China Travels: Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon (大峡谷, 张家界)

Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie
Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie

The biggest highlight from my recent trip to Mainland China has got to be Zhangjiajie (张家界).

Zhangjiajie refers to the prefecture city and it it one huge area and not the name of a specific place as I have previously thought. Even the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is one massive area with many other small towns and counties encompassed within.

Our first stop into the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park was the Grand Canyon (大峡谷). This attraction was only opened in 2010 and it covers an area of 51 square kilometres.

As it had rained the night before we were there, there was a lot of mist/fog so to be honest, I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing. Hahahaha.

It was bad because we couldn’t see much of the scenery:

Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie
Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie

But on the other hand, it was a good thing because we couldn’t see much of the scenery. LOL.

Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie
Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie

The staircases down into the valley of the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon is not funny. Even from looking down at the staircases, I got weak in the knees and probably felt a bit dizzy from the height.

Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie
Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie

The incline of first couple of flights of staircase was easily up to 80 degrees. I do have a fear of heights and unfortunately for me, there was no turning back on this excursion so I had to suck it up and climb down.

After the first 2 or 3 flights of stairs, I don’t know if that ache in my thighs was from the exertion in climbing down the stairs or from the tension and fear while climbing down; ie 脚软. The thousand over steps down to valley is totally not funny.

Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie
Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie

Fortunately, about halfway or so down the mountain, there was a slide down to the valley. This was fun although the protective covering that they made us wear kept riding my leg and I kept losing the smoothness to slide down easily. Regardless, this was still better than climbing down the stairs.

Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie
Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie

Once we reached the valley of the Grand Canyon, it was just a really nice walk. The view was lovely even though it wasn’t in its prime as a result of the rain from the day before. I can also imagine that the place would look totally amazing when the leave start turning red/brown a few weeks later.

Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie
Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie

The entire walk from the top of the Grand Canyon down to the valley, the path along the valley floor and the boat ride back out to the entrance/exit took us about 3+ hours. Even for the physically not so fit people like me can handle it. I’d say the hardest part of this trail is the staircase down (it’s about 20~25% of the entire journey); at some point I had regretted lugging the dslr along. T_T

However, once you get to the valley, the walk is a breeze.

TIP: bring an umbrella because you’ll need to walk under a waterfall unless you don’t mind getting wet. (I skipped the umbrella and ran across but I got pretty wet still.)

Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie
Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie

We had a guide with us to point out several interesting points along our walk but this trail could be easily covered without a guide as well. There is only one path so there is almost no way of getting lost in there. Just follow the broad-walk.

There are certain parts of the walk which reminded me of Jiuzhaigou but it’s nowhere near the real thing of course. 🙂

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