Yellow River Stone Forest (Jingtai Huanghe Shilin) (景泰)黄河石林 and Yinmagou Grand Canyon 饮马沟大峡谷

Location: Gansu province, Baiyin City, Jingtai County 甘肃省 白银市 景泰县

How to get there: 90 minutes by train or bus from the province capital Lanzhou to Baiyin City, and then 2 hours by bus to Yellow River Stone Forest.

The bus leaves Baiyin 16:30 every day, and returns 07:30. A taxi is around 200 yuan.

Shuttle buses run between Lanzhou Zhongchuan International Airport 兰州中川国际机场 and Baiyin City, a 90 minutes trip. The buses leave every 60 minutes (later in the afternoon every 120 minutes).

Time needed in the scenic area: one day

Official web site (in Chinese): http://www.chinahhsl.cn/

Time of visit: April 2019

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Bus ticket Baiyin – Yellow  River Stone Forest
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Two photos taken from the bus window: the winding road down to the Yellow River.
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Two brochures presenting the scenic areas:

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The best hotel, close to the scenic area: Shilin Renjia 石林人家
See: Trip.com (in English) or Elong (in Chinese)
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The tourist center, very close to the hotel (the center was closed when we visited in April):
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As indicated on the signs below, Yinmagou Grand Canyon is 1.7 km away, and “Light Show Field” is 290 meters away. Yinmagou Grand Canyon is a part of Yellow River Stone Forest, and the entrance and ticket office is there. Most visitors enter and leave through this gate.P1100533-arrows-899p-.jpg

But there’s a much better way to enjoy Yellow River Stone Forest. Instead of going to the official entrance, follow the sign pointing to “Light Show Field”. Start your hike behind the white building on the photo above, it looks like this:
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After a short walk you arrive at the “Light Show Field”:
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We didn’t meet any other tourists during this part of the hike, we were completely alone for a couple of hours. The path continues:
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The path we have been following for the last hour leads up to the main scenic area, but short before we got there we took the wrong path. The general rule is to follow the biggest path, and when in doubt always take the one to the right. But at one point you must turn left, see the photo below:
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We followed the path to the right instead, it looks like this (see further down for photos from the correct path):
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It turned out to be a fortunate mistake, we ended up at the top of a mountain and got some very nice panorama views, see the 5 photos below:
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If we had followed the correct path, we would have missed all this. It wasn’t easy to find a good path down from the top, but finally we found our way to the main scenic area.

Later we went back to the point where we turned right instead of left, the correct path you are supposed to follow looks like this (it ends with a tunnel, on the other side of the tunnel is the main scenic area):
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And finally the other side of the tunnel

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The first thing you see after coming out of the tunnel is this: horses and small vehicles used by many visitors up to the highest top. It’s unnecessary because it’s just a short distance, walking (maybe 15-20 minutes) is preferable.
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Instead of walking up or down along the main road, take this path instead:
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Panoramas from the viewing platforms at the top:

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The vehicles and horses taking tourists up to the top start here:
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This place is the end of the Yinmagou Grand Canyon. Most visitors enter the area through the main gate, take a horse cart through the canyon, and end up here.

The canyon is very beautiful, and it’s only a couple of kilometers long, it’s much better to walk instead. Then you can stop where you want, and make detours to the left and right.
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Since we were hiking in the “wrong” direction, we entered the canyon from the end and walked towards the main entrance. We reached the canyon in the afternoon, and that was very lucky because it’s more crowded before noon. We met rather few tourists.
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One of several nice short detours from the main road:

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Another nice detour:

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Near the beginning of the canyon where all horse carts start:

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The entrance and ticket office:

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Outside the ticket office:

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It’s possible to take a sheepskin raft back instead of walking och riding:

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On the other side of the water is a helicopter center, fortunately it was still closed in April during our visit. It can obviously be very noisy here during summer.

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饮马沟大峡谷

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The 1.7 km long road back to the hotel

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One thought on “Yellow River Stone Forest (Jingtai Huanghe Shilin) (景泰)黄河石林 and Yinmagou Grand Canyon 饮马沟大峡谷

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