Jiaozi Snow Mountain[dead link] (轿子雪山, Jiàozǐ Xuěshān) is a national nature reserve that straddles the border of Dongchuan district and Luquan county in Kunming Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China.
The mountain peak, at an elevation of 4330m, is the highest point in the Eastern Yungui Plateau and the highest point of the Gongwang Mountains.
Flora and fauna
The mountain is known for frozen waterfalls in winter and forests of flowering rhododendrons and azaleas April-June. Sheep are given free reign in the park.
Despite being called a snow mountain, snow is only present from October to April.
The park's brochure mentions daily buses between here and Kunming, but "daily" is not to be taken literally. These leave Kunming North Railway Station (Railway Museum entrance gate) at 07:30, and return from the park visitor centre at 16:00, but they should be booked a day in advance (phone 0871-62725990).
There is a bus every 60-90 minutes from the base of the mountain at Zhuanlong (转龙) town, which has bus service from Kunming's north bus station. The town of Majie (马街) may also be also a useful transfer point, with shuttle vans to the mountain, and vans and buses to Kunming, Dongchuan, and other towns in the area.
For those driving, there is a direct 2-lane highway from Kunming, named after the mountain. This tourist route is about 150km, and far from straight.
Fees and permits
Park admission costs 54 RMB, plus 30 RMB for the park shuttle bus, and 3 RMB for insurance which you can opt out of. The ropeway is 35 RMB per direction, and at the park entrance this is normally sold as a return journey. One-way tickets are available near each end of the ropeway. If you visit the park on consecutive days, you do not need to pay the admission charge again, but you do need to pay for transportation. This requires proving that you entered the park the previous day, e.g. by showing your ticket or being the only obvious foreigner.
Visitors are only allowed into a limited part of the park, and on boardwalks.
From the 1 parking lot at 3140m, you take the park shuttle bus (08:30-17:30) to the beginning of the trail network at 3500m. From there, there is a small 2 ropeway (08:30-18:00) that takes you up to 3850m, or you can hike on the extensive network of boardwalks. A very fast hiker who is acclimatized to the altitude could cover the entire boardwalk network in a day if they catch the first park shuttle bus in the morning and the last one in the evening and if trail conditions are good, but nearly all visitors will need to either spend multiple days on the mountain or prioritize the sights they wish to visit.
See and do
The mountain is famous for its waterfalls, azaleas and rhododendrons, several small lakes, and its peaks. The trail network offers access to a good sampling of these. The ancient rhododendrons grow from low on the mountain to within metres of the summit, allowing the flowers time to migrate slowly up the mountain in spring.
- 3 Cascade Cliff (叠水岩). Just below the bus terminus.
- 4 Flown Over Waterfall (天来瀑布, Heavenly Waterfall).
- 5 Flying Over Waterfall (飞来瀑布).
- 6 Lotus Waterfall (莲花瀑布).
- 7 Heavenly Lake (天池). At 4150m.
- 8 Mubang Lake (木邦海). At 4050m.
- 9 Jingguai Pond (精怪塘, Spirit Pond). At 3950m.
Buy, eat, and drink
A few small huts sell snacks, the visitor centre at the parking lot has a restaurant, and some street food is available there as well. Other than that, and on the higher parts of the mountain, you're on your own.
There is a 1 hotel next to the parking lot. , and 2 cottages. near the base of the ropeway. These start around 400 RMB. About 3 2km before the parking lot. , there is a small village of new guest houses under construction, and there are also several older ones along the road in this area, generally 50-150 RMB.
This mountain is over 4,000 m high. That means that the temperatures at the top may be much lower than at the base, the weather may change abruptly, and altitude sickness may be a problem. Prepare for any weather. Be aware of the signs of altitude sickness, and be prepared to descend if necessary.