The Rainbow Mountains in China look as though they’ve come straight from a painting. How can such colourful rocks possibly be real? Read on to find out exactly where you can find this play of colours. 

When you take a look at these striped rolling hills in Zhangye, you might think that nature was in the party mood when this landscape was created. There are plenty of rich-coloured rock formations in the world but up until now, I hadn’t seen any quite so breathtaking. This scene is so picturesque.

The Rainbow Mountains in China

Zhangye Danxia Geopark is situated in the north-west of the Chinese region Gānsù, about 40 kilometres away from Zhangye city. There are lots of rocky landscapes in China referred to as “Danxia” because this translated means something along the lines of “rosy clouds”. However, Zhangye Danxia is undoubtedly the most colourful of them all!


What looks like the pretty work of Photoshop has actually existed for a long time. During the time of the Oligocene, around 24 million years ago, different sandstones and minerals lay on top of one another underneath the surface. However, when two of the earth’s plates collided, these mountains formed on this previously flat piece of land.


There are well-developed hiking trails which lead you through the Geopark to various different viewpoints. The best time to see the mountains in all their colourful beauty is between June and September. When it rains, the colours are always especially vibrant the following day. This is due to the natural dust on the rocks being removed by the water. Try to visit the mountains in the morning or at sunset. When the sun dips behind the landscape, the warm light causes the rocks to shine even more vividly.


Sometimes nature is still the most beautiful artist of them all. :)