Why visit Wulanhada Volcano Geopark?

China National Geographic magazine introduced the Ulanhada Volcanoes like this: ”Volcanoes are a common landscape in the eastern part of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, where there is a volcanic eruption belt: From the north of the Nuomin River Volcano Group of the Greater Khingan Mountains, through the Chaihe Volcano Group in Arshan, Abaga Volcano Group in Xilingol, to the south of the Wulanhada Volcano Group of the Chahar Right Back Banner in Ulanqab, stretching for nearly one thousand kilometers. Most of these volcanoes are covered with forest, so it is difficult to enjoy their shape clearly. But volcanoes in Chahar are different. More than 30 volcanoes here are distributed like a string of beads on the grassland, and the flat terrain shows off the shape of the volcanoes perfectly." Because of its unique volcanic geology and landform, this unique "volcanic grassland", is known as the "natural volcano museum", the local people also vividly called it "the alchemy furnace of Supreme Lord Laozi".

If you have the opportunity to look at the scenery from the sky, the Inner Mongolia Plateau is vast, with mountains, plains and hills intertwined. From the bird’s eye view of the vast grassland, as far as you can see, volcanoes are scattered on it. Their shape is shifting and magnificent, which shows an extraordinary bearing. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the hot magma from the crater overflowed, like a river flowing down, transferring into today’s ravines criss-crossing “stone river” and “stone sea”. The seal of natural wrath is so naked in front of people, announcing the insignificance of human power. People would gasp with astonishment when thinking about the blazing of volcanic lava, but it also intensified the shock brought by the great beauty of the intuitive world. It is a mixture of fear and joy. This unique experience will not only stay in the senses. Standing on the vast world, travelers will also gain a dialogue between the mind and nature.

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Wulanhada Volcano Geopark
Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Wulanhada “Stone River”

Formation of Wulanhada Volcano Geopark

As one of the youngest volcano groups in China, the Ulan Hada Volcano Group has experienced two geologic periods of volcanic activity, the Quaternary Late Pleistocene (120, 000 years ago) and Holocene (10, 000 years ago). In the late Pleistocene, volcanic activity was controlled by cracks in the crust of the northeast and northwest, and lava gushed out to the surface along the fissures. This type of eruption is called fissure eruption, and because it can only be observed in Iceland now, it is also called "Icelandic Volcano". In the Holocene, the original fissure volcanic activity ceased, most parts of the fissure zone were blocked by lava, and the volcanic activity changed to a central eruption controlled by the fault zone. This is why the landform of more than 30 volcanoes beaded on the land is formed.

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Formation of the Landform of Wulanhada Volcanoes

Attractions & Main Volcanoes in Wulanhada Volcano Geopark

There are 8 main volcanoes, which are arranged from northeast to southwest respectively, with a total distance of about 10 kilometers. The big ones are Volcano No.3 to Volcano No.8. The No.3 Volcano is half mined, and the whole volcano shows a huge gap, with a plank road to the volcano top; The No.4 Volcano was thoroughly excavated and a volcano museum was built on the original site; The No.5 Volcano is the most complete one, with a perfectly preserved central eruption volcanic shape. The slope of the No.6 Volcano was all hollowed out, leaving only a core in the middle. The No.7 and No.8 volcanoes are cone-shaped. 

Among them, the volcanoes of high ornamental value and most frequently visited by tourists are No.3 volcano (North Alchemy Furnace), No.5 volcano (Middle Alchemy Furnace) and No.6 volcano (South Alchemy Furnace).

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Click to Enlarge Distribution of Main Volcanoes in Wulanhada Geopark
  • Recommended Visiting Route: No.3 Volcano (Walk along the plank road up to the top) --> No.5 Volcano (Walk up along the steep slope to look at its peak) --> No.6 Volcano (Overlook the exposing its outer edge from No.5 Volcano, then drive to the foot of the volcano to have a closer look at the internal structure of the volcano)

No.3 Volcano - The North Alchemy Furnace

The mining of Volcano No.3 was halted after half of the volcano had already been quarried, creating a half complete volcanic shape and half a huge section. You can go inside and get a closer look at the deep black rock inside the volcano, which at first glance looks like a coal mine.

Volcano No.3 has a plank road leading to the crate. Looking at the distance on the mountaineering plank road, you can vaguely see the No.5 Volcano - the Middle Alchemy Furnace. Standing on the edge of the crater, looking outside is the boundless grassland, looking inside is like a huge pot cover buckle on the ground. Visitors can also get a close look at the deep black rock inside the volcano. The picture of Volcano No. 3 was once on the cover of National Geographic magazine.

