Rainbow Mountain China vs Peru

Around the world, we have many beautiful places and natural wonders, but unfortunately, we would never have enough time to visit all of them. It is such a great thing to have places like Rainbow Mountain in Peru, and halfway on the other side of the world in China, there is another Rainbow Mountain, then whoever looking for the Rainbow Mountain trip in the world can travel to the nearest mountain from home. So let’s talk briefly about Rainbow mountain China vs Peru, see the similarities they share, things that make them unique, and most importantly, things to know before visiting.


Rainbow Mountain China

It is located about 40 km from Zhangye city in Gansu province, China, at the eastern foothill of Qilian Mountain Range.

The Peruvian Rainbow Mountain has gained popularity back in 2015, while the Chinese Rainbow Mountain, also known as Zhangye Danxia Geopark, became a national geopark and World heritage site in 2009. 

Rainbow Mountain Peru

It is located About 125 km southeast of Cusco city, out in the Vilcanota mountain range.


The colorful landscapes were created when the tectonic plates collided, at least 55 million years ago. Particularly for the Rainbow mountain Peru, its origins date back to the formation of the Andes mountains range with the subduction of the Nazca plate, under the South American plate. The same geological formation originated the Rainbow Mountain China, with the Indian Plate colliding into the Eurasian Plate. And the sandstone and minerals we see today on the rolling hills were part of a once ocean floor.

Also, the erosion with the effects of rainwater, wind, and sunshine have molded its formation, so it’s a mother earth´s gift for humans to appreciate such beautiful rolling hills, ravines, and red valleys. It is simply a stunning exhibition of nature.


 Rainbow Mountain China

While Rainbow Mountain hikers in Peru spend 3 hours drive before starting to walk, there in China public bus/taxi gets you straight to the tourist service center within one hour drive from Zhangye city, and after paying for the entrance, you automatically enter the park buses station to begin the exploration. Buses inside drive from one scenic spot to the other all the time. So, walking isn´t really strenuous as to the Peruvian Rainbow mountain.

* Most tourists go on their own as it is accessible and few tourists go on a tour.

* Sunset between 07 hrs and 08 hrs am

*Sunset between 19 hrs am and 20 hrs pm

Rainbow Mountain Peru

 The Rainbow Mountain full-day tour is a six hours walk there and back, starting at approx 15 400 feet up to 16 500 feet. plus six hours car drive in total. This makes it always difficult for going to or staying in the viewpoint either at sunrise or sunset unless you take our 2 day Rainbow mountain hike, with an overnight at a camp near the Rainbow Mountain, there you can see the sunrise/sunset spectacle as in Zhangye geopark.

*Most of the tourists hire a travel agency and very few people venture on their own.

* Sunrise between 05 hrs and 06 hrs am

*Sunset between 17 hrs am and 18 hrs pm

            HOW IS THE TRAIL?

Rainbow Mountain China

The Chinese government has installed boardwalks wending through the park for the visitors to meander around the colorful sandstone landscapes, and there are both paved and wooden boardwalks. The boardwalks at some sections are level, making it accessible to wheelchairs and other physically challenged travelers to still experience the colored hills

*No need to rent camels, and no other animal for help, because the shuttle buses get you close. Overall, this is an easy walk.

 Rainbow Mountain Peru

After the first ten minutes of a demanding walk, the path becomes friendlier and follows through the mountainside. The trail is carved out on the hardpacked terrain, dusty in winter and muddy in summer, and yes, it is advisable to carry hiking poles for summer. Then, approaching the vantage point of the Rainbow Mountain, you will be walking a steep section of stairs lined with posts and handrails; this last section is narrower.  See more about the rainbow mountain trail. 

*Wheelchair access doesn´t exist in Peru´s rainbow mountain trail due to the topography and high elevation. 

*There is a select group of horses that work so hard, and whenever you feel you can´t go any forward due to high elevation, then you can ask for a horse. (extra cost)


 Rainbow Mountain China

While Peruvian kids stand with the Alpaca for photoshoots, there in China Rainbow Mountain, Chinese folks bring camello (Camels)  for a photoshoot session and sometimes for riding. 

There are available stunning aerial views from a hot air balloon for a better understanding of the Danxia national geopark, as well as a five-minute ride on a powered paraglider.

The Chinese Rainbow Mountain visitor can also attend a variety of folk arts and performances, such as shows in the afternoon hours.

Rainbow Mountain Peru

Of course, there are extra things to do, in Rainbow Mountain Peru, for instance: the one-mile hike to the red Valley. Although not many people get to go there, it is worth seeing. 

Kids and women offer their artwork and crafts made of alpaca wool, and locals serve hot coca tea and coca leaves on the way and up the mountain.

Also, a photoshoot with alpaca is very common in Rainbow Mountain. In exchange, you can tip the boys a few coins.

rainbow mountain china  vs peru


 Rainbow Mountain China

Rather than having only one viewpoint, there in Zhangye Danxie geological park exists four viewpoints, overlooking that amazing spectacle with colorful topography. And there are shuttle busses that run from one viewpoint to the other transporting tourists to see this so alien landscape. The highest point in the park is about 5 900 feet, meaning that the Chinese Rainbow Mountain is at a much lower altitude than the Peruvian Rainbow Mountain and therefore easily accessible to the point that it received about 3 million tourists during 2019.

 Rainbow Mountain Peru

There is only one lookout, and it is at an insane 16 500 feet. Most tourists climb up to the viewpoint because the higher you go, the better the picture is, and believe it or not, nearly 99 % of pictures you see on social media and the internet, all those pictures have been taken from the only and main lookout.


 Rainbow Mountain China

Buses and taxis get the tourists from Zhangye city to the tourist service center (entry point), and tickets are available for every visitor. No need to book in advance. In addition, there is a senior discount for people over 60.

Rainbow Mountain Peru

Before getting to the parking lot, there is a control station where every group has to pay for the entrance permits. Tickets are unlimited but no senior discounts.

Given all those similarities and differences about the famous rainbow mountain, whichever Rainbow Mountain you decide to go, if you finally get to the summit, think that halfway on the other side of the globe, there is another Rainbow Mountain or montaña de colores.