Wenhai Lake ,Lijiang

About Wenhai lake 

The Wenhai lake is a seasonal alpine lake and wetland. Throughout the Spring and Summer. The Wenhai lake basin is one big grazing ground with various little streams winding through the grassland. Water collects on the south end of the basin, then disappears from the ground (through the Karst rock formation underneath) flowing toward Lashihai to the south. During every July and August when the rain season arrives, water begins to rise in Wenhai, and the lake is usually filled up by October. Then during the winter season, Wenhai water level lowers again until March of the next year. Then ,the entire lake is emptied of water ,when the basin turns into a grassland again. Every year between November and January of the next year,birds from as far as Siberia and Qinghai come to Wenhai to rest, creating a great opportunity for bird watching in the area.

Where is Wenhai Lake?

Wenhai is located on the southern slope of Yulong (Jade Dragon) snow mountain and it is a part of the Lashihai provincial level Alpine Wetlands Nature Reserve. The elevation at Wenhai is 3,100 meters. The Wenhai area is an ideal location for visitors to explore and learn about northwestern Yunnan’s dramatic geological formations and rich biodiversity. The unique climate and soil in the area nourished a variety of vegetative covers and plant species. Including old-growth forests, shrubs and meadows. There are also unique wild flowers that bloom all four seasons. Including over twenty species of rhododendrons. Wenhai is also home to a variety of economically viable mushrooms and precious medicinal herbs.

What are features of Wenhai Lake?

1.Tea and Horse Caravan Trail

In the earlier times, the well- known Tea and Horse Caravan Trail that traversed between Yunnan and Tibet came through the Wenhai area. This ancient commercial corridor originated in the Ming Dynasty and was part of the “Southern silk Roud”.

2.Naxi people

The Naxis have lived in Wenhai for over 300 years. There are five clans in the Wenhai upper village, whose ancestors were of Tibetan and Han origins. Overtime, however, these people were regarded as Naxi by the other villagers. There are two clans in Wenhai lower village,whose bloodlines are from the Tibetans and the Bais, but are also being regarded as Naxi people now. north of the Wenhai villages is the Xuehua village where there lives a group of Yis ,who still maintain their very simple and traditional lifestyle of the Yi people.

Wenhai trail information

There are many route choices to reach Wenhai from the Lijiang old town ,the distance is between 20 to 25 kilometers long. On each of the route, you can ride in a car for some distance, and the rest of the distance you can hike or horse-back ride up to Wenhai are mostly uphills. The elevation rises fron 2,400 meters in Lijiang to 3,100 meters in Wenhai are meters im Wenhai. Beginning the hike from Yuhu or Longquan (a.k.a. Shuhe),most visitors take about 4 hours to get to Wenhai.

There is a variety of extraordinary scenery aling the hiking trail to Wenhai, and with the exception of a few places, the vegetative covers of the area are mostly intake. On a good day, you can view from the various scenic look-out points the widely-spread Lijiang basin below or the towering Jade Dragon Snow Mountain above. The various rhododendron shrubs and plants around Wenhai provide great opportunities for visitors to relax, enjoy and learn in the area.

The trails from Yuhu and Longquan (Shuhe) to Wenhai have been improved to ensure basic safety along the trail, completed with simple signage. Therefore, these trails are suitable for independent hikers who have experience in wilderness treks. Other trails marked on this map have interpretive signs at the trailheads, however the trails have not been improved and lack signage along the way. For visitors who are interested in trekking these unmarked trails, we recommend that you hire local guides to ensure reaching Wenhai safely and timely.

The purpose for the Wenhai trail improvements and promotion project is to encourage visitors to fully experience and understand the spectacular ecological and cultural diversity in the Lashihai watershed (where Wenhai is a division). At the sane time, it is hoped that ecotourism can be promoted in the Wenhai area to allow the local community and environment to directly benefit from your visit. As you are trekking in this very special area, let us remind you to please safeguard the resources surrounding you and to please follow the “Visitor Code of Conduct” below.

What to see in Wenhai Lake

Wenhai Lake is a habitat for migrating birds, most notably the endangered black stork. Each year, for reasons not yet completely known, Wenhai undergoes a transformation from sub-alpine lake to grazing grasslands. Beginning in early spring, the lake gradually disappears, believed to drain through underground limestone formations to Lashi Lake, about 500 meters below. Then, with the return of the summer rainy season, Wenhai Lake begins to fill again. By fall it reaches its full size, ready for the arrival of migratory birds in late December. The watershed’s highland forests support a wide variation of plant and animal species, including protected raptors, forest wildlife, traditional medicinal plants and treasured fungi. In spring, the region’s famous rhododendrons – over 15 species — burst into bloom, creating mountains of colorful flowers.

How to get there

Take a bus/taxi or charter a van from Lijiang to arrive at Baisha Old Town and start a 1~3 days hiking to Wenhai village.

Trekking to Wenhai

Starting from Yuhu of Baisha, the town where Joseph Rock lived for 17 years in the 1930’s and 40’s, a steep uphill climb followed by a traverse through a shallow bowl and a sharp descent to the Wenhai Ecolodge takes about 4 hours, which gives hikers time to enjoy the scenery. The forests surrounding Wenhai Village are home to many species of plants and animals, including musk deer and Lady Amherst’s pheasants.

For the more adventurous, Wenhai can be the starting point of a three-day trek through the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which tracks an upper stretch of the Yangtze River through one of the world’s deepest ravines. (Environmentalists are fighting plans to dam the gorge for a hydropower project that would flood much of the area, but not Wenhai, which is at a higher elevation.) Other activities include horseback riding, visiting local schools and, from November to March, bird-watching.Rhododendrons blossom in April and May; in July and August, it rains most afternoons.

Recommended Tour of Wenhai Lake

With Wenhai lake in the foreground and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain towering in the background, the tranquil Naxi village of Wenhai makes for a pretty sight, especially in the rainy season (May to August) when its lush banks are covered with splendid blooms of wildflowers and primroses. Enjoy a relaxing walk in the meadows of Wenhai and watch alpine animals such as yaks, miniature horses, black pigs, goats and sheep grazing.

1 Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Hiking Tour (4642 Meters) from Wenhai Lake

1 Day Lijiang Hiking Tour from Wenhai Lake to Yuhu Village

Lijiang Halfday Tour to Wenhai Lake and Wenhai Naxi Ethnic Village

Travel tips:

Wild wenhai lake , best for photo graphs and outdoor activities .
Wenhai is a nature wild lake at the feet of jade dragon snow mountain .
It’s a place where we locals like to go for a relaxation. Wild flowers which we call gesanghua blooming in summer season from early May to end of sep. Different flowers for different months . It’s our hidden paradise in our little local secrets.

No matter it’s canons or phone cameras, any photos you take it will be a painting .
Come to my colorful Lijiang , Lets immerse in the nature beauties !
Ps :
1,local villagers horse man are teaching and leading horse ride. Breathe the clearest air with the grass and flowers smell , ride the horse like a free bird .
2, best is have your local cook Jessica preparing a sweet picnics ! All you have to do is just enjoy and be happy !