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark No.3 Volcano - The North Alchemy Furnace

No.4 Volcano - The Black Oboo (Heinaobao)

Volcano No.4 is smaller with a newly built tourist center and a volcano museum at the base, known locally as the Heinaobao (黑脑包). There is no artificial walkway to climb, just a few handrails. The volcano has a slight slope, but fortunately there is enough friction of the ground rocks to make it not difficult to climb. Climbing to the top, there is a not-so-flat open field. Mounds of mani, large and small, scatter. To the south, you can see the furnace in Volcano No. 5. To the north is the North Alchemy Furnace of No.3 Volcano. Looking far to the south, you can see the furnace of Volcano No.5, to the north is the North Alchemy Furnace - the No.3 Volcano.

No.5 Volcano - The Middle Alchemy Furnace

Volcano No.5 is the most intact and best preserved volcano. A fence has been erected around the volcano along the road and there is a ban on vehicle climbing. Volcano No. 5 has no artificial walkway or handrails, and the steepest slope is about seventy or eighty degrees. For safety reasons and for the protection of the landscape, hiking is not recommended.

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark No.5 Volcano - The Middle Alchemy Furnace

No.6 Volcano - The South Alchemy Furnace

Not far from Volcano No.5 is Volcano No.6 - the South Alchemy Furnace. The products of volcanic activities have brought great economic benefits to human beings and formed many important mineral resources. It can be said that the formation of most metallic and non-metallic minerals is directly or indirectly related to volcanism. Volcanic basalt, pumice and cinder are all good building materials. In the normal process of production and processing, these materials will not produce toxic substances, waste gas, waste water and waste residue, there are pollution-free, being praised as the High-tech green industrial materials of the 21st century. Because of the flat grassland ground and the close-to-highway location, the Wulanhada Volcano Group has convenient transportation which accelerates the pace of volcano destruction.

The volcanic cone of Volcano No.6 is incomplete due to human destruction, but the clear cone profile is rare in China, which provides an excellent model for geologists to study the structure of the volcano. When viewed from high above, it inadvertently creates an abstract work of art.

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Wulanhada No.6 Volcano
Wulanhada Volcano Geopark The South Alchemy Furnace

Best Time to Visit Wulanhada Volcano Geopark & Photography Tips

The Wulanhada Volcano Group is suitable for visiting all year around. The scenery varies according to the seasons, and the peak tourist seasons are summer and autumn. In summer, the plant is dense and the grass is verdant, which is in sharp contrast to the color of the russet volcanic rock. Autumn presents a desolate beauty.

The best time for photography is at dusk (16:00-20:00), when the volcanic rocks show a magnificent scarlet under the reflection of the sunset and set off against the boundless emerald grassland. The grand and majestic sight is waiting to be captured by the camera.

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Photography Tips

  • Thanks to the vast grassland terrain, the shooting angle and camera position are more flexible, photographers are given free rein. It is suggested to shoot at a low angle to highlight the lofty and magnificent volcano. If conditions permit, aerial photography is highly recommended.
  • Wulanhada Volcano Cluster has different characteristics and presents different beauties in different seasons. The snow scenery in winter also has its own charm. The best photography time is in the late afternoon, when the sun is setting, and the afterglow echoes the volcanic rocks.
  • The grassland is windy and sandy in spring and autumn. In order to ensure the image resolution and protect the lens from sand and dust, photographers should pay attention to lens’ dust prevention.
  • The average daily temperature in Inner Mongolia Plateau is low, and the temperature difference between day and night is large. Moreover, because the terrain is wide and open, it is not easy to find a shelter. Visitors should take precautions against low temperatures and keep warm all the time.
Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Wulanhada Volcano Geopark in Summer and Autumn
Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Photography

How to Get to Wulanhada Volcano Geopark & Useful Maps

Wulanhada Volcano Group is situated in the central part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, located in the Chahar Right Back Banner of Ulanqab city. About 10 km north of Baiyinchagan town is the area of about 400 square kilometers of volcanic remains - The Wulanhada Volcano Geopark is about 70 km (1.5 hours’ driving) north from the center of Ulanqab City, about 410 km (5~6 hours’ driving) northwest from Beijing and about 200 km (3 hours’ driving) northeast from Hohhot.

