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With an area of 130 square km, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is located 32 kilometers (19 miles) from Zhangjiajie city, Hunan Province,China. As the first state-level forest park in China, it has been described differently, such as, majestic, eccentric, tranquil, delicate and wild.
One of the park's quartz-sandstone pillars, the 3,544-foot Southern Sky Column, had been officially renamed "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain" in honor of the eponymous film in January 2010. The film's director and production designers said that they drew inspiration for the floating rocks from mountains from around the world, including those in the Hunan province,China.
The Park is known for its exquisite forests, odd-shaped peaks and rocks, the beautiful canyons, the limestone caves, and the breath-taking panoramic views. It consists of several main tourist routes: Huangshi Village, Golden Whip Stream, Yuanjiajie, Tianzi mountain,Yaozi Village, Pipa Stream and so on.
Located at an elevation of 1300 meters, Huangshi Village is the biggest sightseeing platform in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. There is a local saying that he who does not reach Huangshi Village does not pay a true visit to Zhangjiajie China. There are a couple of distinctive spots along the sightseeing route, such as Tian Shu Bao Xia (Heavenly Book and Precious Box), Nan Tian Yi Zhu (Southern Sky Column), Front Garden, Jin Gui Tan Hai (Golden Tortoise Exploring the Sea), etc. The sunrise is another marvelous spectacle in Huangshi Village. Visitors can climb up from the front gate or take the cableway to the peak.
Jinbian Stream (Golden Whip Stream)
With a length of 7.5 kilometers, Golden Whip Stream is famous for its pristine water, its verdant mountains, its steep cliffs and its serene valley. As a veritable "paradise" for plants, its pathways are adorned by an abundance of flowers, trees, and grasses.
When visiting Golden Whip Stream, vice governor of Colorado, USA, Nancy Dick, remarked these words: "People commonly say that the Great Canyon (the Colorado Canyon) is very fantastic, but I think Golden Whip Stream is even more fantastic. It is the most beautiful place in the world, and I'll remember this place forever."
Located in the northwest part of the Park, Yuanjiajie is a naturally formed platform mountain, surrounded by higher summits which are divided by deep valleys. “The First Bridge in the World" one of the best scenic spots here, is a marvelous place well worth a visit. The bridge, crossing between two hills, is 25 meters long and 357 meters high, it is actually the highest naturally-formed rock bridge in the world.
Located in the northern part of Wulingyuan Scenic Area, Tianzi (Son of Heaven) Mountain Nature Reserve is one of the four scenic spots in Wulingyuan (three other spots are the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the Suoxiyu Natural Resource Reserve and the Yangjiajie Scenic Area). Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve covers an area of 67 square kilometers (about 16,550 acres), and the highest peak is 1,262 meters (about 4,140 feet) above the sea level.
Avatar Hallelujah Mountain
Its soaring steeple of rock topped by a small oasis of trees looks straight out of the 3D blockbuster Avatar. But this is no special effects illusion, it's a real-life tower of quartz-sandstone deep in the rugged mountain terrain of southern Hunan in China.
The 3,544ft Southern Sky Column is one of 3,000 in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and became the inspiration for the magical 'floating peaks' in James Cameron's film after a Hollywood photographer spent time shooting there in 2008.
Tianzi Mountain provides stunning views of peaks, which rise one after another. It is known as 'the Monarch of the Peak Forest'. At the top of the mountain, visitors can see the full extent of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area. Beautiful scenes of the mountain greet visitors in different seasons. There are four wonders: the Sea of Clouds, the Radiance of the Moonlight, Rays of Sunshine and the Snow in winter.
Tianzi Mountain takes its name from a man, Xiang Dakun. He was the leader of the Tu ethnic group during the last years of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 -1279). Xiang Dakun led a revolution and avowed himself as Tianzi (Son of Heaven). Visiting the Tianzi Mountain Area, visitors can see many sites about his story, the most impressive being: the Yu Bi Peaks, the Xian Nü San Hua, and the Shen Bing Ju Hui.
With pine trees on the top, the Yu Bi (imperial brushes) Peaks rise upward into the sky. Legend goes that they are brushes the Tianzi-Xiang Dakun used that became stone peaks after his martyrdom. The Xian Nv San Hua (floral tributes by fairies) is slightly opposite the Yu Bi Peaks. A legend goes that Xiang Dakun and his army were defeated to fall back on the Tianzi Mountain. He fought to the finish, but finally jumped off the cliff. A girl in love with him went across the mountain to search for him. She strewed flowers over the cliffs and turned into a stone statue. Shen Bing Ju Hui is a forest of soldier-like peaks arrayed for a review.
Visitors can take a cable car to see these charming peaks. With 692 meters' (about 2,270 feet) difference in elevation, the aerial tramway is 2,084 meters (about 2,279 yards) in length. The minimum running time is six minutes and twenty-two seconds for a single trip during which visitors can keep the wonderful scenery of the Tianzi Mountain in view.
The Southern Heaven Gate
If you want to go to Tianzi Mountain through Suoxiyu Valley, you'll have to pass by a huge stone peak with a natural passage through it. The mouth of the passage is shaped like a gate. Thus, it is named the Southern Heaven Gate.
The Imperial Brush Peak
Walking a few steps from the scenic spot named the Fairy Maid Presenting Flowers and then watching towards the southwest on the sightseeing terrace, you can see a pinnacle resembling a huge imperial brush on the right of some graceful peaks, and some short pinnacles on the left in the shape of some brushes on the rack. It brings back the memory of King Xiang who read over official papers and drew a circle around his name on a document. How heroic he was. When you enjoy the view at dusk with red evening clouds in the sky, you'll see that the peak is glittering brightly on its tip as if there were red paint remaining on the point of the brush. Therefore, it is not surprising that more than30 domestic pictorials have its photos printed.
Seeing West Sea on the Heavenly Terrace
Heavenly terrace, resembling a little platform in heaven, is high and perilous, walled by stiff and crisscrossed precipices. The only way to it is a straight flight of 186-step stone stairs. Seen on the Heavenly Terrace with a bird-eye's view, the west sea is a great sea, a sea of clouds and fogs, of peaks, of greenness, and of mystery. The forest of pinnacles stand, strange stones cover the ground. The clouds roll and rays shine. Old trees' branches and roots curl up. How mysterious and unpredictable.
Pavilion of Six Wonders
Pavilion of Six Wonders locates at the highest point of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. It is the only civilization scenes among the natural scenes. It was named Pavilion of Six Wonders because of unusual peaks, rocks, water, clouds and rare plants and animals. From the pavilion the panoramic view of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park can be seen.
Opposite to Yellow Stone Village, Yaozi Village, which is 1,500 meters above sea level, is higher than other mountain. It is famous for its steepness. With broad top, Yaozi Village is a splendiferous place for sightseeing. With an area of 60,000 square meters, it covered by evergreen trees and Wuling fir. It is steep. The main scenic spots are Heaven Bridge, Rabbit Looking the Moon and Bill of Hawk.
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