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Jade Dragon Snow Mountain



 JFRock(1884-1962)exclaimed before passing away that he prefers to die among the flowers in Jade Dragon Snow Mountain than be confined in the hospital in Hawaii. Since Rock set foot on Yunnan in 1922, the affair of a legendary adventurer and a legendary place begins. Nestling at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Yuhu Village was his base camp in China. Located in Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, a holy mountain of Naxi People, features magnificent snow mountains, extending grasslands, deep valleys and the mysterious Dongba calligraphy. San Duo, Naxi people’s protection God, is the incarnation body of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The ancient grand event “San Duo Festival” will be held annually in Lijiang to pay homage to this mountain.

Running in a south-north direction 35 km long and stretching from east to west 25km wide, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain comprises 13 peaks, among which Shanzidou (扇子陡) at an altitude of 5596m, is its highest. The vertical landscape finds the fullest expression here: from the bottom to summit are subtropical zone, temperate zone and boreal zone respectively. Undoubtedly, this diversified terrain contributes to the diversified flora and fauna species. Blessed with over 20 kinds of lichens, 50 kinds of Azaleas, 70 kinds of orchid, 60 kinds of primrose, 60 kinds of economy plants, 130 kinds of moss, 220 kinds of ferns and 3200 kinds of seed plants, it well lives up to the name as “the Botanic Garden in highland”. Top eight famous flowers of Dali, can be found here. In this area, plant hunters introduced numerous flora species into their own countries and beautified their gardens since then on. When summer alternates with spring, the eternal glacier of the  snow-capped mountain still glistens while the foot of it is already occupied by an ocean of flowers. Many precious herbs include Chinese caterpillar fungus, snow tea, snow lotus, survive and thrive here. Besides, due to the complete and massive glaciers, it is nicknamed as the “the Museum of Glacier”. The massive snow field here qualifies it as a top ski site: the longest and the warmest in the world, which is accessible by the highest altitude cable car in China. 



 Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Main Scenic Spots of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Ganhaizi Grassland(甘海子): this vast meadow sits in the east area of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and is 25km from Lijiang downtown. Measuring 4km long and 1.5km wide, Ganhaizi at an altitude of 2900m can offer the closest and most complete view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Standing here, you can see its 13 sparkling peaks reveal themselves from north to south include Shanzidou which resembles an unfolded fan piecing into the sky. With the help of telescope, you can see the green glacier above snow line. With altitude ascending from 2900m to 4500m, a profusion of flowers include orchid, peony, Saussure and trees such as snow pine and fir live exuberantly here. When spring comes, Tibetans, Li people and Naxi people will drive flocks of yak, sheep and cow into this place. This protection sites shelters eye-dazzling animals also, such as yunnan leopards and golden monkeys. Besides, you can see the Tibetan villages, temples, pray banners and mill houses, etc. Recreational activities include horse racing, car racing, gliding, sand-boarding here will make sure your trip here anything but boring.



Jade Dragon Snow Mountain: “the Botanic Garden in highland"

White River ( Baishui River白水河): Flanked by Ganhaizi Grassland and Yunshan Plain, White River zigzags its way along the deep valley covered with luxuriant forest. Due to its river bed constituted by white marble and granites, the water is crystal white, hence its name. Fed by the melted glacier, this river’s water is pure, refreshing and chilly even during summer. This magical site is the origination place of Naxi culture and the Holy Grail for Dongba Religion which stems from witchcraft and adorns the harmonious co-existence of man and nature. Blue Moon Valley not so far away lures hikers for its enchanting blue water.

Yunshan Plain (Spruce Plain云杉坪): It is a grassland at an altitude of 3000m amid the forest, measuring 0.5km2. Surround by the soaring snow mountains, Yunshan Plain boast giant trees and the forest is so thick that even sunshine will find it difficult to penetrate into it. The grassland resembles a green carpet interwoven with  fallen leaves and the rocks are covered with green moss, indicating its status as an undisturbed paradise during the past thousands of years. The love stories and legend bestow it with romantic and mysterious flavor. Naxi people believes lovers died here will enter the third kingdom of Yulong and gain eternal happiness.

Glaciers: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain boasts over 19 glaciers which cover an area of 11.61km2. Among them “No. one White Water” is the most notable one. Seen from afar, this glacier looks like a giant waterfall, whose emerald green tongue resembles a jade embedded into the grotesque rocks. Approaching these glaciers, you can hear the sound of the running water originated from the melted glacier. While the thundering noises produced by avalanche will reach your ear from Shanzidou Peak. For thousands of years, Shanzidou Peak has churned out new snow to nurture those glaciers. The conspicuous snow mountain will present you various sceneries within one day.

Yuhu Village(玉湖村): see the old residence of Rock. 