Volcanoes in Wulnahada Geopark are scattered. The only and most recommended way to get to and around Wulanhada Volcano Geopark is by taking a private car (Booking a tour package with private car service). For those who come from farther away, like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Xi’an, etc. You can get to Ulanqab, hohhot or Beijing first, by flight, (high-speed) train or car, then take a car to reach your final destinations - the Wulanhada Volcano Geopark.

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Click to Enlarge Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Location Map

Camping and Accommodation in and around Wulanhada Volcano Geopark

If you want to spend a night in or near the geopark, Baiyinchagan town has several budget hotels to choose from. Or if you are traveling in summer, camping by the volcano and enjoying the starry sky would give you a unique and memorable travel experience. Visitors may find a campsite near Volcano No.5.

The development of Wulanhada Volcano Geopark is late, infrastructure construction in the scenic area is poor. Public washrooms are hard to find in the scenic area. So for those who prefer luxury hotels and higher living standards, you can go to Ulanqab city for accommodation.

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Camping

Attractions nearby Wulanhada Volcano Geopark

Huitengxile Grassland - Yellow Flowers Valley

  • Address: Chahar Right Middle Banner, Ulanqab, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China (内蒙古自治区乌兰察布市察哈尔右翼中旗)
  • The Driving Distance from Wulanhada Volcano Geopark: over 100 km, which takes around 2 hours by car.

Huitengxile Grassland means “cold plateau” in Mongolian at an altitude over 1800 meters. It is a rare mountain meadow steppe in the world and there are 99 natural lakes on the grassland, making it both vigorous and elegant. Huitengxile Grassland stands out most is its Yellow Flowers Valley (黄花沟景区) filled with beautiful flowers for many, many miles. Yellow Flowers Valley also has a spectacular geo-park, which gains the reputation of the "Grand Qingshan Geological Museum".

☛ 2 Days Huitengxile Grassland Tour from Beijing by Bullet Train

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Huitengxile Grassland - Yellow Flowers Valley

How to Plan a Ulanqab, Inner Mongolia Tour?

Normally, visitors spend half a day or one day around for a Wulanhada Volcanoes Tour. Some visitors take half a day to visit star volcanoes, the No.3 Volcano, the No.5 Volcano and the No.6 Volcano, watching the splendid sunset, camping overnight around the volcano and enjoying the sparkling stars of night. Get up early on the next day, record the amazing with your camera and hike to the pyramidal Volcano No.6 and No.7.

Before or after your Wulanhada Volcanoes tour, you can spend half a day or one day in Huitengxile Grassland, 1 day visiting Dazhao Temple and Inner Mongolia Museum in Hohhot, 1~2 days to visit Kubuqi Desert and Mausoleum of Genghis Khan in Ordos. It normally takes 5~6 days to savor all the highlights of central Inner Mongolia.

☛ 5 Days Hohhot, Baotou & Huitengxile Grassland Tour
☛ 6 Days Inner Mongolia Bests Discovery Tour

Feel not enough? You can continue your trip and visit the most beautiful grassland in China - Hulunbuir (4~6 days), have an exciting adventure in the mysterious Badain Jaran Desert (3~7 Days). 1~2 days more to Xilingol to discover the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site - Site of Xanadu and vast grasslands. 3~5 days more in Chifeng to feel the most charming autumn in Ulan Butong Grassland and enjoy diverse landforms in Hexigten Global Geopark...

☛ 5 Days Best Hulunbuir Tour
☛ 3 Days Badain Jaran Desert Real Essence Tour with Jeep Safari
☛ 5 Days Classic Hexigten Scenic Tour with Wulan Butong Grassland

Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Huitengxile Grassland
Wulanhada Volcano Geopark Camel Riding in Kubuqi Desert

Recommended Ulanqab Tours

Top 3 Ulanqab tours chosen by most customers to explore Ulanqab in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Tom from UK visited Huitengxile Grassland in July 2021.

5 Days Classic Inner Mongolia Tour

Hohhot / Huitengxile Grassland / Yemingsha of Kubuqi Desert / Hohhot

Ewan's family from visited Kubuqi Desert in July 2022

6 Days Inner Mongolia Bests Discovery Tour

Hohhot / Ulanqab / Huitengxile Grassland / Hohhot / Baotou / Yemingsha of Kubuqi Desert / Ordos

Yemingsha Desert Off-road Driving Experience

6 Days Inner Mongolia Best Desert & Grassland Tour (Hohhot to Hulunbuir)

Hohhot / Baotou / Kubuqi Desert / Hulunbuir / Shiwei / Hulunbuir

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