The colorful striations of the Zhangye Danxia landform in Zhangye, China.
Photograph by Melinda Chan, Getty Images
The term “Danxia landform” describes not only the mountains of the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park near Zhangye, China, but also several other areas in China. Each was created over millions of years when the movement of tectonic plates and the weathering of sandstone created these magnificent vistas. The striation within the Danxia rocks results from the crumpling of limestone as the rocks compressed together over time. In 2010, UNESCO recognized six landforms as the China Danxia. The Zhangye Danxia landform is the biggest, covering more than 3,200 square feet. Several viewing platforms offer scenic glimpses of the surrounding rainbow rocks.
Getting There: Zhangye, in China’s Gansu Province, is the nearest city. A taxi can be arranged from Zhangye to the park. Day tours are also possible via Zhangye.