Jianhu Lake Wetland in Jianchuan County, Dali

Jianhu Lake Wetland

Located in Jianchuan County of Dali, the northwest of Yunnan, Jianhu Lake(剑湖) is one of the most important plateau wetlands in Yunnan. The Jianhu Wetland Nature Reserve is composed of Jianhu Lake, Yuhua Reservoir, the surrounding watershed and forest. It streches to 12.3km long from north to south  and 6.2km wide with an elevation of 2186m. It’s a typical plat写文章eau wetland, and one of the most representative types  in the Northwest Yunnan Plateau. With the crystal water and none pollution, it is also called as the Minor of Plateau.

How to get to Jianhu Lake Wetland?

You can take a shuttle bus from Dali Coach Station to the Jianchuan Coach Station, then you need to take a chartered local mini-bus to the Jianhu Lake.


Local people who are living around the Jianhu Lake would visit the sea on every June 15th on lunar calendar, as if the villagers are celebrating a carnival. Villagers visit the sea around the Jianhu Lake where the villagers host the guests. It seems like that the hosts in the village are the hosts but they are the guests when they leave,.

Young people would sing and dance along the way, and the elderly would talk about ancient sayings. Guests are served with the tea and candy through the village. It’s very helpful for villagers not only to have more contact with each other and to enhance friendship, but also to cultivate temperament and entertain themselves. And this can go on constantly.


Jianhu Lake is a rift lake formed by the accumulation of water when the neotectonic movement was in the process of rising and falling. Surrounded by undulating hills and mountain ridge basin, there are Jianhu Lake, West Lake and a number of ponds to be remaining.The main stream of Lancang River called Yangbi River flows through the Black Huijiang Lake.The river called Jinlong River, is an important source of water for the lake.Except the Jinlong River, Yongfeng River, Lion River and other dozens of import water flows over there. With the  catchment area of 918 km and the average water depth of 2.7 m, the total capacity has reached 206000 m.

Due to the destruction of vegetation around the lake, which results in soil erosion, a large number of sediments were washed into the lake, so the area of Jianhu lake decreased and shallowed year by year. The area of Jianhu Lake decreased from 9.36 km to 6.23 km at the beginning of the founding period. In the meanwhile, the water storage capacity decreased by 62.9% from 45.32 million m to 16.8 million m.

Biological Resources


Jianchuan County sits in the Hengduan Mountains,which summer mainly belongs to  the subtropical weather system. With the pressure of the west wind, the warm and humid air of the region from the Bay of Benga flows to control the abundant and concentrated water.Winter mainly belongs to  westerly weather system. The lower part of the dry area has strong wind, less rainfall and sufficient sunshine, so that the circulation of situation constitutes a clear climatic characteristics of Jianchuan County.

Animal Resources

There are 15 species of fish living in the Jianhu Lake. Excluding alien species, the indigenous fish only consisits of 8 species, such as  Crucian Carp(鲫鱼), Loach(泥鳅), and Yellow Snakehead Fish(黄鳢). There are only eight kinds of indigenous fishes, but 4 of them are  unique fishes including the plateau loach(泥鳅), perch carp(鲈鲤), Yunnan split belly fish(裂腹鱼) and Qilu carp(杞麓鲤).

There are 94 species of birds belonging to 62 genera and 32 families in the Jianhu Wetland Reserve, accounting for 11.6% of the number of birds in Yunnan Province (810 species). Accounting for about 7.5% of the total number of birds in the country,  there were 42 species of birds, accounting for 44.7%. According to the types of birds, there are 12 species of water birds in the lake area, accounting for 12.8% of the birds in the protected area. There are 42 species of birds in the lake and wetland, accounting for 44.7 %.

Plant Resources

There are 4 groups of grassland swamps in the swamp-type group.The submerged vegetation is the most abundant vegetation type in the protected area, and the vegetation type with the highest degree of diversity is so rare and unique to the state. There are 443 vascular plants in Jianhu Nature Reserve, belonging to 281 families and 281 genera. The quantitative structure of the seed plants in the reserve is relatively poor, which reflects the ancient and conservative nature of the flora in the area in some extent

Jianhu wetland vegetation is divided into swamp vegetation type and shallow water plant wetland vegetation type.

(1) Swamp Vegetation Type Group

The Jianhu Lake swamp vegetation is mainly composed of Grasses, Polygonaceae, Compositae and other herbaceous plants, which the coverage is more than 90%. It belongs to the grassland marsh wetland, which is distributed in the lakeside zone, the lakeshore and lake transition zone around the lake, including Form Cynodon dactylon(狗牙根群系), Form Polygontum hydropiper(水蓼群系) and Form Schoenoplectus tabernaeomonta(水葱群系).

(2) Shallow Water Plant Wetland Vegetation Group

Shallow water plant wetland vegetation group consists of shallow water wetland plant community. The Jianhu wetland plant community is distributed in the lake. The aquatic plants are rich in the world, such as Common ducksmeat(紫萍),Lemna duckweed(青萍), Water caltrop(菹草), Hornwort(金鱼藻), etc. In the meanwhile, the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau also is rich in  the unique species of cauliflower. including floating plants, floating leaf plants and submerged plants, of which submerged plant communities were dominant.

According to the”national key protected wild plant list (the first batch)” released by the State Forestry Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture in September 1999, Provincial Jianhu Wetland Nature Reserve has a national level I protected plant called Chinese yew(红豆杉) ; a national level II protected species called Semen integrifoliae(金铁锁). In addition, the sea cottage was listed the national level II protected plants in 1987 by the “National List of Rare and Endangered Plants”; Ottelia(海菜花) has been Yunnan provincial key protected plants.

Main Attractions

Jinhua Mountain sitting in the northern foot of the Manxian Forest Area  covers an area of 2097 hectares. Built in hundreds of years ago, it has been a resort with its volley pavilions and never-dried-up water. The biggest advantage of the Jianhu lake is not been polluted and damageed, maintaining its natural scenery. You can see the view of “mirror” from far away, in the meanwhile,you can go through countless fishes. Bai people are living along the Jianhu lake where tourists can enjoy beautiful scenery and landscapes in different seasons,. In the past,,the local Bai people would dress in costumes for visiting along  the Jianhu Lake on every June 15th of the summer, which was called “visiting the sea” and became the ancient customs.

Ancient people praised the landscapes in Jianhu Lake as  “Eight Sceneries of Jianhu Lake”. The first scene is “Haimen Moon”. According to Jianchuan state written by the Qing Emperor Kangxi “Haimen Qiuyue”  is about”Mid-Autumn evening and Haimen water first moon”. And the second scene is”sea fishing lights.”  Unfortunately,  “Haimen Moon” doesn’t exsit now because of the decreasing of the water. Jianchuan,  which has been an ideal place for tourists to stay when they  go to Yunnan Lijiang, Diqing, is 129 kilometers away from Yunnan Dali.


As for the Jianhu wetland, the geomorphic structure and landform type are very simple. But the whole expansion of the Jianhu Lake Basin and the nature reserve reveals the diverse types of geological landforms, complex structure and prominent features. Specifically for the following several aspects:

 (1) Diverse landforms;
 (2) The landscape combination among mountains from north and south;
 (3) Based on the original type and the primary landform;
 (4) Special landform development and so on.

The main landform types include mountainous landforms, valleys and dams (basins). As for the mountain topography, the highest elevation reaches 2833 m with the lowest elevation of 2186 m.

Useful Travel Tips

You can visit Jianhu Lake in all seasons.
Please protect the environment of the non-pollution lake.
Pay attention to the traveling distance, it’s 129 kilometers away from Dali City to the Jianchuan County.