Shennongjia Nature Reserve
Chinese name: 神农架 (Shen Nong Jia)
Location: Shennongjia Forestry District, 260 kilometers from Yichang, 280 kilometers from Shiyan, in the west border of Hubei Province.
Opening time: 08:00- 17:00
Best time to visit: May-October.
Recommended time for a visit: 2 days.
How to get there: take private vehicle or coaches from the city of Shiyan or Yichang.
- Shennong Ding: CNY140
- National Nature Reserve: CNY140
- Xiangxi Source Scenic Spot: CNY30
- Shengnong Altar Scenic Area: 60
- Hongping Gallery: CNY50
- Yanziya Mountain: CNY60
- Yanzi Cave: CNY30
- Dajiu Lake: CNY120;
- Shennong Stream Cruise: CNY120
- Taping Virgin Forest: CNY100
- Yema River drifting: CNY85
- Natural Bridge: CNY40
- Shengnongjia Ecomuseum: CNY30
- Shennongtan bonfire evening: CNY120
- Zhaojun Village: CNY60
Brief introduction to Shennongjia- a land with peerless scenery, ancient legends and mysterious folkway
Shengnongjia, or rather Shengnongjia Forestry District is located at the northwest of Hubei Province. This primeval and vast land of forests offers some of the most beautiful and mysterious sceneries and the best reserved unrecorded era’s scenery. Shennongjia of Yichang is possibly the only place in middle latitude region of the world with virgin temperate forests and boasts the ridge of central China. Its main peak Shennong rises 3106 meters above sea level. Shennongjia means "Shennong's ladder". The name Shennong comes from the legend of Yan Emperor (a legendary emperor and ancestor of Chinese nation in remote antiquity with Shennong being his family name), who visited the mountains in search of herbs to cure illness of local residents. Shengnongjia is so famous for at least two reasons. The first is its abundance of rare plants and wild animals. The second is the emergence of "wild men", actually an ape-like creature akin to American "Bigfoot".
Shennongjia was approved as a nature reserve for state-level forest and wildlife in 1986, and included into Man and Biosphere Reserve Network of UNESCO in1990. It is hailed as "the gene pool of species" and the sanctuary for endangered plants and animals. It is also a paradise for travelers and hikers. In Shennongjia, there are 3,400 species of vascular plants and 493 species of beasts, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians. And there are 26 species of rare plants and 73 species of rare animals including golden monkeys are first-grade under state protection.
What to see in Shennongjia Nature Reserve?
Shennonjia Scenic Area is located in the south of Shennongjia Forestry District. it is composed of four parts: Shennongding Scenic Spot in the southwest (Shennongding Peak, Dajiu Lake, etc), Yantian Scenic Spot in northwest (including Yanziya Mountian, Yanzi Cave, Swallow Valley, Heaven Gate Valley, Hongping Gallary, etc); Xiangxi Yuan Scenic Spot in southeast and Jade Spring River scenic spot in the northwest (including Shengnongjia Ecomuseum, Wushan Lake, etc).
The highlights and popular attractions in Shengnongjia include Shengnong Ding (Shennong Peak), Shengnongjia Skifield, Hongping Valley, Dajiu Lake, Xiangxi River, Yanzi Cave, etc. Most of them are distributed in Muyu Town.
The Four Scenic Areas in Shengnongjia Scenic Area
Shengnong Ding Scenic Area (神农顶景区)
Shengnong Ding is the core of Shennongjia Nature Reserve. Four peaks of more than 3000 meters high combine to the ridge of central China and the confluence of Yangtze River- the Han River. Xiaguping scenic area is inhabited by Tujia Ethnic Group featuring unique ethnic customs and culture. Most parts of Dajiu Lake scenic area are wetlands of Yagao Mountain. In this scenic spot, tourists are able to see the highest peak in central China- the Shennongding Peak, scenery of clouds shrouding stones forests in Fengjingya, grassland scenery of Yagao Mountain, visit the paradise of golden monkeys- Jinhou Mountain and Shennong Stream. Further, visitors can track down the trace of wild men through Banbi Rock and Southern Heaven Gate, and traverse the primal forest cannon, even ski.
Yantian Scenic Area (燕天景区)
Yantian scenic spot sets a good example for developing eco-tourism. The three highlights in this are: Tianmenya, Yanziya and Hongping Gallery. Tianmenya is located 12 km from Hongping Town. It is 2,328m above sea level. Two peaks are connected by a bridge. Walking on the bridge brings to a fairyland of mists and clouds. Yanziya is formed when a bomb was used to blow the mountains apart and make the 209 National Road. It is famous for thousands of Himalayan Swiftlet living in a cave located 2300 meters above sea level. The ancient rhinoceros cave is discovered by archeologists in 1995 and was named as "the historic site of ancient human of Old Stone Age in Shennongjia". The Hongping Valley is also called "Shennong’s ladder". Scenery here is especially picturesque with lush foliages, steep cliffs, lofty peaks, pristine waters.
Xiangxi Source Scenic Area (香溪源景区)
Located in the southeast of Shengnongjia Nature Reserve, Xiangxiyuan (literally Fragrant Stream Source) Scenic Area is composed of three spots: Xiangxi Source, Shennong Altar, and Laojun Mountain. Xiangxiyuan is the source of Xiangxi River. The water is said has nourished Wang Zhaojun (one of the Four Beauties of ancient China, lived in Han Dynasty, 202B.C.-220A.D.) and Qu Yuan (339-278B.C., the first great Chinese patriotic poet); it contains 14 kinds of minerals and legend has that Yan Emperor once cleaned medical plants there. Shengnong Altar was built in commemoration of Yan Emperor with a statue of Shengnong standing 21 meters high. Laojun Mountain is a heavily forested region. Legend goes that Laojun (Lao Zi, around 571-471B.C., the founder of Taoism) once practiced alchemy there, hence the name. Tourist can watch bonfire evening, listen to chime music, and hike along the Xiangxi River.
Yuanquan River Scenic Area (玉泉河景区)
Yuanquan River Scenic Area is located at the northeast of Shennongjia. It is a comprehensive tourist area surrounding the Yuquan River (Jade Spring River), themed at expedition and challenge, and features high mountain lakes, streams and valleys. Being subdivided into three sightseeing areas, say, Songlang Mountain, Yuquan River and Zhangshu Lawn, it boasts over 30 scenic spots such as Shennongjia Ecomuseum, Liudao Gorge, Wushan Lake, Zhanggong Ancestral Hall. As the only regional natural museum in central China, the museum introduces the mysterious Shennongjia "wild men", the ingenious root carving art, the ancient civilization of Shennongjia with fossils; it collects the only Rhinoceros sinensis fossil in the world. Liudao Gorge is a main river runs through Shennongjia Nature Reserve which flows easterly from Shennong Ding to Fenghuang Strip, Jinhou Mountan and Laojun Mountain, and the Wushan Lake, stands more than 600 meters high, offers fantastic lake landscape.