Yuanjiajie Scenic Area

Yuanjiajie, meaning "the territory of the Yuan Family", is located in the north of Shadao trench. It is a world-class karst landscape and is well known for the sandstone pillars. As the most popular scenic area in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Yuanjiajie boasts the best natural scenery.
Yuanjiajie Scenic Area has original ecological environment with flourishing plants, fresh and clean air. Coming here, visitors can discover the extraordinary beauty of the nature while experiencing the inner peace throughout the journey.

  1. Opening Hours
  2. Best Places to Visit
  3. Popular Itineraries
  4. Traffic: Getting here and Getting Around
  5. Traffic: Best Time to Visit
  6. Travel Tips and Reminders

the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area
the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area

Open Hours

The opening hours of Yuanjiajie is from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Sunday.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park ticket has already included the ticket of Yuanjiajie, therefore, there is no need for visitor to purchase additional ticket to enter Yuanjiajie. Entrance ticket of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is valid for four consecutive days.

Zhangjiajie Bailong Elevator
Bailong Sky Elevator is the main transportation method to go up and down mountains in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area.

Sightseeing Guide

Every day, countless visitors all over the world are attracted to come to Yuanjiajie Scenic Area. Even though it takes more efforts to climb up the mountain, visitors keep going and do not quit until they reach the top. What motivates them is the marvelous sceneries waiting ahead.

After coming on the mountain and walk 800 meters eastward, visitors can reach a viewing deck named as the Enchanting Stage, also known as Mihun Stage. The Enchanting Stage is located on the edge of a cliff. Standing here, visitors can see innumerous stone pillars rooting in deep valleys and rising above the sea of clouds. These stone pillars have really amazing shapes as if the god has split the mountain with the axe and then cut the pillar one by one with the knife to make them into the current nice shapes. Some pillars look like the sharp sword drawn out of the sheath, penetrating straightly to the sky. Visitors can feel the power only when they come close to see them. Every time after a light rain, the tulle like clouds rise from the mountains and make these stone pillars look like a mirage from time to time. Visitors can hardly tell if the beautiful sceneries are in a dream or not. Since visitors can be easily enchanted by the beauty of the scenery when they are in such a place, the stage is therefore named as "the Enchanting Stage".

The Enchanting Stage in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area
The Enchanting Stage in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area is actually a viewing platform

Yuanjiajie is where Hallelujah Mountain in Avatar shot the scene. Hallelujah Mountain was originally called the South Pillar of Heaven (also known as the Pillar between Heaven and Earth). It rises 150 meters up from the valley beneath to stand high up to the sky. In addition, it has a special shape with the upper and lower to be thin while the waist to be thick. Because of such shape, the pillar looks as if it's a mountain floating in the air when half of its bottom part is covered by the mist. That is why Hollywood director James Cameron fell in love with this place at first sight. Later on, Cameron has turned this place into a floating mountain within the planet Pandora in Avatar, making this mountain in Yuanjiajie a world renowned must see.

The Avatar Mountain in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area
The Avatar Mountain

The First Natural Bridge under Heaven is another must-see in Yuanjiajie.
it is a rarely seen "bridge" made purely in nature. To be more specific, the stone platform is actually 2 meters wide, spanning 20 meters between the two peaks, with a vertical height of almost 357 meters, creating another wonder in Zhangjiajie. Standing on the bridge, with clouds flying over and densely packed sandstone peaks jumping into the eyes constantly, visitors can't help to hold their breath by the stunning sceneries.

The opposite side of the bridge is a mountain full of lovers' lock. On the day with nice weather, visitor can hang the lock on a red rope, and leave it there on the mountain to take part in traditional recreation activity of leaving a lock in memory of love. It's an especially popular place for those traveling couples.

There are lots of places to go in Yuanjiajie

The gentle hiking trail on the top of Yuanjiajie mountain is about 1,500 meters long with only a small number of steps. Generally speaking, the tour of Yuanjiajie lasts 2 to 3 hours. Photographers may spend a little bit more there but 3 to 4 hours are usually enough.

