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Dagu Glacier Discovery

Dagu glacier can be one of the most beautiful glaciers in the world, and it is the youngest glacier located in the lowest altitude and closest to the city among all the glaciers. Dagu glacier is 3800-5100 meters above sea level. It had stayed untouched for millions of years until 1992 the scientists discovered it enclosed by the snow-capped mountains by satellite.

The Dagu Glacier scenic area has a good environmental conservation and abundant natural resource, including modern glaciers, waterfalls, lakes, primeval forests, azalea forests, meadows, etc. There are also many wild animals in the scenic area, which often bring surprises to tourists. On the way to the Glaciers, you can visit Jinhou lake (Golden Monkey Lake), Fangsheng lake, Dagu lake, Lingyun waterfall, Hongshipo Slope, etc.

The peak of Dagu snow mountain is covered with snow all-year-round, with magnificent landscape. The snow-capped peaks stand solemnly, shining in the sunlight. There are 60m to 200m thick modern glaciers in the north and south sides. Among them, the most spectacular three glaciers, i.e. No.1, No.2, and No.3 glaciers, cover an area of about 8.25 square kilometers and have a formation process of 100 million years. They are the core site of the whole scenic spot. For thousands of years, the Dagu glacier has remained the most primitive state, with flying snowflakes and crystal ices. There are more than 200 glacial ponds/lakes among the glaciers. The lakes are in blue or green on the plateau in the gems inlaid in the pure white glaciers of Dagu. 

No. 1 Glacier

Glacier 1 belongs to the ice valley glacier, with an average length of 900 meters, an average width of 1100 meters, 0.88 square kilometers, a thickness of 20-40 meters’ frozen layer, and an ice reserve of 35 million cubic meters. No. 1 glacier is in a crescent shape, and the glacial cliff at the front edge is still visible. Scattered ice floating in the lake, is like the clouds seen from a distance. The glacier also has its growth rings, telling people its long and enduring years.

No. 2 Glacier

There are ice holes on glacier 2, some of which are unfathomable. Standing on the edge of the ice hole, it can be seen in various shapes of the crystal-like ice edges and icicles. No. 2 and No. 3 Glaciers are located on the left side of No. 1 Glacier, which is connected with No. 1 glacier side by side, and the two glaciers extend to the top of Dagu snow mountain, which is very spectacular.

No. 3 Glacier

No. 3 Glacier is located on the left side of the No.1 glacier. It is connected with No.1 glacier side by side, close to No.2 glacier, and has its characteristics. Glacier is a form of water, which comes from a series of changes in the snow. It needs certain climatic and geological conditions to form. After hundreds of millions of years of incubation, Dagu glacier has formed such a beautiful scenery.

Dagu Glacier No. 1 Glacier
Dagu Glacier No. 2 Glacier
Dagu Glacier No. 3 Glacier

What to Do in Dagu Glacier

Along the Heishui River, breathing the fresh air and you can see the lush mountains on both sides of the river with some ancient Tibetan villages, herds of cattle and sheep, towering trees and have a panoramic view of the mountains from the view platforms. When the weather is clear, you can overlook the glacier from the meadow. The Dagu glacier in the blue sky and white clouds, surrounded by the primeval forest, greenish meadow and mountain stream is like a fairyland.

You need to take a sightseeing bus when entering Dagu glacier scenic area. You will have several stops on your way to enjoy the scenery and the last stop is the cableway station, and from there you can get to the top of the snow mountain. Dagu Glacier cableway is the highest cableway in the world, with a total length of 3400 meters. The elevation of the cableway station is 3620 meters to 4860 meters. The land feels farther and farther away from the ground to the heavens, as you sitting in the cable car and passing over the mountains. While your stay in Dagu Scenic Area, here are 5 unmissable highlights.

