Introducing Wǔlíngyuán & Zhāngjiājiè
Rising from the misty subtropical and temperate forests of northwest Húnán is a concentration of quartzite-sandstone formations found nowhere else in the world. Some 243 peaks and more than 3000 karst pinnacles and spires dominate the landscape of this designated Unesco World Heritage Site. For thousands of years, this was a remote landscape known mainly to three minority peoples: Tujia, Miao and Bai. Today more than 20 million visitors annually come to the Wǔlíngyuán Scenic and Historic Interest Area. The park is also home to more than 3000 distinct plant species as well as diverse fauna. Macaques gambol and dangle along paths, while endangered species like the Chinese giant salamander, Chinese water deer and the elusive clouded leopard (only their tracks have been seen) lurk deep in the park.
Tourist season peaks from July to September but each season presents a unique beauty. Avoid the national holidays. Your ticket is valid for three consecutive days, a good estimate of the time it will take to enjoy the main sections of the park. Expect to pay additional fees for cable cars and some sights within the park.