The Alpine Lakes And Waterfalls of Jiuzhaigou

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The Jiuzhaigou Valley, located at the foot of the snow-capped Minshan Mountain, in the north of Sichuan province, China, is a place of exceptional beauty. A nature reserve and a national park, Jiuzhaigou is known for its spectacular jagged alpine mountains, coniferous forests, blue, green and turquoise-colored lakes, waterfalls, limestone terraces, caves and other beautiful features.

The magic of Jiuzhaigou lies in the water —the alpine lakes and waterfalls. There are more than one hundred lakes in this valley with water so clear that the bottom is often visible even at high depths. The lakes also vary in color according to their depths, residues, and surroundings, as well as by season and time of the day. The local Tibetan people call them "Haizi" in Chinese, which means "son of the sea".

The most famous of the lakes of Jiuzhaigou is the Five Flower Lake, also known as Wuhua Lake. It’s a shallow multi-colored lake whose bottom is covered with ancient fallen tree trunks.

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The Five Flower Lake. Photo credit: GreenArcher04/Flickr

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The Five Flower Lake. Photo credit: GreenArcher04/Flickr

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The Five Flower Lake. Photo credit: chensiyuan/Wikimedia

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The Five Flower Lake. Photo credit: B_cool/Flickr

Panda Lake is so called because Giant Pandas used to come to this lake to drink, though there have been no sightings for many years. The lake empties into the multi-stream, multi-level Panda Waterfalls, dropping 78 meters in three steps.

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Panda Lake. Photo credit: Chris Nener/Flickr

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Panda Lake. Photo credit: Uwe Aranas/Wikimedia

Mirror Lake is a quiet lake casting beautiful reflections of the surroundings when the water is calm.

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Mirror Lake. Photo credit: C Kheong Lim/Flickr

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Mirror Lake. Photo credit: Culantor Lin/Wikimedia

Pearl Shoal is a wide, gently sloping area of active calcareous tufa deposition covered in a thin sheet of flowing water. It empties into the famous Pearl Waterfalls.

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Pearl Shoal. Photo credit: Gear$Head/Wikimedia

Five-Color Pond is one of the smallest lakes in Jiuzhaigou. Despite its very modest dimensions and depth, it has a richly colored underwater landscape with some of the brightest and clearest waters in the area.

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Five-Color Pond. Photo credit: Jean-Marie Hullot/Flickr

Nuorilang Falls are reportedly the widest highland waterfall in China, and the widest travertine-topped waterfall in the world. The falls are 320 meters wide.

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Nuorilang Falls. Photo credit: Xavi/Flickr

Reed Lake is covered with reed marsh with a clear turquoise brook, known as the "Jade Ribbon", zigzaging through it. The contrast is particularly striking in the autumn when the reeds turn golden yellow.

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Reed Lake. Photo credit: Peter Liu/Flickr

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Reed Lake. Photo credit: Aneo/Flickr

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Reed Lake. Photo credit: hangean luo/Flickr

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