Jiuzhaigou National Park
Jiuzhaigou National Park (九寨沟风景名胜区, Jiǔzhàigōu Fēngjǐng Míngshèngqū), an enchanting Unesco World Heritage Site, is one of Sichuan’s and even China's star attractions. More than two million people visit annually – or rather, used to visit annually – to gawk at its famous bluer-than-blue lakes, rushing waterfalls and deep woodlands backlit by snowy mountain ranges.
Jiuzhaigou means ‘Nine Village Valley’ and refers to the nine Tibetan villages scattered in the parklands. According to Tibetan legend, Jiuzhaigou was created when a jealous devil caused the goddess Wunosemo to drop her magic mirror, a present from her lover the warlord god, Dage. The mirror dropped to the ground and shattered into 114 shimmering turquoise lakes.
In 2017, the park closed after suffering damage from a 7.0-magnitude earthquake, in addition to erosion in some areas caused by over tourism. At the time of writing, it was not possible to visit, but the park is due to reopen in October 2019.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Jiuzhaigou National Park.