Qilian Mountains ​- one of the famous mountain ranges in China

​​​​​​​​​​Last Update: 17th October 2020

Located in the south of Hexi Corridor, the Qilian Mountains are 800 kilometers long from east to west in Qinghai and 100-200 kilometers wide from north to south. It is composed of several mountain ranges stretching from northwest to southeast and several great valleys. Qilian Mountains is situated in the deep virgin forest. You will see rare plants and wild animals there, such as spruce, cypresses, Saussurea involucrate, etc.

Qilian MountainsFast Facts

  • Chinese Name: Qilianshan (祁连山)
  • Length (East to West): approx.800 x kilometers
  • Things to do there: Photography, Climbing, Nature
  • Who visits: Photographers, Adventure Enthusiasts, Climbing Lovers
  • Time required: 1 – 2 x days

What to expect at the Qilian Mountains

At Qilian Mountains, most of the mountains are between 4,000 and 5,000 meters above sea level. The highest peak of the Shule Nanshan Mountain is 5808 meters above sea level. The peaks above 4,000 meters above sea level are covered with snow all year round. Valleys between the mountains are also between 3000 and 3500 meters above sea level.

The places the altitude of which is above 4,000 meters are called the snow line. There are almost no living things at the snow line. However, along the snow line of the Qilian Mountains, you will find mushroom-shaped snowy mountain meadow plants, as well as precious herb – alpine Saussurea involucrate. Qilian Mountains is home to Caragana Jubata, Rhodiola tangutica, Saussurea stella, Demoiselle Crane, Pelecanus crispus, Great White Pelican, Common Crane, Mute Swan and the like.

On the south slope, there are different biospheres from the foot to the top, such as grasslands, alpine prairies, alpine meadows and alpine subglacial sparse vegetation belt. Similar biospheres exist on other slopes of the mountains as well.

Along Qilian Mountains, you will find several main sightseeing points, including Tianzhu Three Gorges National Forest Park in the middle of the mountains, Qilian Binggou River Provincial Forest Park, Shandan Yanzhishan Provincial Forest Park and Sunan Mati Temple Provincial Forest Park. Tianzhu Three Gorges is home to Tibet, Han, Hui and Mongolia nationalities. It features strong religious characters, strange stones, Buddhism caves, tall mountains and deep valleys. Mati Temple Secnic Area in the Sunan Mati Temple Provincial Forest Park is situated in the middle of Hexi Corridor. It is located 65 kilometers from Zhangye. At the scenic area, you will experience unique religious culture, grotto art, special folk customs and natural beauty.

Best time to visit the Qilian Mountains

The best months to visit Qilian Mountains are from June to August.

How to get to the Qilian Mountains

As the Qilian Mountains stretch for 200 kilometers from east to west, you can visit several mountains in Zhangye. First, you can get to Zhangye by air or by train from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing and Xi’an. It is suggested that you rent a vehicle to Qilian Mountains from Zhangye.

Additional Qilian Mountains Travel Advice

  • Opening times for different sections of Qilian Mountains are different. If you are planning to explore the mountains outside of the forest parks, they are open for 24 hours. Please check out the opening times for other forest parks beforehand if you are interested to visit them.
  • If you are not visiting the forest parks, the other mountains are free of charge.
  • As at 17th October 2020, entrance pricing to Shandan Yanzhishan Provincial Forest Park is 45 CNY per person; the entrance pricing to Mati Temple Secnic Area is 54 CNY per person. For the latest pricing information, please contact us via email (info@wendyweitours.com)
  • As Qilian Mountains lies in the high altitude area, please take enough warm clothes.
  • Please wear comfortable hiking shoes.

Interested in visiting the Qilian Mountains on a Tour?

Wendy Wei Tours offers a variety of different packaged tours as well as custom tours including the Qilian Mountains, among other attractions and destinations. To find out more, please visit our Tours page or Contact Us directly to find out more.