Muni Valley 牟尼沟
China’s National Parks or scenic areas are often known for their large crowds. Even when the scenery may be worth battling the lines, it can be overwhelming at times. Muni Valley is one of those places that is not characterized by large numbers of people. It is a smaller, less visited park that is in the same region as Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong National Parks. Under the administration of Huanglong National Park in Songpan County, Sichuan, Muni Valley is very well managed and has nice facilities for the visitors.
Muni Valley is the name of a long valley that sits to the south side of Mount Zhaga. This beautiful valley and the Tibetan farming communities make for a great visit. Within the valley there are two scenic areas, Er Dao Hai and Zhaga Waterfall. Each scenic area requires a ticket to enter or you can purchase a combo ticket that will give you entrance into both places.
Our Muni Valley experiences include guide services, transportation, and entrance to one or both of the scenic areas. Our guides share insights into the the environmental and cultural elements of the region to educate the traveler and allow for a more immersive experience.
Er Dao Hai Scenic Area is a nice 5km loop that contains forests, lakes, and a thermal spring at the highest point in the park. Many locals in Songpan advertise it as a hot spring but we would not go so far as to call the water hot. It is a thermal spring so the water remains the same temperature year round, but it is only about 20 degrees Celsius. It is not uncommon to find Songpan locals enjoying a picnic in the park or soaking their feet in the thermal spring at the top. There are other geological features in this park such as the “bull’s nose” which is very near the thermal springs. This feature is caused by water and mineral deposits that are forced from underground.
Further down the main valley is Zhaga Waterfall, near Sanliancun Village. This is the real gem of Muni Valley. It is the largest travertine waterfall in China. It is 93.2 meters (306 ft) high and about 35 meters wide at an elevation of 3,270 meters (10,728 feet). While it is still a boarded walkway area, it is worth the visit. There is a staircase that goes from the viewing platform at the bottom of the falls all the way to the top, across the water, and down the opposite side. The minerals from the spring-fed river that creates the falls causes it to continually build upon itself. In addition, the colors of the mineral deposits have a golden hue, especially when the sun is shining.
Inside the paid area to Zhaga Waterfall is a Tibetan Monastery which belongs to the Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The scenic grounds of this monastery can be taken in with a 30-45 minute visit. During our guided Muni Valley Experience, our guides give an introduction to local Tibetan customs in their religious practices at monasteries.
Contact us online or visit our Songpan Outdoor Center during the Summer season (June – September) to arrange a trip to visit Muni Valley. In addition to our guided Muni Valley Experiences we also offer cycling tours of Muni Valley.
Seasonal Note: Zhaga Waterfall is spring fed and flows with a steady rate all year long, even in the winter. The staircase to the upper part of the waterfall is closed in the winter due to ice buildup on the staircase. Er Dao Hai is dependent upon rainfall so we suggest not entering this region until mid-July because of very low water levels in the lakes. Water levels are best from late July – October.