The Old Residence of Rock in Yuhu Village

Rock in Lijiang


Jade Dragon Snow Mountain took by Rock in 1920s

Sifang Street took by Rock in 1920s


The Ancient Kingdom of Na-Hhi Kingdom by Joseph.F.Rock 

 The outlaws in Naxi


How Naxi people cross the river. (Photographed by Rock)

Naxi people uses salt to preserve the pork in a special way so it will be still eatable within 20 years

Naxi warrior

Naxi women of noble family( photographed by Rock in 1930s)

Travel Tips

Open Hour: 9:30am -----16:00pm

Location: Yulong Naxi People (Nakhi) Autonomous County, Lijiang City, Yunnan province

Admission Fee

Package Fee: 225RMB ( mountain entry fee which is 105RMB for adult or 50RMB for student + admission fee of six scenic spots: Dongba Valley, Yuzhu Qingtian(Soaring Jade Peak), Dongba God Park, Jade Water Village, Jade Peak Temple and Dongba Kingdom. Among them Dongba valley, Jade Water Village and Jade Peak Temple are the essence parts). You can buy separate tickets of these 6 scenic spots also. Besides, if you only buy the entry fee, you need pay the Lijiang city maintenance fee which charges 80RMB.

Cable Car
The operation time of cable car: 9:30~16:00. To save time, you are advised to wait there to buy the tickets in 7:00am or 8:00am.
1 Glacier Park Cable car: The 3KM long cableway will cost around 150RMB and take you to the altitude of 4500m. Notice that during the peak season, you need to wait as long as 4 to 5 hours.
2 Yunshaping Cable Car: 55RMB.
3 Maoniuping Cable Car: 60RMB.

Weather: The annual temperature here is 11.3℃ and the average temperature of the coldest and hottest month is 3.0℃ and 17℃ respectively. June to October is the rainy season, while November to April is the dry season.

Best Travel Season: February to June as well as autumn and winter when it will be sunny and has broad vision. Try to avoid October, for the mountain will be enveloped by thick mist and you will have very limited vision. Time your visit in winter, so you can see the most magnificent snow mountains. Thanks to these snows, Lijiang is blessed with warm winter. Notice that in summer, there will be no snow since July along the cableway, but you can see the eternal glacier.

1 Long distance bus: Lijiang and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain are connected by long distance buses, the fee is 10RMB, but it will take long time to wait.
2 Rent cars: it takes about 60 to 100 RMB per day. The Charade car will take about 100 to 150RMB per day.


You can stay in Lijiang ancient city during night. There are many choices. For budget travelers, you can stay in Bai people’s traditional hotels, among which the cheapest will only charge 20 to 60RMB per day. If you want some place more serene, then go to Shuhe River Ancient Town.

Lijiang cuisine

Lijiang is famous for Naxi cuisine. The most popular dishes include San Die Shui(三叠水Naxi people's most famous dish to serve their honored guests, it comprises dessert, cold dish and hot dish.), Badawan (eight big bowls八大碗), Zhigaobu (至高部) and mushrooms dishes such as matsutak(松茸) and termitomyces(鸡枞). Do not miss the salmon and bacon ribs(腊排骨) here. Sifang Street, the famous cuisine street in Lijiang, shelters one dozen of small restaurants, and each offering MiXian (which resembles noodles in shape and is made of rice). Huadu Mall near the Qixing Street is you alterative choice, you can taste various snacks there and it won’t be closed till 2am.


The alley of Lijiang harbors handicraft shops. Zizai Clothes Shop(自在服饰), Dongba Pottery Shop(东巴陶斋), Juyiyuan Gallery(聚艺苑画廊), Shiqinmao Wood Sculpture shop(时青茂木刻) are good haunts. The herbs, dry mushrooms and handicrafts sold in hongyi Market(忠义市场) are relatively cheaper.

Snow Tea: it can only found in high altitude snow mountains, hence the name. Featuring fragrance flavor, this tea can cure swollen throats or mouth ulcers, help to lose weight and lower blood pressure.
Ji Dong Liang Fen 

Insiders’ Tips:

Rent Down clothe: 50RMB.

Advised Tour Period: One day

Advised Tour Route: Ganhaizi---Maoniuping---Baishui River---take cable car to Shanzidou( the peak) of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain---Dongba God Garden-J---ade Peak Temple----go to Baisha Village to see frescos----back to Lijiang

Dongba Calligraphy: Naxi characters still preserves the original look of hieroglyphs, thus is of high aesthetic beauty and high academic value. You can see them everywhere in Lijiang. Most of them are themed with auspicious meanings.

Entertainment: mountain climbing, photography, horse riding, skiing. You can take the cable car to the ski area at an altitude of 4506m.

You are not advised to ride horses to climb the mountain, or you will end up with seeing few scenic spots

When shop in Lijiang, remember bargain with the sellers. Cut the price below half or more

It will take 20 to 100RMB to take photos of yaks here.

If you have high pressure blood or heart disease, please rent the oxygen tank or buy one in Ganhaizi which will cost around 50RMB each.


<<<<<<Gallery of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain



Author: Sophia  Posted on Sep 21, 2013

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