Picture-Perfect Landscapes: China’s Danxia Mountains

Curators’ Corner

Picture-Perfect Landscapes: China’s Danxia Mountains


Sometimes nature rolls out a magic carpet for even the casual photographer. And for serious photographers, these picture-perfect moments and places are ultra-inspiring and truly exhilarating.

The mountains of the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in China are simply unbelievable.

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Over the course of 24 million years, sandstone and other minerals formed vivid, layered composites. These steep cliffs were buckled by tectonic plates and then weathered into unique formations by thousands of years of wind and rain, ultimately becoming what you see here.

The mountains are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site called China Danxia, which consists of six areas in southwest China where danxia landforms have carved spectacular cliffs, valleys, pillars and waterfalls.  China Danxia hosts more than 400 rare and threatened subtropical species. Travelers from around the world flock to see the area’s stunning natural beauty as winding roads and even boardwalks take them through the striped mountains.

Although these photos seem like they have to be at least somewhat manipulated for intensified hues, it’s safe to say that China Danxia is a bucket list destination for any photographer.


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