As a source branch of the Jialing River belonging to the Yangtze River system, Jiuzhaigou covers 720 square kilometers, and is some 400 kilometers south of Chengdu. With a development area of 140 square kilometers, the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area gains its name from its nine Tibetan villages, centering in Nuorilang and comprising three valleys, namely Shuzhenggou, Rizegou and Zezhawagou. The three valleys are 14km, 17km and 18km in length, respectively. Jiuzhaigou is famous for its ancient and mysterious scenery, encompassing snow-capped mountains, forest, grasslands, waterfalls, streams, and lakes. Colorful lakes and various waterfalls are special scenes in Jiuzhaigou, with the first scene as the Pearl Shoal, the most beautiful lake as the Five Flower Lake, also known as the Peacock Lake, the largest lake as the Long Lake and the smallest lake as the Five Color Pool. These four scenes are the most splendid ones in Jiuzhaigou.
Legend has it; that long, long ago the deity of mountain named Dago had a crush on the goddess Semo, and he gave a mirror that was made from wind and cloud to the goddess. However, the devil appeared and made trouble to Semo. Inadvertently, Semo broke the mirror into 108 pieces, which fell down to the earth and then turned to 108 colorful lakes. The lake is also called Haizi by local people.
Shuzheng valley is the major tour route to Jiuzhaigou. More than 40% of the lakes and ponds are situated in the valley. They are Double-Dragon Lake, Bonsai Beach, Reed Lake, Sparking Lake, Tiger Lake, Shuzheng Waterfall, Rhinoceros Lake, and Nuorilang Waterfall, etc.
Double-Dragon Lake is located in the bushes below the waterfall of Huohua Hai . It got its name from the two biological calcium dykes, which lurk under the water. Possibly due to the peaceful environment and the blessing of the two huge "dragons", there are many beautiful swans and mandarin ducks full of affection. Lucky visitors may catch the view of ducks swimming in groups and swans dancing in the air.
Shuzheng waterfall stretches several kilometers. The 19 small and big lakes as well as the trees and waterfalls will afford you a splendid and magnificent natural view.
Reed Lake is elevated about 2140 meters. It is actually a semi-marsh lake, where reeds abound and birds fly freely. Layers of the down-like flowers undulate, when the reeds come into bloom, seducing lots of wild ducks and egrets to come here. Reed Lake suffuses a thriving and flourishing vitality.
Sparking Lake is elevated 2187 meters, with an area of 36352 square meters and depth of 9 meters deep. The water is blue and clear. When the fog dispersed in the morning and the sun has risen, there seems a lot of sparks flashing and twinkling on the lake surface. Sparking Lake, overwhelmed by jade greens all around, looks like a jadeite dish full of marvelous pearls and jewels.In summer, wild flowers come into bloom of brilliant reds and purples. Morning dews correspond with bits and pieces sparks shining in the Lake, left a great deal for visitors to taste.
The Nuorilang Lake is the starting spot of Rize Valley , famous for its blue water and overlapped, multi-colored waterfalls. In spring and summer, lake dikes arc half- submerged in water that seem to have energized everything. Autumn reddens the tree leaves, against the effulgent lake water. Winter sees water turn into ice that wraps and encloses the whole world.
Pearl Beach waterfall
With the highest drop 40m and width of 310 meter, the Pearl Beach Waterfall drops from the cliff and forms a crescent waterfall. Walking down ilie plank path, you will have a lull view of ihe waterfall. Its roaring, splashing, and rushing create the best water sight of Jiuzhaigou, because of tin; must rapid section of torrents here. The plank trail on the left of the rapids is the most ideal place to view the splashes of ihe waterfall.
The Swan Lake
Lying in deep valleys, it is noted for its glittering water, and dense fir woods on the banks. On the shallow beach are flowering plants and grasses in complete quiescence. On its fertile soil, swans are frequent visitors, to in habit and regenerate. As the swan is a migrating bird. and flies far away and comes back as seasons change, few tourists can see them.
Jianyan Primitive Forest
To the south of Swan Lake, there is a lonely precipice standing erect, called Jianyan (Sword Cliff). It is over 500 meters high. Huge rocks are exposed to the air, for the steep slopes are hardly covered with any vegetation. The cliff was named after its sword-like outline.
South from Norilang Waterfall, Jiuzhaigou is divided into two parts. Extending toward the south is Zechawa Gully, with a length of about 17.8 kilometers. Walking along Zechawa Gully, you can enjoy scenic spots like Jijie Hai (Seasonal Lake), Wucai Chi (Five Color Pond), and you will end you journey at Chang Hai (Long Lake) with an altitude of 3100 meters.
With an altitude of 2587 meters, Panda Lake is 14 meters deep, with an area of 90,000 square meters. This is also the haunting place of giant pandas. The rocks on the bank have special veins. Down in the water, there is a white rock with several black veins, looking exactly like a giant panda.
