Since its completion in 1974, the station has served as the first large-scale hydropower station in China and is noted as a “pearl in Huanghe River”. Stretching from Liujiaxia dam in the east to Binglingsi Gorge in the west, the Liujiaxia reservoir lies in a southwest-northeast direction. It borders Dong Xiang (East Township) and Linxia County to the south and Yongjing County to the north. The reservoir’s shoreline is 55 km long and is about 6 km at its widest point. The reservoir’s water area covers 130 square kilometers, its water storage is more than 5.7 billion cubic meters and it has a normal water level of 1735 meters.
To the east of Xiangyang Dock in the reservoir stretches a white sand bank. On both sides of the bank are whirling willows, known as the “ten-mile willow woods”.
To tour Liujiaxia, travelers can take a boat upstream while enjoying the transparent water spraying against the boat. Once the gorge comes into sight, travelers have a view of the entire high cliffs that jut out into the river, a view on par with the scenery at Guilin and the Yangtze River Gorge. Once out of the gorge, travelers are confronted by a mountain lake whose waters reflect the blue sky and white clouds, creating a special view.
Tourist boats travel from the power station and a local tourism company is available for visitors, allowing them to directly reach the southwest side of the reservoir to view Binglingsi caves. This trip generally takes about two to three hours, but only an hour-and-a-half on speedboats.
The landscape here is unique, as the Yellow River flows to the west (rivers in China normally flow to the east). “See how the Yellow River’s water moves out of heaven and flows eastward to the sea,” is a famous poem written by Li Bai that described the scene of the river. Then, nature takes a big turn here and brings the river westward. In Liujiaxia, you can see the power station’s dam lying in this valley and, if viewed from the first single arch bridge on the Yellow River, the entirety of this significant dam comes into sight. The main body of the dam, which stands on the cliff guarding the land, stretches for 100 meters and has a height of 147 meters. When the flooding season between October and September arrives, the power station opens the gates of the dam. The flooding water of the Yellow River is like a jailed lion escaping from its cage, raging and roaring and hurling fearlessly. Another spectacular scene is at Yaohe Kou, a stream outlet upstream where the water carrying a large volume of sediment flows into the reservoir from Yaohe River. It then turns clear where it meets the transparent Yellow River water.
Ticket: A boat ticket is 20 yuan, and 80 yuan for a speedboat. A tour guide is available to provide information on the dam.