The Stone Forest National Park is located 80kilometers southeast of Kunming City, Yunnan Province. It covers 350 square kilometers and consists of Major Stone Forest, Minor Stone Forest, Naigu Stone Forest, Changhu Lake, Grand Waterfall, etc. it has been a State 5A-level Scenic Attraction, National Geo Park, World Geo Park, National Key Scenic Area as well as a World Natural Heritage Site accepted by UNESCO in 2007. The Stone Forest is famous for the Karst landform and the ethnic culture of the Sani People (a branch of the Yi ethnic minority).
Stone Forest area has experienced a vicissitude from sea to land, from lowland to plateau as a result of earth movement in the past 300 million years. The initial carbonate rock which formed in ocean was wizardly shaped into “stone forest” landform. During its evolution the Stone Forest were once covered respectively by fiery volcanic lava and lake water, in this sense the formation of the Stone Forest is truly a geologic legend in the world.
The two must-visit places are Major Stone Forest and Minor Stone Forest.
Major Stone Forest called Dashilin in Chinese is composed of erecting peaks in big density. Appearing slate-gray, the highest of them is found to be as tall as 40 meters. Main sights inside include “the Lotus Peak”, “the Sword-peak Pond”, “One Hundred of Tons Hung by a Hair”, “Too Narrow for Only One Person to Pass”, “the Elephant Sitting on the Platform” and “the Phoenix Combing its Wings” etc. The highlight of the Major Stone Forest is “the Highlight of the Stone Forest” near the inscription by Mr. Lun Yun (1884-1962) who was the former governor of Yunnan Province in the 1930s. The “View Pavilion” constructed amid the peaks is the ideal place for visitors to overlook the grotesque rocks.
Minor Stone Forest is called Xiaoshilin in Chinese. Compared to the Major Stone Forest, the Minor Stone Forest features sparse, elegant and graceful. Giant and overwhelming stone screens divide the Minor Stone Forest into several parts. Impressively, the natural stone locally called “Ah Shi Ma” is said to be the avatar of the Sani girl in the legend of “Ah Shi Ma”. Sani is a branch of the Yi ethnic minority; and “Ah Shi Ma” is the nickname for the young Sani ladies.
Walking in the Stone Forest, visitors marvel at the natural stone masterpieces and are bewitched by the intricate formations. The magnificent, strange and steep landscape creates countless labyrinthine vistas. We can thing about the stones to be animals, plants, and even human figures.
Every year, the Sani people will gather in the Stone Forest to celebrate “Torch Festival”. All the visitors are welcome to enjoy the festival with local people.