These Terraced Hot Spring Pools in China Spread Over Two Miles and Change Color Every Season
There is something particularly special about Earth’s natural hot springs. The naturally warm waters often bubble up in mountainous areas where access can be difficult — but travelers who make the journey are often well rewarded. That’s surely the case for the terraced hot spring pools in China’s Huanglong Valley.
Located in the center of China, north of Chengdu, the pools were naturally created by mineral deposits and snake their way between rugged mountains, earning the nickname “Yellow Dragon.” The destination is part of the Huanglong Scenic Reserve in the Huanglong National Park and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The reserve is home to Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys and Giant Pandas who live in the forests surrounding the pools, and according to Atlas Obscura, the waters themselves contain rare creatures that are known only to China. Between the site’s animal life and colorful waters that change hue with the season, the pools have been nicknamed “Fairy Land on Earth.”
The terraced pools start at an ancient temple and stretch for 2.2 scenic miles culminating in the grand finale: the Xishen Cave and Waterfalls.
Entry to the Huanglong Scenic Reserve costs a little over $25 per person during the park’s high season (April 1-November 15) and less than $9 during the off season (November 16-March 31).