Hike the Zhuqing Monastery (竹庆寺) Emerald Lakes

Rate this Adventure Zhuqing Monastery, Ganzi Zangzuzizhizhou, China

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    7.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1968.5 Feet


Start from a majorBuddhist monastery to ascend an ancient path to three emerald lakesthat reflect glaciated peaks above. Plus there's a hidden cave shrine at the top.

The route startsdirectly behind the Zhuqing Monastery college (3948m). There is a path leading up theridge behind the college towards the right above the monastery.Once on the ridge, follow the path and cross the river onto the rightside (true left) at the first crossing. The path then leads slowly upthe ridge into a narrow high valley following the stream all the way.After about 1hr-1.5hrs you will reach the first emerald lake. This isabout 4km from the monetary and elevation 4400m.

The second lake isabout 30-45 minutes and 1km up from the first lake. Elevation 4540m.The path narrows and continues on the right side, at times curingthrough heavy brush. You will ascend up some large boulders and screewhere cairns and some pray flags mark the way. At the top there aremore prayer flags, a small hut and an ancient shrine carved into alarge Boulder for Budhhist pilgrims. There is another sheltered areaunder an adjacent boulder. From here you can view he second lake farbelow and the rock bluff and glacier above. The lake is too far belowto fetch water from, so make sure you get water if you need beforeyou ascend to far from the first lake.

We did not reach thethird lake because of poor weather. The route seems to continue tobecome more difficult and follow the right side. Many locals seem toknow the way, however. It seems to be a similar distance from Lake 2as Lake 2 is from Lake 1, if not a slightly more technical route.

Directly across theroad from the Zhuqing Monastery college is a place you can stay for 35RMB, it's called a temple but really a hotel for travelers to themonastery. The owner stays in some Tibetan style tents out back.

  • These lakes are holy, don't swim in them no matter how beautiful they look.

Pack List

  • day pack
  • camera
  • 1L water
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Kyle Obermann Explorer

China Environmental and Adventure Photographer || 探险中国 || Speak Chinese to Protect Nature @kyleobermann

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