Yuntai Mountain is situated in Xiuwu County, about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Jiaozuo City, Henan Province. This mountain is among the first group from all over the world that received the title of World Geologic Park from UNESCO in 2004. It is also the only famous scenic area in Henan Province having the titles of National 5A Grade Tourist Attraction, National Forest Park, National Geologic Park, National Water Conservancy Scenic Area and National Macaque Natural Reserve.
Covered with verdant virgin forest, Yuntai Mountain is famous for its imposing mountain and water sceneries. The picturesque peaks and high mountains extend as far as the eyes can see. The highest Cornel Peak has an elevation of 1,304 meters (4,278 feet). Myriad springs, waterfalls and pools abound. Yuntai Waterfall, 314 meters (1,030 feet) high, is the highest waterfall in China. Deep valleys and quiet gorges, unique stones and wild flowers form a beautiful landscape.
The sceneries of Yuntai Mountain change with the seasons. In spring, the mountain is decorated by wild flowers and green grasses. In summer, the luxuriant virgin forests and beautiful waterfalls make it an excellent resort. In autumn, leaves turn fiery red and the mountain looks like a colorful coat. Seen from a distance, Yuntai Waterfall is like a pillar connecting the sky and earth. In winter, snow turns the mountain into a white world of ice waterfall, ice pillar and evergreen plants covered with snow. This is a typical winter sight in northern China.
Yuntai Mountain has long been recognized as a popular tourist resort throughout history. The Han emperor Xiandi (the last emperor of the Han Dynasty) had left his summer resort and mausoleum based here. It was once the secluded place of 'the Bamboo Forest Seven Sages' during the Wei Dynasty (220-265) and the Jin Dynasty (265-420). In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Sun Simiao, the medicine king, often collected herbs and made traditional Chinese medicines here. The great poet of the Tang Dynasty, Wang Wei, wrote an immortal verse on Cornel Peak, 'one misses relatives the most during the holidays'. Many famous visitors in history left their stone inscriptions and steles here, enriching its cultural value.
Eleven Scenic Areas
Occupying an area of 190 square kilometers (46,950 acres), Yuntai Mountain has eleven scenic areas: Red Stone Gorge, Tanpu Gorge, Quanpu Gorge, Cornel Peak, Wanshan Temple, Baijia Cliff, Zifang Lake, Macaque Valley, Qinglong Gorge, Fenglin Gorge and Diecai Cave. Each has its own unique features and beauty.
Red Stone Gorge (Hongshi Gorge)
Red Stone Gorge is a valley with steep cliffs of red rocks standing straight up on both sides. It is the geologic relic of a crustal movement that took place 1.4 billion years ago, and rare Danxia landform in northern China. This gorge gathers many springs, waterfalls, streams, pools and gullies, so it is named 'the corridor of superfine landscape' by garden experts. The south side of the gorge is so narrow that it is only one thread wide. Towering cliffs stand facing each other as a gate and torrents scour a gully down the cliffs. Here the White Dragon Waterfall is divided into three sections and drops in level of about 50 meters (164 feet). Myriad springs and waterfalls dash against cliffs, making numerous colorful beads in sunlight like a natural fresco. White stalactites that grow in the quartz sandstones become simple and elegant under the red cliffs. Two emersed red stones look as if two lovers are locked together in a long kiss. Nine dragon pools make a stream whose water is so limpid that many beautiful stones can be seen clearly.
Cornel Peak is the highest peak of Yuntai Mountain, which is about 1,308 meters (4,291 feet) above sea level. The great poet of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Wang Wei, wrote a famous verse 'One misses the relatives the most in holidays' on Cornel Peak. Following ascent of thousands of steps of scaling ladder and plank road built along a cliff to this peak, visitors can see the Taihang Mountain in the north. Lofty mountains extends as far as eyes can see. Also the vast plain in the south, the crisscross fields which appear like a chessboard and the ribbon-like Yellow Rivercan be seen. In a word, the scenery is magnificent from this peak, making people deeply feel the poetic imagery of this line 'seen from the skyscraping peak, other mountains appear to be dwarfed', a line written by Du Fu, the 'Poet Saint' of the Tang Dynasty.
Tanpu Gorge (Xiaozhai Valley)
Among the landscape gallery of Yuntai Mountain, Tanpu Gorge is nature's masterpiece. It is famous for 'a spring in three steps, a waterfall in five steps and a pool in ten steps'. The water scenery in this valley is imposing with mountains and unique rocks. Located in the north of Yuntai Mountain, the 1,270 meters (1,389 yards) long gorge travels from south to north. Sheer cliffs and steep mountains at both sides rise skyward in an elegant shape. The still waters in Duxian Pond run deep and the water there is as green as an emerald. It is said that people can become immortal by drinking its water. The lover waterfall falls at three different levels and in each level, two waterfalls blend into a pond as if two sweethearts whisper. A Y-shaped waterfall hangs between two mountains with a drop of more than 10 meters (32.8 feet). Here many deep pools are formed by the cascading waters. Moreover, there is a natural water-curtain cave with crystal beads hanging before the cave. In summer and autumn, bamboo rafting is held here. In the Xiaozhai Valley Square, tourists can see shadowboxing show for free.
Other Scenic Areas
Quanpu Gorge contains the largest cataract in the entire country, Yuntai Waterfall which has a drop of about 314 meters (1,030 feet). Seen from afar, the waterfall kisses the blue sky like a skyscraping pillar, producing deafening roars. The Wanshan Temple is situated at the foot of the Hades Nose Peak, which was originally built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Baijia Cliff Scenic Area is an excellent place for climbing cliffs, where many historical relics are left. The Tianmen Waterfall and a temple pagoda rising on a cliff are two must-sees. The Macaque Valley is a natural reserve for wild macaques who have been trained to put on performances, such as dancing, pulling a cart and military practice. The Blue Dragon Gorge, named as 'the First Gorge in Central Plain', is a good ecological resort because of its thick forest, abundant water and pleasant climate. A vast expanse of misty, rolling waters spread all over the Fenglin Gorge. Elegant islands are scatted in the lake like stars in the sky. Diecai Cave is a highway tunnel linking Henan and Shanxi Provinces. It runs through the Yuntai Mountain, 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) long. Zifang Lake appears like a large mirror reflecting the green mountains around, blue sky and white clouds.
1. It is 1.5 hours ride from Zhengzhou Airport to the Yuntai Mountain.
2. Xinxiang City Coach Station (5 minutes' walking from Xinxiang Train Station) has buses to the mountain resort at 7:30 and 13:20, and back at 10:00 and 16:30.
3. Zhengzhou Long-Distance Bus Center (opposite Zhengzhou Railway Station) has bus to the mountain at 8:00 and return at 16:30.
4. Luoyang Jinyuan Bus Station has one direct bus at 9:00 and it return at 15:30.
5.Take bus no. 3 at Jiaozuo Train Station to the mountain (Baijiayan Parking Lot). The bus depart at 6:10 and 6:20 in the morning and get back to the city at 15:10 and 15:20. It takes 1.5 hours.
CNY 120 (Mar.1–Nov.30)
CNY 60 (Dec.1–end of Feb.);
Only one ticket is needed for all scenic areas in Yuntai Mountains. The ticket is valid for two days and has to be presented in each scenic area. Tourists can visit each area only once. The Inside Transportation Ticket is also valid for two days.