The average altitude of Changhai Pond is 3060 meters, among which the highest one is 4457 meters. It lies at the end of Zechawa valley.
The width of Changhai Pond is over 600 meters and the deepest place of Changhai Pond is over 100 meters. Thus, Changhai Pond is the widest and deepest pond among those of at Jiuzhaigou.
Wuhua Pond has the altitude of 2472 meters, and the depth of 5 meters. In Wuhua Pond Scenic Area, there is the famous scenic spot -Jiuzhaigou Valley, which has the reputation of "the essence in Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area".
Although in the same pond, there are many different colors of yellow, dark green, dark blue, etc. Wuhua Pond is the most fantastic spot among those of at Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area. The hills around Wuhua Pond change to a splendid picture when fall comes. The best colorful leaves are from the trees near the outer lakes, and they look like fire cracks in fall time. Therefore, it is very worth visiting here.
Shangjijie and Xiajijie Pond
Shangjijie Hai (Upper Seasonal Lake) is situated in a lush and luxuriant cal, while Xiajijie Hai (Lower Seasonal Lake) is closely next to Wucai Chi (Five Color Pond). Volume of the two lakes varies timely: sometimes overflowing, and sometimes dried up.
In rainy autumns, the water is rising, with a color of bright blue while turn glossy green in summers. In winters, they run dry, and throughout the bed grow up many grasses, making the lakes excellent pasture beaches. Precious plant - Ruoxiwichi, grows here in winters.
A visit to Zharu let you experience the strong cultural traditions. Tourists will not only enjoy Tibetan rurality, but also the unique Benbo religious sect. The erecting Mirror Cliff stands on the ancient Zharu horse trail, watching pilgrims paying their homage at the Zharu Monastery. While touring in this great natural scenery, tourists are being immersed in a mysterious Tibetan atmosphere of religion. It will be a different experience in Zharu if you have traveled to other cities of China.
About 3km long, it winds among woods and rocks, towards the foot of Mt. Zhayi Zhaga. It is said that Sage'er, a Tibetan national hero, once rode on his horse through this century-old trail. Here you will see exotic rocks, hanging old rattans, and rapid torrents. On the sides, are fences, orchards, ancient temples, grass slopes, cattle, and in a distance, snow peaks, and floating clouds - everything appears like what you .see in a landscape movie. You may drink the spring water at the roadside to refresh your mind, and take a little rest to relax your tired feet, and have fun like those cowboys to resume your childhood memory.
Over across the Feicui (Emerald) River, it is built in a typical Tibetan wood-bridge style. The supporting logs are wrapped in fences, the roadway is paved with un painted wood plates. The roof is made of tree barks, in their original color, too, presenting an endeared and plain feeling. On (he handrails hang colorful kha-btags which are dancing pleasantly in gentle winds, like in- tangible hands opening up to tourists. Walking on the bridge, yon will see the rapid torrents below, peculiar pines in a distance, worn-out canoes, and carving traces on the Baojing Cliff. Now, you begin your endless I magi nations.
It's the largest lake in Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area, covering an area of 7.5 km (4.66 miles), long and 0.375 km (23 miles) wide. It is 3103 meters above sea level, with a maximum depth of 103 meters (337 ft).
The melted snow from the South Peak and the waters of surrounding mountain streams and brooks all find their way into the Lade which has no exit. The excess water either vapors or seeps into the earth. The waters never spill over the banks in spite of downpours in summer and autumn.
Five-Flower Lake lies at the end of the upper reach of Peacock River, 2,472 meters (about 8,110 feet) above the sea level and five meters (about 16 feet) in depth. Most of the colorful leaves are gathered in the lakefront and interlaced as brocades. The water that contains calcium carbonate as well as hydrophytes with different colors presents a versicolor sight, azure blue, blackish green and light yellow, etc, so it is named Five-Flower Lake. The local people say that it is a holy lake, and where there is the water, there must be flourishing flowers and trees. When looking down from the mountain, you will find that the lake with hills on three sides is just like a huge upended cucurbit pouring colorful water to the lower place.
Peculiarly, there is a pattern of a deer's leg in the abdomen of the cucurbit, 10 meters (about 33 feet) or so. The whole pattern is light green, while the middle part presents dark green due to the quincunx-shaped pits of the terrain of the lake bed. So the pattern is really like a spotted deer. The legend said that the deity of all mountains hurt the holy deer that belonged to the King of Forest by mistake when he was seeking for water source in the mountain. The King of Forest was so furious that he chased the deity on the holy deer and wanted to kill him. Other deities cut off one leg of the deer in order to help the deity of all mountains. Then the holy deer fell down and became the colorful lake.
Magic mirror cliff
It's a gigantic cliff rising 800 meters (2,624 ft) from the level ground. Its surface is as smooth and slippery as a mirror. Capped with pines and China firs, the cliff top resembles a human head with cropped short hair and curly beard, which in local mythology, was left over by Zhayiga, the Ancestor of mountains to keep the evil spirit under control.