Yulong Xue Shan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain)

Admission:

RMB 80 for park entry; additional fees for cable cars

Hours:

24 hours daily

How to get there:

Bus No. 7 from Lijiang drops off at all three chairlift terminals. The Dry Sea Meadow chairlift is RMB 160; the Cloud Fir Meadow lift is RMB 70; and the Yak Meadow lift sets you back RMB 60. Trail access exists from the northern Tiger Leaping Gorge side without a park entrance fee. You can also hike from Baisha via the village of Wenhai (Wénhǎi Cūn,文海村).

Phone:

(86 888) 516 1501

An impressive sight, especially with Black Dragon Pool in the foreground, Yulong Xue Shan (Yùlóngxuě Shān, 玉龙雪山), or "Jade Dragon Snow Mountain," is actually a 13-peak massif that forms one wall of Tiger Leaping Gorge and whose tallest peak, Shanzidou, rises 5,596 m (18,359 ft) above sea level. The range is home to one of the Northern Hemisphere's southernmost glaciers as well as a wide range of flora and fauna, much of it unique to the region. All of this combines to make it an increasingly popular tourist destination, so that in recent years swank resorts and hotels have begun to encroach on what was, until quite recently, a relatively untrammeled part of the world. It even has its very own music festival.

Hiking trails exist and are highly recommended, but the majority of visitors avail themselves of three chairlift lines that provide access to the retreating glacier (see it while it lasts, nature lover) and three designated scenic spots: Dry Sea Meadow (Gān Hǎizi, 甘海子), a large meadow which is now home to the world's highest golf course Spruce Meadow (Yunshan Ping) where you can get a great view of the glacier and go horseback riding at 4,506 m (14,783 ft) above sea level; and Yak Meadow (Máoniú Píng, 牦牛坪), which features breathtaking views and access to a number of trails. In each area, various manifestations of local minority culture, Chinese takes on ecological conscientiousness and excessive trinket shopping can be found.

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