Zharu Valley, Jiuzhaigou
Part of the Jiuzhai Valley National Park system, Zharu Valley (扎如沟) offers tourists a completely different experience from the usual scenic area in China:
Whereas the main valleys in the Jiuzhai Park feature wooden-planked, set paths accessible via a ride on a crowded bus, the Zharu pathways are small dirt trails not often trodden by tourists.
Newly opened to tourists in 2009, Zharu is billed as the home of Jiuzhai's eco-tourism, and to that end, very few tourists are allowed into the valley, and then only for guided hiking and backpacking expeditions.
A few of the reasons to take an excursion into the Zharu Valley include the opportunity to witness authentic Tibetan culture, see the variety of 40% of all seed plant families in China, and most importantly, of course, the fresh air and amazing views.
The hikes into Zharu Valley can take from one to three days to complete, with the shorter hikes suitable for moderately fit visitors and the three-day hike requiring more strenuous activity.
Prices for the hikes range from RMB380 to 1270 depending on the length of the hike, and include park entrance, guides, and gear and food needed for the trip.