Mugecuo, is in Ganzi (prefecture) of China. It is the name of a national park, and of the largest of five lakes within the park. The entrance lies 21 km from Kangding, and is especially worthwhile to visit during the autumn months.
This park contains jaw-dropping scenery and is not more than an hour from Kangding. If you go in the winter, you may very well be the only visitor, allowing you to enjoy the part with the local Chinese and Tibetan workers.
The environment includes turbulent rivers, forested mountain slopes, bare and rocky valleys, multicoloured lakes, grasslands, mountains, and hot springs.
Flora and fauna
The area supports forest, azaleas and alpine environments.
Get a taxi, not a chartered minibus, to the park gate. Chartered transport is not allowed in the park, so a whole day charter would be a waste.
Fees and permits
An entrance ticket costs ¥100, while transport around the area by bus costs ¥120 (mandatory due to the geography and distances).
A park bus will take you up a mountain road to a plateau where the main lake is, with one or two brief stops for pictures. Stops at each scenic sight are more common on the way down, with a footpath adjacent to the road passing through the spots. If you want to walk down and get tired after a while, or if you want to hang around at a spot, just wait by a scenic spot or by the side of the road, and the hourly (or so) bus will stop on its way down.
Qisehai (seven colour lake), Mugecuo lake, a number of smaller lakes in the vicinity.
Colourful rock carvings, hillsides covered in flags, stone houses and prayer flags with a backdrop of snow mountains (perfect for photographs, along the horse trail).
Dip your feet in the medicine pool (actually a hot spring) for a small fee, or have an egg boiled.
From Mugecuo, take a horse trek or walk in the same direction as the horse trails to gain a view of snow covered mountains, and to bypass some grazing yaks.
Walk down from Mugecuo lake by path to Qisehai lake, through forests and along a river.
Have your picture taken in traditional Tibetan getup, on the sandy shore of Mugecuo lake.
Trinket shops are yet to be established.
The park is still in development, so make certain to bring snacks.
No facilities are available, but you could cycle from Kangding (a scenic though uphill ride) and stop over at a halfway point to get an early start the next day. This would be SanDaoQiao, a stone village around 10 km from Kangding, and you could stay with a local family. Once inside the park, you could leave your bike at the gate.
It would be advisable to get the number of the Kangding taxi driver who drops you at the gate (apparently chartered minibuses are not allowed in, so it is useless to charter one for the day), and call them when you are ready to leave.