further into the park.

Does this rock look like a camel? - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Does this rock look like a camel?

We hiked further into the park area - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

We hiked further into the park area.

We followed a dirt trail get closer to the rocks in the background - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

We followed a dirt trail get closer to the rocks in the background.

Up on top! - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Up on top!

One of our hikers is a geologist, and was explaining how the rocks were formed - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

One of our hikers is a geologist, and was explaining how the rocks were formed.

A special shot of the fairer half of the hikers - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

A special shot of the fairer half of the hikers.

As well as the coloured area of the danxia landform, there’s the ‘white’ landform - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

As well as the coloured area of the danxia landform, there’s the ‘white’ landform.

Hiking through the hills - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Hiking through the hills.

We headed further into the hills - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

We headed further into the hills.

This part is called the Heavenly Gate, and we passed through to reach the dry river valley - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

This part is called the Heavenly Gate, and we passed through to reach the dry river valley.

We needed a rest in the shade – it was a hot day! - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

We needed a rest in the shade – it was a hot day!

We hiked out through a long canyon - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

We hiked out through a long canyon.

These kilns were built during the ‘Great Leap Forward’ - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

These are the remains of kilns and furnaces built during the ‘Great Leap Forward’.

Back in Zhangye, at the ‘Giant Buddha’ Temple - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Back in Zhangye, at the ‘Giant Buddha’ Temple

Time for a quick workout - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Time for a quick workout.

A wooden pagoda - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

A wooden pagoda .

A colourfully-dressed local guide took us up to the Horsehoof Temple - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

A colourfully-dressed local guide took us up to the Horsehoof Temple.

The temple is built into the cliffs, and was founded during the Han Dynasty (circa 200 BC) - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

The Horsehoof temple is built into the cliffs, and was founded during the Han Dynasty (circa 200 BC)

Back at Jiayuguan, we took a look at a stretch of Great Wall that has been repaired in the original Han Dynasty style - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Back at Jiayuguan, we took a look at a stretch of Great Wall that has been repaired in the original Han Dynasty style.

We climbed up here to get a view of the Jiayuguan Fortress, far below - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

We climbed up here to get a view of the Jiayuguan Fortress, far below

Group photo up on the wall - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

Group photo up on the wall.

A reconstruction of ancient barracks that were sited by a river canyon - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

A reconstruction of ancient barracks that were sited by a river canyon.

The only way over the river – a swingbridge - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

The only way over the river – a swingbridge.

A view of the riverbed - Zhangye Danxia Landform and Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, May 2014

A view of the riverbed.

And that was the trip!

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