Yading Nature Reserve

Yading, a paradise for photographers and trekkers, is a national level nature reserve in Daocheng County, Ganzi Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, in the southwest of Sichuan Province. Unknown to the outside world until it was discovered by the famous American botanist and explorer Dr. Joseph Rock in 1928, it is a mountain sanctuary and major Tibetan pilgrimage site comprising three peaks sanctified by the 5th Dalai Lama. The south peak Jambeyang (or Jampelyang, Yangmaiyong) of 5,958m is the avatar of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. These three snow-capped peaks sit in a triangle formation with forested valleys, clear rivers, glacier-fed lakes and abundant wildlife between them. The east peak Chanadorje (or Xianuoduoji) of the same height represents Vajrapani , the Bodhisattva of Wrath. The north peak, Chenresig (or Chenrezig, Xiannairi) of 6,032m, the highest of the trio, symbolizes Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Mercy. The 3 peaks are the patron saint of the Tibetan. It's said that if a Tibetan pilgrimage to the shrine 3 times in life, he can be blessed with all he desires. Therefore, pilgrimage to this holy range is a long-cherished wish of each Tibetan.

The Yading Nature Reserve covers an area of 1,344 square kilometers and has an average elevation of well over 4,000 meters. Some other attractions in Yading include the Five-colored Lake, Milk Lake, Chongu Temple, and Luorong Pasture, etc. Yading is one of China's most awe-inspiring nature reserves, Tibetan's holy land. Every stunning vista here is celebrated with a gompa, prayer flags or Mani Stones. Take a trip to Yading you will take in relatively remote areas of Tibetan culture - small villages reminiscent of the wild west, rolling landscapes characterized by wheat and barley fields and Tibetan houses.

Scenery of the Pearl Lake in Yading Daocheng

Milk Lake

A glacier-fed lake at an elevation of 4600m. Glacier running off from Jampelyang gives the water its striking bright green color. The best view can be gained if you follow the main trail along the north shore of the lake and climb up to the col in the west.

The Beautiful Milk Lake in Daocheng Yading

Five-colored Lake

Lies beneath the cliff of Chenresig's stunning south face. The lake changes color amazingly from green, bright blue to deep ocean blue upon light conditions. The lake is at an elevation of 4,800. There is a hiking path from the Milk Lake to the 5-color Lake.

Chonggu Monastery

Chonggu Monastery sits at 4,000 meters. This small monastery is nearly 800 years old and sits at the base of Mt. Chenresig’s north face.

The Luorong Pasture in Autumn

Luorong Pasture (4,180m)

Located in an enchanting valley between the east face of Chenresig Peak and the west face of Chanadorje Peak, Jampelyang, "a truncated pyramid" claimed by Joseph Rock, rises almost 2,000 meters at the upper end of the valley. It is the first place in the Reserve where the 3 holy peaks can be viewed. A lengend has it that, long time ago, there was a boy who ardently loved go gaze. His name was Luorong. He always helped other people to gaze and never needed to pay. After many years, people forgot the pasture's name and used this boy's name to name this pasture, Luorong pasture. In 1928, Joseph Rock encamped here, when he visited Yading.

Yading Nature Reserve in May

How to Get Yading Nature Reserve

Yading Nature Reserve is not the easiest place to reach. With no airport and no railway, the only way to get there is by public bus or private vehicle. From Chengdu, there is a daily bus during the high season (June through early October) that goes to Yading. The distance is 865 kilometers and takes between 20 and 25 hours to complete. This is a long and difficult bus journey and is not recommended unless you are extremely short on time.

The most popular way to reach Yading is to go from Chengdu to Kangding (Dartsendo in Tibetan) and then work your way to Yading from Kangding. From Chengdu, there are multiple buses per day to Kangding, known in Tibetan as Dartsendo. The bus takes between 8 and 10 hours. Buses from Chengdu leave from the Xin Nan Men bus station or from in front of the Kangding Hotel in the Wu Hou Ci district. From Chengdu to Kangding is 330 kilometers.

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