Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟 / Jiuzhaigou) is quite simply the most photogenic spot in China. It is also the most popular and best managed forest reserve in China. The country's most popular national park is famous for its otherworldly beauty, with waterfalls and iridescent lakes that shimmer against a backdrop of deciduous forests and snow-capped mountains. According to legend, in an ancient love story a Tibetan god gave a mirror polished by clouds and wind to a goddess, who dropped it. Shards scattered, forming Jiuzhaigou's 118 lakes. Glacier fed crystal clear, emerald waters cascade down in a series of lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and rivulets punctuated by waterfalls. A UNESCO World Heritage, the United Nations called it “the most biologically diverse temperate zone in the world.” Discovered by loggers in the 1960s, this enchanted place is known to few foreigners. 90% of the park's visitors are locals.
Collection by 40 year National Geographic's Mike Yamashita