Highlight 1: Enjoy the Snowscape of the Amazing Glaciers

● Dagu Cable Car Ticket: CNY 180 Per Person

The most important thing to do in Dagu glacier scenic site to enjoy the beautiful primitive glaciers, including overlooking the snow-capped mountains from the cable car. This cableway is built in the highest place in the world. The whole journey is in 15 minutes. After entering the cable car, you will be amazed at the vast expanse of white mountains. After getting off from the cable car, you need to walk a little bit to reach the 4860m platform, which shows the amazing beauty of Dagu glacier in a stunning way: The flawless scenery, with no trace of impurities, the clear blue sky, the lofty mountains. Mobile signals and WIFI are available here. Tourists can log in to WiFi, and enjoy the glacier scenery while connecting with their families and friends.

Highlight 2: Have a Cup of Coffee Enclosed by Snow-capped Mountains

● Average Cost at Dagu Cafe: CNY 50 Per Person (Cash Only)

Not far from the 4860m platform is the only building on the top of the mountain - the cafe, where all the items needed inside are transported by cable cars. A cup of coffee costs about CNY 45. It also offers juice, tea, dessert, a simple meal, etc. In terms of its precipitous location, the price is very reasonable. The exterior walls are all made of glass, with amazing scenery around you. The cafe has all kinds of heating and oxygen equipment, and they are free to use. What kind of experience would it be to have a cup of coffee in a café sitting on the top of a glacier? In such a magnificent and holy place of Dagu, in this cafe with the highest altitude in the world, you can see the towering mountains and floating clouds, taking amazing pictures and pondering about life in solitary.

Dagu Glacier Highest View Platform of Dagu Glacier (Elevation: 4860m)
Dagu Glacier Highest Cable Car in the World
Dagu Glacier Have a Rainbow Cake At Dagu Glacier Cafe

Highlight 3: Hike in the Enchanting Forest

● Sightseeing Bus Fare: CNY 70 Per Person (a must from the entrance to the glacier area)

Besides the glaciers, there are thousands of miles of colorful picturesque forest on your way to the glaciers. Tibetan Monkeys are basking on the side of the road. Along the road, you can visit Jinhou lake, Fangsheng lake, Dagu Lake, Fairy lake and Luogus mountain. Drivers will stop to let everyone take photos and enjoy at every site. This journey feels like in Jiuzhaigou, with picturesque waterscape. In different seasons, the color of the forest changes: wildflowers are in full bloom in spring; trees are luxuriant in summer, trees are dyed in reddish and yellow in autumn; everything is covered in white in winter.

Highlight 4: Encounter the Monkey Groups

Many lovely wild animals are living in Dagu glacier scenic area. You may encounter many monkeys on the way to the glacier. In every winter, the monkeys will stay in Jinhua for about five months, and they are very bold and not afraid of people. Hundreds of monkeys often gather along the road to look for food from the visitors and villagers. Some people will feed them with snacks and take pictures with them. However, the monkeys are wild and untamed. Even they are friendly most of the time, sometimes, it may still have the possibility that they may attack people. Here are some tips when you are with the monkeys.

Tips: ① Grasp your personal belongings with your hand firmly and your backpack should be carried in front of you; ② Don't touch or have eye contact with the monkeys especially the baby monkeys; ③ If a monkey is approaching you, be calm, don't scream; ④ Don't be too close to the monkey.

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Dagu Glacier Vegetation of Dagu Glacier Scenic Site
Dagu Glacier Monkey Groups Near Jinhou Lake

Attractions Near Dagu Glacier

Hongyuan Moon Bay 红原月亮湾

● Distance to Dagu Glacier: about 130km, 2.5h by car

The beauty of Hongyuan grassland is fully displayed in the Moon Bay. On the flat and open grassland, the river winds and flows like the bright moon. When it is windless and sunny, the blue sky and layers of white clouds are reflected in the river on the vast grassland of the Moon Bay, you can see yaks, cattle and sheep grazing, and experience the horse riding, arrow shooting and having a stay in the traditional tent hotel of the nomads. Get atop the hill, you will see the clear river water draw a gentle and beautiful arc on the grassland, just like a round of curved moon, and that is how the valley was named. You can have a panoramic view of the valley from the platform and try the cableway and kayak rafting nearby.

