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Jagged peaks erupt from a blindingly white wilderness. As ethereal as the name suggests, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is one for the adventure lovers. Primarily known for being a ski resort, but also just a scenic spot renowned for its hiking opportunities, this small mountain range has got it all going on.
“But why Jade Dragon?”, we hear you ask. Well, its 13 peaks were likened to the ridges of a dragon’s back and as it’s always snow-laden and often mist-shrouded, the name seemed to fit. Not the most ferocious dragon that you’ve ever seen, but it definitely makes for a pretty majestic one.
It’s highest peak, Shanzidou Ding, stands at 5,600 meters and its white top can be spotted year-round from the Old Town of nearby Lijiang. And it really is snow-capped all year round. From November to April, this mountain is much of a winter wonderland, but come summer, although the peaks themselves still proudly sport their white hair-do, at the mountain’s foot freshwater rivers run into natural lakes that have formed over the years from ton upon ton of melted snow. Hello, natural world beauty.
And it doesn’t stop there. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is home to the southernmost glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere – bet you’d never even thought to add that one to your bucket-list had you? Well, get this glacier park on there now so that you can tick it off ASAP.
The mountain itself isn’t the only sight to behold here. Clamber your way up its snow-sprinkled slopes – with the help of a cable car, obvs – and you’ll be rewarded with unfolding views of nearby Lijiang and its surrounding countryside topography. It really is quite breathtaking.
Glaciers? Tick. Dragon-like peaks? Tick. Snowy surrounds? Tick. Flora and fauna? Double tick. Yep, you’ll get your fair share of rare wildlife and plant viewing on this mountain too. In fact, 25% of all the plant species indigenous to China can be found in this one spot.
So, keep those eyes peeled if you’re a flower fanatic, because this mountain will have you getting itchy, well, green fingers? Whilst if it’s more fauna than flora that you’re interested in, you could spot anything from a red panda to a silver pheasant if you’re lucky.
But more than just being a thing of natural beauty, this mountain is sacred as far as the local Naxi people are concerned – a quality of this attraction that certainly won’t be lost on you.
Around 40 minutes from Lijiang Downtown.
Your best insulators – the snow is in the name of this one, so you probably don’t really need this warning, but it’s going to get cold here.
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