Nestled in the northwestern part of Suoxiyu Natural Reserve, Ten-Mile Natural Gallery is a narrow and long valley with a total length of 5.8 kilometers. A gurgling stream flows through the foot of Tianzi Mountain, with karst peaks of various bizarre shapes arrayed on both sides. Snaking through the verdant forests, travelers would feel like exploring the hidden beauties of a giant landscape painting hanging on the vertical cliffs. The vivid formation of sandstone peaks creates more than 200 images of human, birds and animals, among which the Herb Collecting Old Man, Longevity Man Greeting Visitors and Three Sisters are the most eye-catching highlights.
Longevity Man Greeting Visitors is the first spot coming into your view when touring the Ten-Mile Gallery. There is a grotesque stone peak erecting in face of the entrance like a kind old man. Wearing loving smiles, the man of longevity waves his hands to warmly welcome and greet the visitors. It is believed that one would be blessed with health and longevity if seeing the image of the old man formed by the peaks, which is surely worthy of a savoring.
Herb Collecting Old Man is the most iconic sight of Ten-Mile Gallery. An 80-meter-high stone peak shares great similarity with a lifelike old man standing sideways who bends down and carry a basket on his back. The pine trees grow on the peaks like the scarf on his head and herb medicine in his basket. By a careful observation, you could even discover the wrinkles and worrying look on his face. Indeed, Zhangjiajie is natural treasure house rich in more than 700 species of traditional Chinese medicine.
Perched high above the Ten-Mile Gallery, a peculiar sandstone peak boasts two crests, a large one and a small one, which resembles a man holding a book in hands and immersing in deep thoughts. It is believed by locals that this peak is the incarnation of the king Xiang Dakun, a Tujia Minority leader of an uprising, who is reading a book on the art of war on the mountains.
Going deeper into the valley, you could see a vivid conch perched on the top of a peak. The entire stone peak grows with spiral lines, which bears a strong resemblance to a huge conch. Legend has it as a legacy of the sea in ancient times as the valley used to be a vast ocean about 380 million years ago.
Near the end of the Ten-Mile Natural Gallery, three gorgeous peaks jut up above the ground, which are like three beautiful young ladies standing in a line to waiting for something. The sight is called Three Sisters, with the eldest one carrying a child on her back, the middle one holding a baby in her arms and the youngest one in her pregnancy. Married with soldiers servicing far from home, they are waiting for the returning of their husbands.
At the end of the natural gallery, there is a hill slope covered with lush forests with jagged rocks scattered around, where you could come across some wild monkeys gathering for leisure. Some of them hang out at the tree tops, and some crouches by the railings, without any fear for visitors. You are not expected to feed the monkeys as they are greedy and a bit aggressive.
The tram ride is a highlight to tour through the Ten-Mile Gallery. You could sit back on the mini train to embrace the picturesque scenery unfolding in front of you. The slow-paced tram is the best option for travelers with walking issues, and only 40 minutes are needed to finish the whole sightseeing in the valley. By the way, the train costs an extra fee that is not included in the entrance ticket. However, for hiking lovers, this 2.5-km-long plank walk is moderate to cover, and trekking for a round trip takes no more than 1.5 hours. You could stop at any spot to stay longer to take great pictures.
From Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station (near Zhangjiajie Railway Station), you can take a direct bus to Suoxiyu Nature Reserve.
Take a taxi from Zhangjiajie downtown to Suoxiyu may cost CNY100.
- In rainy days, you are suggested to take the tram to tour the valley as it might be slippery by walking on the plank road.
- At the end of the tram ride, you could make further exploration to Tianzi Mountain by trekking all the way up.
- It is quite necessary to have a tour guide with you, as the sights in Ten-Mile Gallery could be discovered in a more interesting way by their informative interpretation.