Around Kunming: the Earth Forest

By Robert, an expat and long-time resident in Kunming. The article is based on Robert’s one-day tour from Kunming to Yuanmou on 21 November. 

This photo was taken from the top of a hill

When I and my wife came back to Kunming I got some interesting information about the Earth Forest and want more visitors to Kunming to know there are more nice places to visit around Kunming. 

The Earth Forest is a typical topographic formation of earth accumulating over millions of years. The natural cracks in the earth caused by movement of the crust over time become deeper and wider and due to erosion and natural forces eventually result in pillars of earth which from a distance resemble a forest hence the name "earth forest". 

Walking amid the earth pillars is very impressive

This Earth Forest covers a total area of over 50 square kilometers and comprises three parts: Banguo, Xinhua and Hutiaotan and is remarkable for the variety of exotic structures and pillars of which the highest is nearly 40 meters or as high as a 10-storey building.

The Earth Forest has evolved over at least 1.5 million years, and survived frequent earth quakes. When the substances on the upper surface are eroded, the cementation agents containing calcium and iron are exposed and these prevent the structure from being further eroded while the floor of the "forest" is deepened by rains and winds to eventually form high peaks.

Like the stones (Stone Forest) in Kunming, the earth pillars in Yuanmou have been given various names by the locals. Some popular ones are Sword, Dali Three Pagodas, Dunhuang Grottoes, Pretty Girls, Labyrinth, Golden Pagodas and Writing Brushes. Yuanmou Earth Forest deserves to be called "another natural miracle in Yunnan". 

Our travel route: Kunming-Fumin-Wuding-Yuanmou by car. We got started early in the morning and back home the same day. Bus ride available from Kunming Northwest Bus Station.

Add: Yuanmou County (200km from Kunming) of Chuxiong Prefecture, Yunnan Province.