The First Natural Bridge Under Heaven
The First Natural Bridge Under Heaven

Popular Itineraries

The most popular way is to take Bailong Elevator to go uphill and then travel on the top of the mountain in the following order: the Back Garden ➩ the Enchanting Stage ➩ the Hallelujah Mountain ➩ the First Natural Bridge under Heaven. You can either take the free sightseeing shuttle bus or having the mountaintop Yuanjiajie tour on foot.
For those who would like to hike downhill, please find the entrance of the hiking trail at Luancuan Slope. Through this hiking trail, you can get to a scenic spot called as "Walk One Thousand Miles Just to Be With You" of the Gold Whip Brook at the mountain base in less than an hour.
Another way is to take the free sightseeing shuttle bus from Tianzi Mountain to go to Yuanjiajie by way of Yangjiajie. For this itinerary, visitors can see the sights in such order: The First Natural Bridge Under Heaven ➩ the Hallelujah Mountain or the South Pillar of Heaven ➩ the Enchanting Stage ➩ Parking Lot of the Back Garden

the scenery in Yuanjiajie
The scenery in Yuanjiajie

Internal and External Traffic

There are two ways to go to Yuanjiajie Scenic Area from the foot of the mountain.

First option is to walk to the " Walk One Thousand Miles Just to Be With You" exit which is locates in the middle of the Golden Whip Brook, then go uphill from the Luancuan slope and spend an extra 2 hours to get to the Back Garden in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area. Disadvantage for this itinerary is that visitors leave attractions on the second half journey of Golden Whip Brook unvisited.

Another option is to take the Bailong Elevator or so called Bailong Sky Lift near Water Around Four Gates to go uphill directly. Bailong Lift can take you to the mountaintop in less than 2 minutes. Upon arrival, traveler can then take the environmental friendly free sightseeing shuttle bus and spend a few minutes to go to the Parking Lot of Yuanjiajie, which is close to the Enchanting Stage. Fare for one-way ticket of Bailong Elevator is CNY 72 Yuan per person. The rapidly changing scenery outside of Bailong Elevator is very impressive to many people.
Shortcoming for this option is that visitors have to wait in line for up to one hour to be able to use the Bailong Elevator in peak season.

Having completed the Yuanjiajie tour, visitors can again take the free sightseeing shuttle bus for about an hour to continue the visit to Tianzi Mountain or to leave Zhangjiajie National Forest Park by the entrance.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Shuttle Bus
A shuttle bus running inside Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is taking tourists to the scenic area.

Best Time to Visit

Yuanjiajie even has different scenes in different seasons with different weather but it is best seen in sunny days. However, the weather in the mountainous areas can change very quickly. During the rainy or foggy days, the visibility is not good. The low visibility is very likely to affect your travel experience.
Yuanjiajie enjoys convenient transportation and the roads are all well built. Both elderly and the children can find their joy here. It is a place suitable for all kinds of people to visit.

Travel Tips and Reminders

  • The beauty of Yuanjiajie is unparallel, and tourists are overwhelming especially on holidays. Visitors are advised to travel at different time to avoid tourism congestions.
  • During the hot summer, there is always very little breeze in Yuanjiajie. Travelers are recommended to bring water and necessary equipment to prevent themselves from heat stroke. There is occasional icing on the trails in the winter, so visitors may need to pay attention while walking for anti-skidding purpose.
  • There are KFCs and many snack shops, barbecue shops, egg pancake shops, stinky tofu shops and etc on the top of Yuanjiajie Mountain. The taste of food is really good even though it is expensive.
  • Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is very large with many roads that intersect. However, as some of the signs are not very user-friendly and the means of transportations can vary, it is a very difficult task for visitors to travel without a guide. Thus, you are advised to join a group tour or hire a guide to travel efficiently.
  • There are many monkeys near the First Natural Bridge under Heaven. Although the monkeys are cute, they become aggressive sometimes and visitors are advised to keep proper distance from them to avoid any unnecessary injuries.
  • Photography enthusiasts who would like to take picture with backlight, please come in the morning. Otherwise, you are advised to come in the afternoon.

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