Best Places to See Autumn Leaves in Ningxia

Plan your Ningxia Tour? Ningxia is a provincial region officially known as Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, one of the five minority autonomous regions in China. Hui people make up one third of the total population in Ningxia.

With Yinchuan as its capital city, Ningxia is situated on the northwest Loess highland with the Yellow River running though its dry land. Ningxia’s landscape features desert, loess, and mountainous areas. Once home to the Western Xia Dynasty, Ningxia still remains a mysterious place to many visitors.

Autumn, or October in particular is the best season to see its mesmerizing landscape blanketed by the colorful autumn leaves. If you are looking for the best places to see the fall foliage in Ningxia, we are going to reveal the top areas for the leaf peeping in Ningxia.

1. Autumn View at Shui Dong Gou Scenic Area ( Shuidonggou Valley)宁夏水洞沟景区秋色
Shui Dong Gou (Shui Dong Guo Valley)  is located about 40 km southeast of Yinchuan, the capital city of Ningxia. Shui Dong Gou is within Shui Dong Gou Village, Linhe Township, Lingwu City (宁夏灵武市临河镇水洞沟村).

Actually Shui Dong Gou Scenic Area is an archaeological site with an entrance fee RMB 130 ( a through ticket ).  The area is divided into two parts – a museum that houses the Palaeolithic-era relics that was first discovered in 1923; the second part is to visit the Ming-era Great Wall. To get to the Wall, you may need to walk 8 km,  or have a camel ride, or take a boat or golf cart for an easy travel.

The site has a 3-km long valley of reeds that dance with the wind. Walking along the wooden board pathways flanked by the yellow dancing reeds, people would feel relaxed and soul-recharging. The landscape features singing birds, yellow reeds, green water,  the ancient Great Wall, a wonderful autumn view!

Daily five buses going from Yinchuan Bus Station to Shui Dong Gou starting at 8:20am. If you miss the bus returning to Yinchuan,you may flag down any passing buses going to Yinchuan.

Reed Valley at Shui Dong Gou
Reed Valley at Shui Dong Gou

2.  Autumn Scene in the Western Xia Imperial Tombs 宁夏西夏皇陵深秋
The Western Xia Tombs are located at the foot of the Helan Mountain with an area of 50 square kilometers including nine imperial mausoleums and 250 tombs of imperial relatives and officials. They are dubbed the “Pyramids of China” by locals, about 40 km west of Yinchuan City.

Compared to the wooden and stone structures of the Ming and Qing imperial tombs, the Western Xia Tombs were made from earth and brick. Effected by the Buddhist architecture, the style of these tombs are the combine of Han culture, Buddhist culture and Dangxiang culture.

The main tombs have four corner towers, and an array of watchtowers, pavilions housing stone tablets, a sacrificial hall and a coffin platform, although most of these buildings are well beyond recognizable. Unfortunately, during the war against the ancient Mongolian army from 1220 to 1227, the imperiall tombs were damaged. What presents today is the piles of relics.

Walking along the wide path leading to the tombs area in autumn with the sun setting, you feel the mysterious history and the mesmerizing view.

Ticket Price: RMB60
How to get there: there are sightseeing buses in North Gate Bus Station, South Gate Bus Station and Nanguan Mosque to Western Xia Tomb.

Autumn Leaves at the Western Xia Imperial Tombs
Autumn Leaves at the Western Xia Imperial Tombs


3. Autumn Colors at Shahu Lake 宁夏沙湖秋景
Located on the Qianjin Farm, 56 kilometers northeast of Yinchuan, Shahu Lake is a little oasis set amid the sand dunes. Surrounding by 895 hectares of water surface, 1,837 hectares of marshes, 1,515 hectares of deserts and semi-drifting sand dunes, the Shahu Lake is a rare natural ecological phenomenon in desert-infested north China.

The clumpy reed marshes in Shahu Lake are home to tens of thousands of birds, such as white crane, black crane, swan and so on. Every spring, colorful bird eggs dote in the marshes, which is a real natural marvelous spectacle.

The park itself is a 22sq km collection of sand dunes, divided into zones offering all sorts of sand based activities. Shahu Lake offers such tourist services as sightseeing, cruise in the maze of reed marshes, boating, angling, and visits to an aquarium, a water-bound village, a Hui folklore park, a Western Xia villa and Mongolian yurts.

When autumn comes, the reeds turn yellow, dancing with the wind. People cruise on the lake with the autumn colors, a soul-recharging experience.

Ticket Price: RMB60
Opening Time: 08:00-18:00
Address: Xidatan, Pingluo County, Yinchuan

Autumn View at Shahu Lake
Autumn View at Shahu Lake

3. Autumn Leaves at Suyukou National Forest Park 苏峪口森林公园秋景
Suyukou National Forest Park is within the Helanshan National Reserve, about 50 km northwest of Yinchuan with an area of 9300 hectares, 70% vegetation coverage. It is home to more than 800 species of plants and animals, a famous eco-tourism site in Ningxia.

Surrounded by the massive mountains and covered by dense forests, the park features magnificent natural landscape – boundless forests of spruces, Chinese pine trees and needle junipers; precious bushes of wild cherries, lilac and Mongolian almond trees. When autumn comes, the park is a palette of colors.

Autumn Colors at Suyukou National Forest Park
Autumn Colors at Suyukou National Forest Park

4  Fall Foliage at Liupanshan Mountains ( Mount Liupan ) 六盘山秋景
Broadly speaking, Liupan Mountains extend southward from Ningxia across the eastern part of Gansu province and into western Shaanxi province. Narrowly speaking,  Mount Liupan refers to the second high peak in Guyuan, in the south of Ningxia. The mountain boasts a varied landscape of plants and animals. There are more than 150 kinds of plants of high economic value.

Mount Liupan stretches almost in an east-west direction with its mountain range at the altitude of over 2500 m. With ragged mountain paths (switchback roads), people have to experience 6 circling roads to reach the summit, hence the name of “Liupan”.
When autumn comes, Mount Liupan is a wonderland of autumn leaves.

Autumn Colors at LiupanMountains
Autumn Colors at Liupan Mountains


5 The Golden Banks of Yellow River ( Huang He)宁夏“黄河金岸”秋色
Autumn is a harvest time as well as a sea of colors. This is true when you walk or drive along the banks of Yellow River starting from Yinchuan to Wuling County in the south.

The long and massive banks of Yellow River are flanked with golden paddy rices, a stunning view to  please your eyes. This is the fruitful result of the great effort made by the local government to “Construct Yellow River Belt and Create the Golden Yellow River Banks”.

The Goden banks along Yellow River in Ningxia
The Goden banks along Yellow River in Ningxia

6. The Picturesque Wating Village 瓦亭村秋色如画
Wating Village is located in Dawan Township, Jingyuan County, Guyuan City in the south of Ningxia (宁夏固原市泾源县大湾乡瓦亭村). Wating Village is an ancient village which was the former site of the well-known pass – Xiaoguan Pass, one of the four famous passes in the ancient Guyuan. It was once an important pass defending against the northern nomads as well as an essential passage in the northern China.

Today there still exists an ancient city, resembling a  shape of Pipa ( a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument), hence the name of Pipa City”. Overlooking the ancient city from its northern mountain summit, the city looks like a Pipa quietly lying in the mountains.

Fall Foliage at Wating Village in Guyuan in the south of Ningxia
Fall Foliage at Wating Village in Guyuan in the south of Ningxia

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