Se'ergu Tibetan Village 色尔古藏寨

● Distance to Dagu Glacier: about 73km, 1.5h by car

Se'ergu Tibetan village is located in the east of Heishui County, bordering Maoxian County, with an altitude of 1790 meters. Se'ergu is in Tibetan language, which means "a place rich in gold". It is a village Tibetan where Tibetan and Qiang ethnic cultures blend. It is built on the mountain and by the river. The difference in terrain makes houses scattered and distinctive. Many ancient and unique Tibetan traditional customs and buildings have been well preserved here. It is a primitive, simple and mysterious. Some people praise it as "the ancient castle in the East" and others call it "the little Potala palace in Northwest Sichuan". 

Bipenggou Valley Hongyuan Moon Bay
Dagu Glacier Se'ergu Tibetan Village

Where is Dagu Glacier & How to Get There

Dagu Glacier is located in the west of Sichuan, north to Chengdu and about 300km away from it. Since there are not very convenient in public transportation and the nearest Hongyuan airport is about 80km from it, the best way to get there is to charter a private car from a trustworthy travel agency.

Travel With China Discovery:It's Not very recommended to take public transportation or chartering a car from the random diver to Dagu Glacier. Since you may encounter troublesome traffic jams or language barriers (Chinese and Tibetan) along your way and you do not know the background of the driver. China Discovery offers a private licensed car service for every customer visiting Dagu Glacier. Our skilled driver and experienced guide will pick you up wherever you are in China including the airport, train stations, and busy scenic areas, etc. It's time-saving and much safer and you will be escorted to Dagu Glacier with comfortable traveling experience and professional traveling guidance.>>Contact Us Now

Dagu Glacier is located in the west of Sichuan, where there are abundant natural tourism resources. If you have enough time, you can choose to visit different scenic spots along the way besides the Dagu glacier. Here are some recommended driving routes.

Waterscape & Glacier: Chengdu- Jiuzhaigou - Dagu Glacier - Chengdu

Grassland & Glacier & Panda: Chengdu - Dagu Glacier - Zoige Grassland/Hongyuan - Wolong Panda Base- Chengdu

Glacier & Tibetan & Qiang Village: Chengdu - Wenchuan - Maoxian - Dagu Glacier - Lixian Gulgou hot spring - Bipenggou Valley - Chengdu

By Air: It is the fastest way to reach Dagu glacier scenic site. You can take about a 1-hour flight from Chengdu Shuangliu Airport to Aba Hongyuan airport. Most flights take off in the morning, and there will be flights from Chongqing to Hongyuan airport in peak season. Hongyuan airport is about 80km away from Dagu Glacier scenic area (about 1 hour by car). After arriving at Hongyuan airport, you need to charter a car to Dagu glacier scenic area.

By Bus: Take the bus from Chengdu Chadianzi Bus Station to Heishui county. There are about three buses to Heishui county from 7:00 to 11:00 every morning. The whole duration is about 6 hours. Heishui Bus Station is about 9 kilometers away from Dagu Glacier scenic spot. You can take a taxi to the scenic spot.

Road Conditions: if you get from Chengdu via Maoxian and Heishui to Dagu glacier, you will drive through the high way from Chengdu to Wenchuan and then provincial road from Wenchuan to Heishui, which is not that good as highways. With complex terrain and traffic jam on weekends and holidays, Do not drive to fast. The road may get frozen in the early spring and winter, and landslide may occur on rainy days. If you do not drive by yourself, it is better to have an experienced driver to take you there.

Private Car Service Private Car Service
Dagu Glacier Map Map of Dagu Glacier Transportation from Chengdu (Click to Enlarge)
Dagu Glacier Map Map of Popular Driving Routes and Attractions of Northwest Sichuan (Click to Enlarge)

Best Time to Visit Dagu Glacier

Dagu glacier has different beauty all year round. Autumn is the most beautiful season in Dagu Glacier Scenic Area. Under the sunshine, the Jinhu Lake surrounded by mountains and forests, with the backdrop of the blue sky and snow-capped mountains, the autumn mountains are beautiful, with red leaves flying all over the forest, big red, golden yellow, and the autumn brings all kinds of colorful leaves, the reddish, the orange, the dark green, and the golden yellow. At the same time, due to the fall temperature, the white glacier area is covered everywhere in the snow again. These colors meet together and reveal the most colorful and picturesque natural picture.

