Baiyun Mountains: A Majestic Natural Garden

2023-07-13 11:01:00 Source:China Today Author:staff reporter MENG JIAXIN
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This mesmerizing park boasts scenic peaks, drifting clouds, cascading waterfalls, dense forests, and deep valleys.

Baiyun Mountains Scenic Area is located in an old-growth forest in the south of Songxian County of Luoyang City in central China’s Henan Province, covering an area of 168 square kilometers. Nestled in the transitional area between a warm temperate zone and northern subtropics, Baiyun Mountains have an average altitude of 1,800 meters, and its highest temperature in summer does not exceed 26oC.

It is also rich in flora and fauna, with more than 200 animal species and nearly 2,000 plants. More than 98.5 percent of the area is covered in forests. This scenic area also traverses three large river basins of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River, and the Huaihe River, presenting a range of natural landscapes. There are a total of 37 hills which lie 1,500 meters above sea level, including the 2,216-meter-high Yuhuang Peak — the highest summit in the Baiyun Mountains Scenic Area. The summit is one of the best spots to enjoy views of incredible sunrise and the drifting sea of clouds at the park.

Baiyun Mountains scenic area has five major sightseeing attractions, including Baiyun Peak, Yuhuang Peak, Jijiao Hill, Nine Dragons Falls, and Primitive Forest. There are also five major leisure areas, namely Baiyun Lake, Forest Oxygen Bar, Mountain Peony Garden, Liuhou Temple, and Luhua Valley. Unique landscapes include peculiar rocks and peaks, lush forest landscapes, waterfalls and pools, golden-hued sunrises, and colorful leaves. It is a national 5A-rated tourist attraction, a world geological park, a national forest park, and a national nature reserve.

Many “early birds” taking pictures of a stunning sunrise view at Baiyun Mountain on August 1, 2020. 

Yuhuang Peak 

Located in the southwest of the park, Yuhuang Peak Scenic Spot is one of the five major tourist attractions in Baiyun Mountains Scenic Area. The highest summit stands at 2,216 meters above sea level, and is named after the imposing crown-shaped peak as Yuhuang in Chinese is the name of the emperor of Heaven, also known as Jade Emperor.

Yuhuang Peak is an ideal place to watch the sun rise over the sea of drifting clouds in the central plains of China. Climbing up to Yuhuang Peak is a breathtaking experience. It features a landscape rich in natural splendor. Tourists usually drive from nearby hotels to the foot of the mountains late at night. When the weather is clear, hikers can also enjoy the star-dotted sky. With the grandeur of the Milky Way overhead, the glittering sky drives away thoughts of sleep. Although the sky may be clear, visibility in autumn and winter is so low on the ground that hikers need flashlights to hike along the trail, and care needs to be taken climbing up the winding mountain track.

There is a platform which allows panoramic views on top of the hill. It is said to be one of the best vantage points for taking in the sunrise in China’s central plain area. When the sun rises on a clear day, everything takes on resplendent colors: the sky brims with a warm glow, the gorgeous peaks and hill are awash with color, and the sun looks like a red disc ascending the sky. Tranquility descends upon the viewers savoring the view. After rainfall and snowfall, and before sunrise and sunset, the spectacular sea of clouds is most likely to appear. The emergence of the sun from the clouds is nothing short of a fairytale moment.

After the sun has arisen, the surroundings on the peak become more visible and defined. In the middle of the platform is a majestic gilded hall that attracts visitors’ attention. This hall, featuring elaborate carvings and paintings and traditional Chinese architectural styles, is the Yuhuang Pavilion. This building was expanded and remodeled on the basis of the original Yuhuang Pavilion, with an area of 246 square meters. It is an octagonal hall and inside it sits a magnificent golden figure dedicated to the Jade Emperor (Yuhuang. There is a huge rock adjacent to the golden pavilion, inscribed with characters alluding to it being one of the highest points in central China. The altitude of the summit is marked below. From here, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the Yuhuang Peak.

After visiting Yuhuang Peak, visitors can visit the nearby Jijiao Hill Scenic Area. There are over 40 attractions in this scenic area, with beautiful mountain scenery. The sunset there is also a must-see sight.

A tree climbing race is taking place in the ancient forest of Baiyun Mountain on August 11, 2017. 

Nine Dragons Canyon 

Besides the mountainous landscapes at Yuhuang Peak, the aquatic scenery at Nine Dragons Canyon is also worth a visit. Visitors can first take a sightseeing bus to the Jiulong Plaza at the top of the mountain and walk down from the top. Generally, there are two tour routes, and one of them leads to the Nine Dragons Sky Bridge. The bridge is made of glass and connects two peaks. It is a heart-stopping walk, due to the sheer height and clear glass. However, this challenging and unusual location provides a relatively rare angle for tourists to sample the staggering beauty of the hill. After experiencing the Sky Bridge, walking down the stairs, and passing through the humid tunnels, multiple waterfalls appear in succession before your eyes.

The Nine Dragons Canyon is brimming with aquatic scenery, with dozens of waterfalls in varied sizes. The most famous one is the Nine Dragons Falls, which is 130 meters high and six meters wide. The name of the waterfall mentions nine dragons, but the waterfall is not composed of nine waterfalls as some might expect. The number “nine” refers to the nine dragon-shaped patterns naturally formed on the cliffs where the waterfall flows down. The canyon has a number of falls. Some have a huge drop, some are long and slender, and some are wide. Visitors can take the stairs built along the sides of the cliffs. These trails meander in “z-shaped” patterns, likely causing hikers to lose their sense of direction. Standing on the stairs, visitors are awed by the deep cliffs surrounded by stunning vistas and bubbling waterfalls.

Baiyun Mountain provides visitors with a multicolored display of trees in autumn. 

Natural Oxygen Bar 

Good climatic conditions and an abundance of plant varieties make Baiyun Mountains a natural oxygen bar. To cater to the tourists’ needs for vacation, venues for leisure activities and fitness, and vast tracts of alpine forests have been built in the scenic area. The 80,000-square-meter forest is the largest at the highest altitude in central China. The substantial negative oxygen ions in the air can help to increase the amount of oxygen that humans inhale, making people feel refreshed and energized. A wide array of facilities are available in this forest zone for visitors to take part in sports activities and have a good time.

The city of Luoyang is famous for its peonies. As the Baiyun Mountains lie in the city, its peony garden draws streams of visitors during blossom season every year. This garden is located deep in the forest at 1,530 meters above sea level. The unique alpine climatic conditions here extend the flowering period of peonies. Over 100 varieties of peonies can be found in the peony garden at Baiyun. Peony blooming season in Baiyun Mountains lasts from May to August.

With sprawling majestic hills rising above the cloudy vistas, and breathtaking waterfalls, the scenic spot presents a magnificent visual feast to visitors. Nature-loving hikers will find much to love in this attraction in Luoyang.

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