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Rainbow Mountains – Zhangye Danxia Geological Formation

David and I recently visited the famous Rainbow Mountains, otherwise knows as Zhangye Danxia Geological Formation – near Zhangye, China.  These mountains look like they’ve been painted with broad brush strokes with lively colors zigzagging across the rolling hills (mostly in warm shades).  With each hill a new pattern emerges and across the range dozens of differing patterns can be detected.

There are many pictures online that depict additional colors (cool colors as well) and these are not all that truthful I hate to say…the mountains do change color slightly with different lighting (sunrise and sunset), but at all times of day they roughly resemble what I have captured in these images.

The mountains are truly remarkable and a one-of-a-kind experience.  The surrounding ranges do not resemble this color palette at all – and they almost seem to appear out of nowhere when you arrive.  It’s like a scene from a Dr. Seuss book, your eyes almost do not believe it 🙂  Oh and did I mention, we saw a real rainbow in the sky while exploring the Rainbow Mountains?  That was cool!

To get to Zhangye Danxia Geological Formation:

First travel to Zhangye, which is a town on the Silk road accessible from Xi’an, Pingliang or Jiayuguan.  Upon arrival in the town you can simply hop in a cab and show them the Google translation for Zhangye Danxia Geological Formation in Mandarin.  Any cabbie will happily take you out to the site (45 mins from the town) and wait for you.  The cab itself will run about $30 for 4-5 hours and the site itself is about $6/pp.  The site ticket includes admission and a shuttle bus that drops you off at the main viewing points (although you can additionally venture off on your own at any point in time as well).