The Yellow River runs across Sanmenxia city, looking rather magnificent, especially when it is running under the dam. The main dam is a gravity dam made from concrete, it is 713.2 meters long and 106 meters high, the auxiliary dam is a ferroconcrete core dam, it is 144 meters long and 24 meters high.
There are two plank roads fixed on the cliff besides the north bank of Yellow River, they are at the lower reaches of the dam. One road is a little bit higher while the other is lower. From the relics we can see how plank roads were made: the ancient people excavated a narrow road at the river mouth and cut an array of square holes on the roadside, then build the path by filling the holes with timbers. The roads were used by boat trackers when they were warping boats. The square holes, with the number of 800 or 900, can still be seen clearly on the stone walls. The ancient people nailed timber piles into stone holes so that they could climb the stone wall. The nose of ox was usually tied with cord by trackers climbing the wall, so that the boat won't float away in face of storms.
Now we couldn't find out when the plank roads were built, but from the earliest stone inscription caved in 50 A.D, the year after the plank roads were reconstructed, we can see that the plank roads were built earlier. Along the road, you can also see the stone inscription caved in Wei, Sui, Tang, Song, Ming and Qing Dynasty.
It stands in the riptide under the Yellow River dam. Boatmen called it "Come Toward Me". In winter when the river level is lower, it would be 7 meters tall above the level. In the flood season, you can only see its top on the river, looking as if it were about to be swallowed by the flood. For thousands of years, it has been standing in the Yellow River in face of storms and thrilling tides, therefore it is considered as the symbol of the spirit of Chinese nation. Even Li Shimin, the famous emperor of Tang Dynasty, also wrote poems to praise it.
It has been served as the navigation mark in the valley since ancient times. When the boat is running toward the rock after passing the Three Gates, it would be pushed by backwater in front of the rock toward the safe route, thus avoiding from crushing onto the submerged reef.
What's more, there are many other scenic spots here, such like Zhanggong island, Dresser Stone, Dayu Park, Yingbin Pavilion, Yellow River-Sanmenxia Museum and Sino-Japanese Friendship Orchard. A lake would be formed at the low water season, if you visit there at autumn or winter, you can see many white swans.
Take the No.1 bus to General Merchandise Building, then transfer to the express bus to the Yellow River Dam.