The Earth Forest in Yuanmou County in Chuxiong Prefecture is a scenic spot at the provincial level. Earth Forest, as a representative landscape in the county, comprises Xinhua, Bangguo, Wanbao and Tiger Leaping Beach, covering an area of 50 square kilometers. The Earth Forest came into being since geological movement and soil erosion one or two million years ago. Its shape looks like an immense forest and the main component is earth, so it is named Earth Forest. The Earth Forest, the Stone Forest in Kunming and the Colorful Sand Forest in Luliang are called “the Three Forests in Yunnan”.
The whole landscapes of the Earth Forest in Yuanmou are mainly castle, screen, curtain and column, of which the highest is about 40 meters and very grand. The shapes of the Earth Forest look like vivid persons and animals as people look at them closely. Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture is between Dianchi Lake in Kunming and Erhai Lake in Dali. It’s an important hub of middle Yunnan. Chengkun Railway，Guangda Railway and Kunwan Road cross it.
It’s been regarded as one of the well-known cradle of humanity and a treasure house of fossils of ancient living beings. Lufeng Fossil Ramapithecus about 8 million years ago, Yuanmou Man (Homo Erectus Yuanmouensis) about 1.7 million years ago and Lufeng dinosaurs of 1.8 billion years ago were excavated here. Many archaeologists from home and abroad regard Chuxiong Prefecture as the cradle of humanity and “The home of ancient living beings”. Huge Mallet White Tower of Dayao built in the Tang Dynasty is rare in shape in Chinese ancient buildings. The large bronze statue of Confucius at Wenmiao Temple in Shiyang Town is the only one that is well preserved in mainland China.
It is one of the most splendid soil forests in China, covering an area of 50 square kilometers. It was formed by geological movement and soil erosion one or two million years ago. It is named for its shape like immense forest and the main composition of the expansion earth. The representative landscape of the Soil Forest is distributed to Xinhua, Bangguo, and the Tiger Leaping Beach. The forest in these aeas has distinctive features. Some are grand and spectacular, some are sharp and scraped, and others are of various shapes, like the waking lion, the tiger, the Roman Catholic Church, the Yuanmon Man and so on.
Looks like a castle.
How to get there:
Yuanmon is about 200 kilometers away form Kunming City. Since there is no bus going directly to the Soil Forest, visitors have three choices for transportation. First, take the bus from Kunming Panjiawan bus station to Yuanmon County which is still 20 kilometers away from the Forest. Then, take a taxi or special bus to the forest, and finally take a carriage into the Forest. Second, you can take a long-distance coach from Kunming to Panzhihua, get off at the Yangwumao stop, which is still 6 kilometers from the Soil Forest. Then you can take a minibus or carriage into the forest. Third, you can take the train from Kunming to Panzhihua and get off at the Huanguawu stop, and then take a minibus or carriage into the forest. The train usually gets there in the evening. So you can spend a night there and go sight seeing the next morning.
Travel Tips:1、The best time to visit the soil forest is from November to the following March as the weather will be warm and dry here. If it is rainy, the road will be too muddy and cause problems. In April to May, when it is hot and dry, the sunny days offer great opportunities for photography. From June to October, it often rains here and the soil hills are soft and weak, which is not good news for the visitors.
2、It is extremely important to take a compass to locate the directions in the soil forest. Make certain obvious marks at the parting of the ways so that you may have a way to look back. Banguo and Xinhua Soil Forest belong to the depopulated area, in which there are no residents. So, you had better keep in a group and do not go out all alone. If you are lost in the soil forest, walk from the narrow parts to the wider ones, and it will be easier for you to find the main path.
3、It is quite dangerous to climb up the soil hills especially during the rainy season. Even when it is dry, visitors should choose these hills with slow slopes and go up from the places of shrubs and bushes.
4、It is recommended that visitors may tour the soil forest either in the morning or late in the afternoon since the temperature of the soil may rise high at noon. Sometimes temperature in a day may differ 10—15℃.It is extremely hot at noon and relative cool and comfortable in the morning and late in the afternoon.
5、Visitors had better take on long boots since there are too many soft fine sands on the ground.