Home > Trip Reports

Zhangye Danxia Landform, Gansu, 2013/05

In Brief: Photos from our five-day adventure trip in Gansu Province: the Zhangye Danxia Landforms, sculpted sandstone cliffs and valleys, and the Matisi Grottoes.

The coloured hills, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

The coloured hills of the Zhangye Danxia landform.

For our Zhangye long distance trip we did two days of hiking in the Danxia Landform areas, and made visits to nearby temples, caves and grottoes, and the Han Dynasty Great Wall in Jiayuguan.

On the first day, after a long journey by plane, we arrived in Jiayuguan, the west gate of China during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Even though the fortress at Jiayuguan is undergoing some renovation, the tall walls and the spectacular views of the 5,000m high Qilian Snow Mountains in the distance are still an amazing sight.

For the renovations, specialist labourers have been invited from Shanxi province, where they’ve developed expertise in repairing and preserving ancient architecture. They were still busy working on the 600-year old fortress walls as the sun was going down.

The next day, we spent about six hours at the Danxia Landform, a national park that offers a fantastic hiking experience through the valleys and hills in this special area.

The third day we visited a another landform zone that’s in the same area, but is comprised of very different scenery: weirdly weathered hills, valleys, and cliffs.

We also visited some Silk Road sites nearby Zhangye city: the ancient pagoda, the Reclining Buddha Temple, and the Matisi Temple and Grottoes – there was certainly plenty to experience on this trip!

Our camera developed problems before departure, so Huijie had to use her phone to try and capture the feeling of the trip – her photos below!

Resting, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

We stopped for a picnic on top of one of the few hills that had a flat space for sitting.

a new trail, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

We explored valleys on a new trail.

White Ice, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

The “White Ice” valley.

Fantastic scenery., Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Fantastic scenery.

A rocky “castle”., Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

A rocky “castle”.

Qilian Mountains, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Hiking in the Bing’gou Rock area, with the Qilian Mountains in the distance.

Pillar-shaped, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Pillar-shaped sandstone formations.

the ridges, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Hiking towards the ridges.

An interesting landscape., Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

An interesting landscape.

Eroded rocks., Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Eroded rocks.

sunshine, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Enjoying the scenery and sunshine.

Hill, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Hill walking up ridges.

a giant rock, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

We walked past a giant rock.

Another shot, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Another shot of the giant rock.

the eroded, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

More of the eroded sandstone cliffs.

The Blue Eyes, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

This formation is locally known as “The Blue Eye”.

The trail, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

The trail was narrow and a little steep.

the hill, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Coming down the hill.

Matisi Temple, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Matisi Temple and grottoes.

Great Wall tower, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

A restored Great Wall tower near Jiayuguan.

Hello, hikers!, Beijing Hikers ZhangyeTrip, 2013/05/29

Hello, hikers!

Were you on this hike or trip? How did you like it? Please send us your comments about what was good and/or what we could do a better job of. We'd love to hear from you!

Were you not on this trip, but like the look of it? Tell us, and we'll let you know when we'll be repeating it.

Trip reports, photos, and news

Trip Reports: Photos and writeups of our trips around Beijing and other parts of China. View all the trip reports »

News: Updates and information. View all the news »

Trip reports

Read one of the many reports in the archives. (This report has been chosen by random selection; we hope it's a good one for you!)

Hiking photos - Zhangye, May 2011

View trip report »