The Grand and the Thundering falls are two of the most breathtaking rapids in China. Even ancient explorer Xu Xiake, imperial China’s Indiana Jones, was captivated, Erik Nilsson reports.
As a country laced with rivers and with a topography crumpled into mountains by three tectonic plates collisions, China is awash with waterfalls.
That said Huangguoshu (Yellow Fruit Tree) National Waterfall Park outside Guizhou’s provincial capital Guiyang attracts the greatest deluge of travelers, as perhaps the largest chain of cascades in the country and on the continent.
And while Huangguoshu’s 18 cataracts stand out in China, two rise above the rest – the Grand and the Thundering falls.
Rocks at the top of the Grand Waterfall’s crest slice the river into a 101-meter-wide span of water ribbons that flutter 78 meters into the Rhinoceros Pond.
This torrent discharges an aerosol that beads up on visitors, even on the river’s other side, and often creates a rainbow or two, especially from 9 to 11 am.
About 700 cubic meters of water whoosh over the precipice per second. Visitors can hike behind the cascade through the 134-meter Water Curtain Cave.
The tunnel’s walls are pocked with six “windows” through which the gushing water can be seen behind a frame of ferns and vines.
Visitors leave the Grand Waterfall via the Grand Escalator, which pulls them up the mountainside to the Miniscape Garden.
The garden’s hundreds of bonsais, rock formations and pools create an idyllic quaintness that contrasts with the ferocity of the Grand Waterfall’s deluge.