Dagu Glacier Dagu Glacier in Autumn

Dagu Glacier Accommodation

Dagu Glacier scenic area is about 9km away from Heishui county downtown. There is no place to stay in the scenic area. Tourists can stay at the hotel in the county or experience Tibetan traditional homestay. Due to its remote location, the hotels here are limited, and the accommodation facilities can't be compared with those in big cities, but the price is reasonable. Most hotels can meet the basic accommodation needs of the tourists, and the recommended hotels are Dagu Glacier International Hotel, Heishui Lu Hua Grand Hotel, Heishui Shenxianju Hotel, etc. the price ranges from CNY 200 yuan to CNY 500 for a standard room. As many domestic tourists come here in the peak season, it is recommended to book a hotel in advance.

Dagu Glacier Dagu Glacier International Hotel

Useful Travel Tips & Notes for Dagu Glacier

● What to Wear: There is a big temperature difference between day and night in the Dagu Glacier Scenic site. Please wear enough clothes to keep warm (down jacket is a must). Traveling the scenic site in winter demands more clothes comparing with other seasons, and the top area of the glacier is usually windy with strong ultraviolet light. You need to wear down jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, masks and sunglasses, etc.

● What to Pack: Bring your valid identity documents (passport), cashes (about CNY 500 for emergency), camera, 自拍杆, wet napkin, power bank, personal hygiene, rain gear, clothes, hiking shoes (preferably waterproof shoes), sunscreen (50SPFPA+), warm paste, sunglasses (for snow blindness protection), moisturizing cream, lipstick, cold medicine, stomach medicine, toothbrush, toothpaste and other toiletries, your pajamas. It is suggested to bring a vacuum cup, which is convenient to drink hot water to warm up yourself, and some snacks such as chocolate, biscuit, etc.

● Altitude & Car Sickness: The average altitude of Dagu Glacier is over 3000 meters. People who are not in good health condition may suffer from altitude sickness or car sickness. Prepare some anti altitude/ car sickness medicine like Rhodiola capsule or oxygen bottles. Drink water and keep warm, and do not overeat. People with heart disease and high blood pressure are not recommended to go there.

● Safety: It is forbidden to smoke and use fire in the Dagu glacier scenic area, and some parts of the scenic area have not been fully developed. For personal safety, try not to visit the forbidden area and do not travel by yourself. Be careful when feeding and taking pictures with wild monkeys.

How to Plan Your Dagu Glacier Tour

Usually, you need at least 2 days to explore the highlights of Dagu Glacier including the arrival and departure time from Chengdu (about 300km, 6h by car). Most travelers will choose to drive from Chengdu to Dagu Glacier or take a flight to Hongyuan Airport and then drive to Dagu Glacier.

Besides just traveling Dagu Glacier, if you have more free time, you are recommended to travel Jiuzhaigou Valley, Huanglong Valley, Songpan Ancient Town with it. Also, Hongyuan Grassland, and Bipenggou Valley are not far away from it. Besides the attractions we mentioned, there are amazing sites like Leshan Giant Buddha, Mount Emei, Mount Qingcheng, ect. You can choose any attraction you like and and let us customize the best tour for you!

Please feel free to tell us your likes and which itinerary you are interested in. Contact Us now.

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Travel Dagu Glacier with China Discovery

Based in Chengdu, we China Discovery can provide you with the best travel experiences with reasonable price. Our experienced local drivers will escort you to Dagu Glacier. We have been specialized in offering Chengdu tours, Panda tours, Jiuzhai Valley tours, Leshan Giant Buddha and Mount Emei tours, Mount Siguniang tours, Danba tours, Daocheng Yading tours and other interesting tours.

The tour can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interest, budget and every special need. If you have any other ideas about the trip or you have other places or cities wanted to visit such as Yunnan, Shanghai, Beijing or Xian, our experienced travel consultants are very glad to offer their help. Please feel free to contact us!

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >