Wulingyuan in Zhangjiajie, northwest Hunan Province, extends over 23,490 square kilometers. The central area of 369 square kilometers includes Zhangjiajie, Suoxi Valley and Tianzi Hill. It is a natural zoo, botanical garden and geological park and is famous for its peaks, caves, springs and dense forests. It was listed as a world heritage site in 1992.
Zhangjiajie lies at the center of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area and is 13.34 square kilometers in area. Surface erosion by water has resulted in a basin surrounded by cliffs. Forest coverage in the area is as high as 97.7 percent and there are several thousand different shaped peaks. The area is a natural maze with its unique and wild surroundings and there are now five itineraries to 80 scenic spots. Yellow Lion Village is 1,200 meters above sea level and sits on a plateau at the top of several cliffs. It covers an area of 20 hectares and from a distance it seems like a squatting male lion.
At the northern end of the plateau is Heicongnao Stone Peak which is covered by pine trees, some of them are dozens of meters high and with trunks so thick that two people could not encircle them with outstretched arms; the are part of a dense primeval forest. One the more popular trips in Zhangjiajie is the Golden Whip Stream itinerary. The stream zig-zags for more than 20 kilometers through an area bordered by cliffs and is known as "a natural gallery of mountain and river pictures." Standing at 1,334 meters above sea level the highest peak is called Rabbits Watch the Moon. Stands of dove trees make the peak a good place to appreciate nature.
Suoxi Valley, in the west of Cili County, is about 200 square kilometers in area. The creek flows from east to west through a scenic area which is thought of as a natural greenhouse. The area has unique geological and topographical features and the bottom of the valley is yellow-green or dark green shale while the upper part is made up of a 600 meter thick dark red or gray mixture of quartzite and thin sandy shale. This is one of the factors which makes walking in the valley like a visit to an art gallery. There is also the Yellow Dragon Cave which has four levels and interesting scenery.
Tianzi Mountain is in Sangzhi County and covers an area of 93 square kilometers. Kunlun Peak, the main peak, is 1,262 meters above sea level. The more interesting topographic features are found half way up the mountain and include waterfalls, the Bridge of Heaven, karst caves, rock peaks and stone forests. Six main tourist districts have been developed- Shijiayan, Chapan Tower, Laochang House, Fengxi Hill, Yellow Dragon Springs and Kunlun Peak. The subtropical dense broadleaf forests are the home of rare fauna and flora and there are 84 sites for viewing nature. Other natural scenes include mist and clouds, sunsets and evenings with a bright moon and winter snow.
Wulingyuan is being developed into a comprehensive tourist area for sightseeing, exploration, scientific research, recuperation and vacations.
Included in the UNESCO world heritage list in 1992.
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