China’s Top National Parks
travel guide

China’s Top National Parks

By Candice SongUpdated May. 28, 2021

Do you love national parks? You probably know the national parks in your own country, like Yellowstone in the U.S., the Lake District in the U.K., Uluru in Australia, etc. China has national parks too, 225 in total! They cover both scenic and historic preservation areas. Here we concentrate on China's top scenic national parks, featuring five chosen for outstanding scenery and reputation.

Content Preview

1. Wulingyuan National Park — Zhangjiajie's Precipitous Pillars

Wulingyuan National Park

Wulingyuan is usually the only one of China's national parks to make it to a top-in-the-world list. It features some awesome towering geology, alongside rich wildlife. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park makes up most of it. Its inspiration for the floating rocks in Avatar has added to its fame.

Want a non-touristy route5-Day Zhangjiajie Hiking and Biking Tour for Any Level is a good choice.

Bungee jumping at Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge is available. Contact us to arrange an adventure tailored for you.

Contact us for updated travel information

2. Jiuzhaigou National Park — Multicolored Mountain Lakes

Jiuzhaigou National Park

Jiuzhaigou ("Nine-Village Valley") National Park is known for its colorful lakes in high-altitude valleys, with waterfalls, snowy peaks, forested slopes, and Tibetan villages. It's a classic national park.

Recommended tours:

3. Guilin Li River National Park — Karst Landscapes

Guilin Li River National Park

More of a scenic area, with not much of a national park feel, the Li River National Park has no entrance and fee to get in. It covers the 80-km (50-mile) stretch of river between Guilin and Yangshuo, bounded by classic sheer karst hills, which have inspired many a poem and ink painting.

Maybe challenge yourself to an SUP (stand-up paddleboard, i.e. a mini raft) on the Yulong River, take a bamboo raft, have a cycling tour into the countryside or take an exciting drive with an all-terrain vehicle.

Recommended Guilin tours:

4. Lijiang Yulong Xueshan National Park — with Tiger Leaping Gorge

Lijiang Yulong Xueshan National Park

Yulong Xueshan ("Jade Dragon Snow Mountain" 5,596m or 18,360 ft) National Park includes popular hiking route Tiger Leaping Gorge on its west side.

You can take a cable car up Jade Dragon Snow Mountain for a fantastic view of the glaciated peak or skip the cable car, hike through the bushes and wade across a little stream to enjoy the exclusive views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain that only hikers can.

Recommended tours:

Contact us for updated travel information

5. Huangshan National Park — the Legendary Yellow Mountains

Huangshan National Park

Surrounded in myths of ancient immortals, the Yellow Mountains have some bizarrely charming geomorphology. Compact and complex, this National Park has it all in a small area. 

You can walk or bike among ancient villagesstay in a typical Hui-style inn, and see how artists turn this small area into a rural paradise on canvas. Canola flowers in spring can be the icing on a cake.

Recommended itineraries:

Contact us for updated travel information

Other Famous Chinese National Parks

Yunnan Shilin National Park — Yunnan's Stone Forest

Stone Forest Stone Forest

The Stone Forest is another classic national park, but not quite as outstanding and full of interesting features as the featured five above. There are various gatherings of pointy stone projections, caves, and lakes. The Yi and Suni peoples live in this sizable 350 sq km park.

Hong Kong's "National Parks"

Hong Kong has some amazing preserved coastline and hiking opportunities in its 30 country parks, but the closest thing Hong Kong has to a national park is Hong Kong Global Geopark (once Hong Kong National Geopark), which captures HK's most visually stunning geology.

Taiwan's National Parks

Kenting National Park Kenting National Park

Taroko and Kenting, the cream of Taiwan's National parks, should definitely be given a mention. Taroko Gorge National Park, the most popular one, has a distinctly ethic feel, with hiking and gorge trekking opportunities following ancient tribal paths. Adventurous pursuits abound.

Kenting National Park is Taiwan's oldest and largest, featuring delightful weather, plentiful facilities, ocean views, coral reefs, tropical forests rich in plant and bird species, old temples, prehistoric sites, and caves.

Desert Parks

If you venture northwest on the Silk Road in search of desert scenery China's desert national parks capture some of the best. Kumtag Desert National Park, Xinjiang, has vast and beautiful shifting sands and is growing!

Mingshashan-Yueyaquan National Park Mingshashan-Yueyaquan National Park

It is bettered however by Mingshashan-Yueyaquan National Park, which has more facilities and activities and is more accessible being only 5 km (3 mi) outside Dunhuang. Mingshashan ("Singing-Sands Mountain") has pristine dunes with camel rides, and Yueyaquan ("Crescent Spring") is a mini oasis.

Recommended tours:

Check out more Silk Road Tours.

Tibetan National Parks

Tibet has four national parks, but could have many more with its abundance of pristine wilderness. The most famous and visitable scenic one is Nyainqêntanglha Shan National Park, around Lake Nam, the highest saline lake in the world, and Tibet's largest lake. The crystal blue waters surrounded by towering snowy peaks are a haven for wildlife, and once a place of pilgrimage.

Tibet doesn’t accept independent travelers. Traveling with a travel agency is required. Contact us to explore the main highlights from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp. Consider a top Tibet trekking trip, Everest Base Camp trek, if you’d love a more outdoorsy experience.

Recommended tours:

Famous Mountain National Parks

Other top national parks in China protect some of China's most famous mountains, like Mt. Emei, Mt. Hua, Mt. Tai, Mt. Putuo, and the Danxia Mountains in Guangdong.

Contact us for updated travel information

Touring China's National Parks

If you are interested in exploring any one of the nationa parks mentioned above, please see our popular tours below for inspiration:

Or you can just tell us your interests and requirements, and we will help you tailor-make a China tour to discover China in your way.

 Contact us for updated travel information

We are here to help you...
start planning your tailor-made China tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip
China Highlights tailor-makes China tours to help travelers discover China their way. We're a passionate team of one hundred avid travelers who love to share our knowledge of China with those looking for a more authentic travel experience, more ...
Featured on
info template feature on