Hike the Zhuqing Monastery (竹庆寺) Emerald Lakes

Rate this Adventure China Zhuqing Monastery

Added by Kyle Obermann

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

The route starts directly behind the Zhuqing Monastery college (3948m). There is a path leading up the ridge behind the college towards the right above the monastery. Once on the ridge, follow the path and cross the river onto the right side (true left) at the first crossing. The path then leads slowly up the 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 is about 4km from the monetary and elevation 4400m.

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

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

Directly across the road from the Zhuqing Monastery college is a place you can stay for 35 RMB, it's called a temple but really a hotel for travelers to the monastery. 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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Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



7.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1968.5 Feet



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Added by Kyle Obermann

China Environmental and Adventure Photographer || 探险中国

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