Last Updated on April 1, 2024

China’s very own Rainbow Mountains, located within the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, are a breathtaking destination located in the Gansu province in northwest China. The park covers an area of 124 square miles (322 sq km) and is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009.

The Rainbow Mountains are famous for their vivid and otherworldly colors that resemble a rainbow painted over the tops of rolling hills, making it one of the most beautiful and colorful landscapes in the world.

Rainbow Mountains - Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park (China)
A stunning display of colors and formations in the Rainbow Mountains, a world-renowned tourist destination. Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China

Rainbow Mountain China is a geological wonder that offers a unique and breathtaking experience for visitors. Its vivid and otherworldly colors make it one of the most beautiful and colorful landscapes in the world.

The park is located in the Gansu province in northwest China and attracts visitors from all over the world. Visitors can explore the Rainbow Mountains by hiking and trekking through the park, and enjoy the stunning display of colors on the hills and rock formations.

The Danxia Landform Rainbow Mountains China | Geological Wonder Of The World

World Heritage Site

The Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park is a popular tourist destination and has been listed as one of the “most beautiful” places in China and the world multiple times.

It is situated in the foothills of the Qilian Mountains and attracts visitors from both China and international locations. The park encompasses an area of 124 square miles (322 sq km), and visitors are amazed by the stunning display of colors on the hills and rock formations.

The Rainbow Mountains are renowned for their unique and striking colors, which are the result of sandstone and mineral deposits that have formed over 24 million years. The layered rock formations were then tilted by tectonic plates, and further sculpted by wind, rain, and time, creating a stunning display of towers, pillars, and ravines in a range of colors, patterns, and sizes.

Formation of Rainbow Mountains

The colorful badlands a result of geological processes that took place over millions of years. The striking colors and formations of the mountains are due to the accumulation and erosion of various rock layers, primarily sandstone.

Approximately 24 million years ago, the area was a flat plain and sandstone and other minerals were deposited over time, creating a layered structure. Later, tectonic movements caused the area to tilt and fold, exposing the layered rocks to erosion from wind and water. Over time, this erosion carved out unique shapes such as towers, pillars, and ravines, which were further shaped and molded by the elements.

The colorful hues in the Rainbow Mountains are a result of mineral deposition and weathering, which produce different colors and patterns in the sandstone. The striking contrast between the colors is caused by variations in mineral content and hardness of the rock layers, which erode at different rates and retain their colors better than the softer layers.

In conclusion, the Rainbow Mountains were formed through a combination of sedimentation, tectonic uplift, erosion, and weathering processes over millions of years, resulting in the breathtaking and unique geological wonder that we see today.

Rainbow Mountains - Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park (China)
The Rainbow Mountains, a geological wonder created by millions of years of natural processes. Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China

Visiting Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park

Visiting the Rainbow Mountains is a unique and breathtaking experience. The mountains are located in the remote Gansu province in China and are known for their colorful patterns that change as the sun hits the mountains. To reach the park, one may have to travel approximately an hour from Zhangye.

Upon arrival, visitors are required to purchase tickets to access the viewing platforms. There are several viewing platforms located at different heights, each offering a unique view of the mountains. Some platforms are also more challenging to reach than others, so it’s important to be prepared for some hiking.

To make the most of the visit, it’s recommended to plan ahead and arrive early in the morning before the crowds arrive. This way, visitors can enjoy the beauty of the Rainbow Mountains in peace and quiet. There are also hop-on-hop-off buses available that allow visitors to explore the different viewing platforms at their own pace.

In addition to the stunning views, the park also offers food, vending machines, restrooms, and even a coffee shop for visitors to relax and recharge. To maximize the experience, some visitors opt to come back the next day to see the sunrise and enjoy the view without the crowds.

It is recommended to visit the park in spring or autumn for best weather. In winter, the mountains get covered in snow so it may not be possible to admire the striking colorations that give them their name.

Getting there

The Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park is located in the northwestern Gansu province in the country. The most popular way to reach the site is by plane, with flights available to Zhangye West Airport from major cities in China such as Beijing and Xi’an. From there, visitors can take a taxi or a shuttle bus to the Zhangye Danxia National Park.

By Train

Another option for reaching the Rainbow Mountains is by train. The Zhangye Railway Station is well connected to major cities in China, and trains are available from cities like Beijing, Lanzhou, and Xi’an. From the railway station, visitors can take a taxi or a shuttle bus to the park.

By Bus

Visitors can also reach the Rainbow Mountains by bus. The Zhangye Bus Station is well connected to many cities in the surrounding area, including Lanzhou and Jiuquan. From there, visitors can take a taxi or a shuttle bus to the park.

Transportation Within the Park

Once visitors reach the park, there are several transportation options available to explore the Rainbow Mountains. Visitors can choose to take a scenic drive or a hike along the trails to reach the various lookout points, which offer stunning views of the colorful landscapes. There are also shuttle buses available for those who prefer to take a guided tour of the park.


Read also: Sandboarding in China


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