Dongchuan Red Lands, a valley of colors yet to be discovered

China is a box of surprises from where stunning images from great landscapes are slowly being revealed. The Dongchuan Red Lands are an example of those places that still you won't find on the tourist maps.

The few travellers who arrive here have to deal with almost non-existent infrastructure, in an area where virtually there are no hotels and public transport is scarce. However, some local travel agencies are already offering tours to this incredible visual discovery. It could soon become one of the main attractions of the already interesting province of Yunnan:

Dongchuan Red Lands
Legend tells... I mean, websites as useful as China Trekking tells that the first Chinese photographers who explored these colorful hills, back in the nineties, tried to keep its location secret after taking some award-winning snaps. Image by JiKang Lee


Dongchuan
Obviously the location of the valley of the red soil was revealed, and its popularity keeps on growing.
Image by JiKang Lee


Dongchuan Red Land
To find something, having a name to start with is always helpful. But at first it seems that no one knew how to call the thing. Image by Winters Zhang


Landscapes China
Some points of interest in the region or the villages are so small that lack names. Even the locals themselves call them by the number on the mile marker along the road: 109, 110... Image by Winters Zhang


Red Land
Finally there is some consensus to use the descriptive title of Dongchuan Red Land, which is the name of the nearest city, the district capital. Image by JiKang Lee


Lexiaguo
Still, this area has also been known as Lexiaguo or Luoxia Gou Valley, which is actually the name of one of the most beautiful places on the route. Image by JiKang Lee


Luoxiagou
Over the maroon tones characteristic of a field rich in minerals like iron, other colors are added along the seasons to the various crops divided in parcels. Image by JiKang Lee


Valley Colors
The best time to visit is during the spring and fall.
Image by JiKang Lee


Damakan
Damakan is one of these small settlements. The cameras are waiting at a lookout point, several hundred feet above, the awakening the day when the chimneys of the houses begin to smoke. Image by Winters Zhang


Valley Colours
Since the best images are captured at first light of dawn or dusk, it's best to stay overnight in one of the few guesthouses in the area. Image by Winters Zhang


Wumeng Valley
The valley is more than 100 miles north of the provincial capital, Kunming, and about 20 miles south of Dongchuan.
Image by James Ho


Terraces China
You can find a map showing the approximate route through the Dongchuan Red Land at the end of the post.
Image by James Ho


Incredible Places
Image by James Ho


Valley of colors
The magnificent colors of this valley compete in splendor with the impossible spectacle of the other colorful Chinese mountains, Zhangye Danxia, that you can find following this link. Image by James Ho



View Dongchuan Red Land in a larger map

 

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