Weather: December is freezing (almost the coldest month), and the mountains are covered with beautiful snow. The average temperature is about 0 °C (32 °F), and it will be quite cold when you go out at night. Average daily low and high temperatures are -5 °C (23 °F) and 7 °C (45 °F) in December. There is almost no precipitation. There is only about 2 mm of total snowfall each December, and precipitation falls on about a couple of days of the month. Some mountains are closed because of the cold weather. See the current weather and forecast for Jiuzhaigou>>
The road to nearby Huanglong Valley that is also a major national park and popular scenic area is often closed in December. It is a kilometer higher than Jiuzhaigou, and we suggest the weather conditions are too harsh to enjoy during the winter unless you are used to high altitude hikes up mountains in the snow. The conditions are harsh: low temperatures are -16 °C (3 °F) at night, and daily high temperatures are about 1 °C (34 °F) around noon.
Clothing: You must wear a thick coat or layers undergarments to stay warm. A thick hat and gloves will help. If you plan to walk a lot, wear a pair of snow glasses to protect your eyes from the solar reflection.
Altitude Sickness: You'll probably experience some altitude sickness during an extended stay in Jiuzhaigou because most of the park is between 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) and 3,000 meters (9,800 feet). The nearby airport is at an unusually high elevation of 3,500 meters. Take precautions if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or other medical problems.
Tourists who come in the winter can admire the stark winter scenery and the alpine solitude. The big crowds are gone by the middle of November, and you can enjoy the natural ice sculptures of the waterfalls and the ponds. Some of the ponds such as Wucai Pond in Rize Valley don't freeze in December.
Hike in Rize Valley: Rize Valley is an upper altitude valley above 2,300 meters. It is about 18 kilometers (11 miles) long, and it is known for its variety of scenery and colorful carbonate ponds. If you have a choice of seeing only Rize Valley or Zechawa Valley, we suggest that Rize is better.
Nuorilang Waterfall: You can hike down Rize Valley to Norilang Waterfall at the junction of Shuzheng Valley and Rize Valley. It is considered the most beautiful waterfall in Jiuzhaigou, and it is the widest waterfall (300 meters wide), and it is 80 feet high. It is regarded as a symbol of Jiuzhaigou. In winter, it is a spectacular frozen waterfall that hangs on the rocks.
Hike in Shuzheng Valley: It is the lowest valley of the three main valleys. It has many plank walkways to walk on. You can take these to see the frozen or partly frozen ponds. But be careful lest you slip!
The winter months are the low tourist months in Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong. Flights and hotel room rates are cheaper than usual. Enjoy an economical journey to Jiuzhaigou in December.
We offer a Jiuzhaigou combo package tour of Jiuzhaigou and major regional attractions such as a trip to Guilin for a Li River cruise or a relaxing Yangtze River tour. You can relax in the sun on a Yangtze cruise ship after a cold mountain hike in Jiuzhaigou.
4-Day Jiuzhaigou and Munigou Tour: Visit the Panda Breeding Center and the small lanes of Chengdu. Enter a fairyland, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jiuzhaigou with this 4-day essence tour. Relish an extravaganza of natural wonders at Jiuzhaigou, featuring multi-colored lakes, multi-level waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, grasslands, wildlife and Tibetan villages.