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 Hailuogou Scenic Area

Hailuogou Scenic Area

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Aug. 24, 2023
Hailuogou Scenic AreaHailuogou Scenic Area

Hailuogou is one of the spectacular attractions in Gongga Mountain Scenic Area. As a national-level nature reserve, it is the only glacier and forest park in China.

At the same time, it is a state AAAA-class tourist area and a national geological park.

Hailuogou Scenic Area Intro

The scenic spot is located on the east slope of Gongga Shan Mountain, in southeast Ganzi Prefecture in Sichuan Province.

Tourists come to see hanging glaciers, ice caves, and experience cool conditions in the forest.

  • Chinese: 海螺沟 Hǎiluógōu /hi-lor-go/ 'sea conch ravine'
  • Elevation: Maximum altitude 6,750 meters (22,000 feet), lowest altitude 2,850 meters (9,300 feet)
  • Size: length 14.7 kilometers (9 miles) and an area of 16 square kilometers (6 square miles)
  • Popular activities: camping, vacation, and sightseeing
  • Suited to: Everyone who likes glacial fun and adventure, and who is not too adversely affected by altitude sickness
  • Open: 07:00 - 14:00 (Tickets sold till 13.50; last bus from Camp 3: 17:40)

The Highlights of Hailuogou You Should Not Miss

Gongga Mountain hikingGongga Mountain hiking

Hailuogou scenic spot has a rather unique climate that attracts many visitors. The weather and climate in Hailuogou is suitable for an outdoor vacation mainly in the summer months.

This scenic spot is ideal for photography, outdoor relaxation, resorts, mountain climbing, expeditions, and adventure.

Hailuogou Glacier Park

Hailuogou glacier, in Gongga Mountain, is one of very few glaciers that lie in the low latitudes which are visited throughout the year. In China, Hailuogou Glacier is the one closest to a big city (it's 282 kilometers (175 miles) from Chengdu), and is fairly easily accessible.

Today people appreciate and understand glaciers as one of the wonders of nature. Hailuogou glacier, also known as the First Glacier, is the longest among 71 glaciers on Gongga Mountain. Seen vertically it has several layers. The glacial amphitheater and the grand ice falls are 500-1,100 meters wide and 1,080 meters tall. The tallest and most spectacular glacial waterfall so far discovered in China is eight times the size of the famous Huangguoshu Waterfall on the Yellow River.

Hot Springs and Beautiful Forest

In the valley, there are a number of hot and cold mineral springs, a large area of virgin forests, special high-glacial peaks, and many rare species of animals. The front-end of the glacier is only 2,850 meters above sea level, stretching to the virgin forest up to 6 km, and creating a rare scene of the coexistence between the glacier and the forest. In addition, Hailuogou glacier has active movement that forms different crystal structures such as arches, ice caves, ice ladders, ice doors, glacial lakes, and ice peaks.

How to Get to Hailuogou Scenic Spot

Hailuogou glacierA view of Hailuogou glacier

Hailuogou Glacier and Forest Park is the main scenic spot in the Gongga Mountain Scenic Area, and is located in the glacial valley on the eastern slope of Gonggashan Mountain within Luding County.

The glacier covers a total area of 197 square kilometers and is 52 kilometers (32 miles) from Luding County Town and 72 km (45 miles) from Kangding County Town.

There are two alternatives tourists use to travel to Hailuogou.

Bus from Chengdu: There are two scheduled morning buses that depart from Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station. It takes about 7 hours from Chengdu to Hailuogou. Bus tickets cost approximately 116 yuan per person. Buses arrive in Moxi or Hailuogou in the afternoon.

First travel to Kangding. You could take a plane or bus from Chengdu to Kangding. Once in Kangding, you can rent a car to Hailuogou. It takes approximately 3 hours. There are also buses.

From the Hailuogou entrance... Take the cable car (costing approximately 150 yuan per person) to Camp 4, where you can see the peak of Mount Gongga. Inside this park, you can take the tourist site bus that travels 30 km (40 minutes drive) to Camp 3. You can walk or take a bus to the Glaciers. The bus costs 70 yuan per person and takes you to a cable car terminal.

Weather and When to Go

Daytime temperatures reach 30°C (86°F) in June/July and 9°C (48°F) in January to mid-February. Also, Hailuogou experiences an annual precipitation of 2,000 mm, which is low to moderate.

The best times to visit Hailuogou will all depend on what you want to experience. During spring and winter, the scenic spot still has many visitors.

In Spring, the road is surrounded by pink alpine azaleas. Tourists can stay in Gongga Village for one or two nights. The park is dotted with blossoming flowers.

In winter, the weather is rather cold but you can enjoy views of the glacier, ice ponds, caves, and arches.

We recommend visiting Hailuogou during the holidays when it is full of life.

Travel Essentials for Planning a Trip

  • Hailuogou Park Service Line: 0836-3266550
  • Opening Time: 07:00 - 14:00 (Tickets sold till 13.50; last bus from Camp 3: 17:40)
  • Entrance fee: 92 yuan
  • Tourist Bus: 70 yuan per ticket
  • Cable Car: 150 Yuan per ticket

Nearby Attractions

  • Bawang Lake
  • Gongga Temple - Moxi Gou

Tour Hailuogou with China Highlights

Hailuogou Scenic AreaHailuogou Scenic Area

Hailuogou is the glacier with the lowest elevation in eastern Asia. It has an ecological treasure of ancient forests. Also, hot, warm, and cold springs are an integral characteristic of this tourist spot. We are more than happy to offer a guide service and to tailor-make a tour for you.

A Suggested 3-Day Hailuogou Tour:

Day 1: Chengdu - Moxi. Travelers will view the special scenery of Qingyi Jiang River, Erlangshan Mountain, Dadu He River, and Moxi valley.
Day 2: A full day for Hailuogou touring. Travelers will enjoy the sunshine on Jinshan Mountain and the grand ice waterfall, stroll through the ancient forest, and adventure among glaciers. After these excursions, the hot spring spa will offer a refreshing rest.
Day 3: Moxi Town - Chengdu. Travelers will take in the charm of Moxi ancient town along the return trip.

See our suggested 9-day Western Sichuan tour plan for further inspiration.

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