Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China (with Map & Photos)

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (张家界国家森林公园) is located in the southern part of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area. The several thousand peaks of the quartz mountains rise steeply from the ground. Streams flowing through the Jinbian (Golden Whip) and Grand Canyon Creek flank the cliffs. The tourism platform in Huangshi Village is shrouded in mist. Wild animals play freely in the primeval forests. The scenic area is like a fairy land of wild nature.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

In 1982, it was recognized as China's first national forest park (4,810 hectares). Zhangjiajie National Forest Park was designated as the much larger Wulingyuan National Park (397.5 km²) by the State Council on August 1, 1988. But in 1992, Wulingyuan National Park was officially recognized as a world heritage site. It was later approved by the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources as Zhangjiajie National Sandstone Forest Geopark (3,600 km²) in 2001. In 2004, Zhangjiajie Geopark was listed as a UNESCO World Geopark.

The National Forest Park has been given the name Zhangjiajie after the name of a small town located within its boundaries, and now a popular tourist attraction within the park. The three-character name can be interpreted as follows: Zhang is a common surname in China; Jia can be translated as the family; Jie can be translated as country of origin, giving the full translation of the Zhang family's homeland. It has been reported that at least one tour guide has said that the name may have been chosen to convey the idea or impression of opening the family door to welcome the world, but this is not the locally accepted and directly translated meaning of the name.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is one of China's best national parks (or national-level scenic areas). It contains the essence of the Zhangjiajie landscape: the towering sandstone pillars, sometimes in seas of clouds, rich wildlife, and calm streams.

The main areas of the forest park

The park can be divided into four areas: Gold Whip Stream in the south, closer to the city of Zhangjiajie; Yuanjiajie in the middle, accessed from Suoxiyu City to the east; Tianzi Mountain in the north, and Yangjiajie in the west, recently developed. Each has its own star scenic attractions. See below.

  • Yuanjiajie (Yuan family territory): the most popular and crowded area
  • Tianzi Mountain (Heaven Son Mountain) - famous for its clouds and mists
  • Yangjiajie (Yang Family Territory) - newly discovered and steeper
  • Gold Whip Stream (Jinbian Xi) - easy and relaxing hike
  • Yellow Stone Town (Huangshi Zhai): Similar to Yuanjiajie, but less spectacular
  • Old House Area (Laowuchang) - undeveloped, quiet and natural, more for photographers
  • Location: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is located in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, about a 40-minute drive north of central Zhangjiajie.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Map