Hailuogou Glaciers Park Travel Guide, Sichuan
Located on the eastern side of Gonggar Mountain in Luding, 319km southwest of Chengdu and 105km south of Kangding, Hailuogou (Conch Gully) National Glacier Forest Park is the biggest glacier park in China, famous for its low altitude modern glaciers, which are rarely found either in low-latitude places or at low altitude. Its lowest point is only 2,850 meters above sea level.
The park boasts many geographic attractions, including glaciers, grand glacier cascade, virgin forests, wild animals and hot springs, etc.
The park is commercialized and heavily traveled, very popular with Chinese tourists. It makes a great starting point for treks in the Mt. Gonggar region.
Moxi is the gateway to the park. 50km southwest of Luding, Moxi is a one street town nestled peacefully in the mountains. The most distinctive local building is the Catholic church that dates back to 1920 and is easy to spot with its cross and blue and yellow bell tower.
Glaciers / Treks
Best time to go
Autumn. July to August is the rainy season.
How long? --2~3 days, unless you plant to traverse the Mt. Gonggar.
Getting there and away
Direct buses to Hailuogou(Moxi) available at Chengdu Xinnanmen Station at 9:30am Y107~Y114, 5~6hrs.
From Kangding, catch the early bus at around 6am (8 hrs). Buses are also available from Luding to Moxi(4hrs) .
You can also take a Chengdu-Luding bus either at Xinnanmen(10am/12noon,Y91/Y101) or Chadianzi Station to Luding first, where you can visit the well-known Luding Bridge over the Dadu River. Then take a bus for Hailuogou.
After visiting the Conch Gully, tourists can go to Kangding, Mugecuo Lake, Paoma Mountain or back to Chengdu by selecting different buses.
There is usually only one direct bus per day back to Chengdu from Hailuogou, departing in early morning. If you miss the direct bus, you can get on a private vehicle running from Moxi Township to Gan'gudi (Y20.-), then change to a bus for Chengdu. There are scores of buses to Chengdu from Gan'gudi.
Moxi is a tiny town where you can walk around. Inside the Hailuogou Park, tourist buses available to ferry you to different spots.
There are many hotels and guesthouses in Moxi town, prices ranging Y20~100, with a choice of restaurants along the main road.
Bingchuan Hotel-opposite the entrance to the church,Y20/dorm, one of the most charming place to stay
Xinfei Hotel - uphill from the church, offers good dbl. with bathroom
Hailuo Hotel-just up the road from Xinfei Hotel, newly renovated with good condition. The rooftop terrace provides a stunning view of the glacier in clear weather.
Lodging is also available at No. 1, 2, and 3 campsites in the park, but dirty and overpriced.
- The Gonggar Mountain (Mt. Minya Konka)
Hialuogou is an ideal location offering a spectacular view of the mountain, especially the sunglow on the range.
- The Glaciers
About 30km inside the park,claimed to be the lowest glacier in Asia,covering an area of 31sqkm of the Conch Gully. Classified as Modern Glacier, they came into being 16 million years ago.
- Grand Glacier Cascade
With a drop of 1,080m, it is made up of numerous ice cubes. The 6km glacier tongue penetrates into the virgin forest, forming a rare natural landscape with the blend of glacier and forest.
- The Snow basin
The source of the glacier, when the frozen water accumulates to a certain amount and the surplus ice and snow need to find a way out, there will be an avalanche.
For safety, the snow basin can only be viewed from afar. Moreover, the glacier fall may collapse at any time, too. During spring and summer, the dynamic seasons for glaciers, over 1,000 avalanches may happen in a day. In one such collapse, the falling ice can reach 1 million cbm. As electricity is produced during the hit and friction, blue sparks are sent out together with earth-shaking roaring.
Since the vista is several kilometers from the Grand Glacier Cascade, tourists do not need to worry about harms from even the biggest avalanche.
- Hot Springs
Hidden either in virgin forests or under the cover of snow and ice. The most noted ones are at No.1 and No. 2 campsites.
The famous Gonggar Miraculous Fount is located at 1,600 meters above sea level, where travelers don’t need to worry about altitude sickness. Still, most of the visitors favor hot springs in No.2 Campsite because they are rustic, with more natural taste.
- The Virgin Forests
Hailuogou was originally the valley of an ice-melted river on the eastern side of the Gonggar Mountain. With an elevation of 6,000m, it has 7 climate zones and its vegetation varies at different altitude.
Virgin forests can be seen not far from the No.2 Campsite. Covering an area of 70sqkm, the forests boast 4,800 species of plant.
- The Ice Lake
Going up from the hot springs, tourists can find an ice lake, called Shuihaizi, or Water Sea. It looks like a gem imbedded in a wood of Chinese yew (Taxus chinensis), katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), Kangding magnolia and big-leafed azalea. In sunny days, the snow mountain, green trees and blue sky all have their reflections in the lake, creating a dreamland.
The legendary place is also home to over 400 kinds of wild animals, including 28 endangered species under state protection. While roaming through the area, tourists may luckily encounter animals such as blue sheep, macaques, or even pandas and sunbirds.
To Hailuogou: Y70/low season, Y100/high season;
tourist bus: Y70/person, which is the only means of transportation allowed in the park;
cable car (roundtrip): Y160/person.
To hot springs:
No. 2 Campsite: Y50/person;
Gonggar Miraculous Fount: Y65/person (free of charge for tourists staying in the Gonggar Miraculous Fount Hotel).
Distance between campsites
Moxi (1,600m) to No. 1 : 15 km;
No.1 (1,940m) to No. 2 : 8 km;
No. 2 (2,660m) to No. 3: 7.5 km;
No. 3 (2,980m) to cableway: 4 km;
No. 4 : 3400m