Huangguoshu Waterfall (黃果树大瀑 [Huángguǒshù Dà Pù])

Anshun, Guizhou, China

About Huangguoshu Waterfall (黃果树大瀑 [Huángguǒshù Dà Pù])


Hiking Distance: 2km loop
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2009-04-26
Date last visited: 2009-04-26

Waterfall Latitude: 25.9889
Waterfall Longitude: 105.66979

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The Huangguoshu Waterfall (黃果树大瀑 [Huángguǒshù Dà Pù]; Yellow Fruit Tree Waterfall) was perhaps the most famous waterfall in China.

The crowds here certainly made it feel famous, but after having seen it in person, we can totally easily see why.

Huangguoshu_088_04252009 - The Huangguoshu Waterfall
The Huangguoshu Waterfall

As for how this waterfall got its name after a yellow fruit tree, our guide said it was really more of a legend than anything as there were none growing around the falls these days.

Perhaps they did exist in the past.

Sporting dimensions at 74m tall and 81m wide with a very classic and satisfying rectangular shape, Huangguoshu Falls appeared to be certainly one of the country’s most impressive waterfalls.

And as far as Julie and I were concerned, it was also the star attraction of the Guizhou Province.

Further adding to its allure was the presence of other cascades both above and below the main falls.

Huangguoshu_028_04252009 - Context of many people at the main lookout at the bottom of the Huangguoshu Waterfall
Context of many people at the main lookout at the bottom of the Huangguoshu Waterfall

We even could walk right behind the massive wall of water through a travertine cave.

And under the right conditions (the province was notorious for cloudy days as noted by the name of its capital Guiyang (贵阳 [Guìyáng]; meaning Precious Sun), majestic rainbows can appear in its mist above the Rhinoceros Pool.

We did manage to catch a glimpse of such a rainbow despite the clouds doing their best to keep the sun hiding (see photo at the top of this page).

Our Self-Guided Loop of the Huangguoshu Waterfall

During our visit, we began with a walk through a Chinese garden area before reaching a break area bustling with people.

Huangguoshu_022_04252009 - Chinese garden
Chinese garden

The garden featured well-manicured plants (almost bonzai-like) amidst a large lawn area interspersed with walkways crossing through it.

From the break area at the far side of the garden, we had a choice of taking a funicular ride to the bottom of the gorge or walking down several flights of steps to get there. Julie and I opted to do the latter.

Once we were at the bottom, we managed to get those classic views of the Huangguoshu Waterfall and its smaller downstream cascades from a variety of viewing angles.

The Baishui River (白水河 [Báishuǐ Hé]; White Water River) twisted its way past the immediate viewing area as part of the walkway flanked its course downstream towards the funicular.

Huangguoshu_123_04262009 - Profile view of the Huangguoshu Waterfall just before entering the Water Curtain Cave
Profile view of the Huangguoshu Waterfall just before entering the Water Curtain Cave

Our viewing experience was definitely a bit tense thanks to the multitude of mega tour groups so even though the views here were nice, it wasn’t easy to enjoy it.

Indeed, we came to appreciate the fact that giant Chinese tours with tour leaders speaking into megaphones to their crowds were the norm as was the lack of peace and quiet.

When we had our fill of the direct vantage points by the river, Julie and I then went on a a very well developed (and still crowded) walkway that looped behind the Huangguoshu Waterfall itself via the so-called Water Curtain Cave.

We went in a clockwise direction so the path climbed up along the cliff edge for more top down and closer views of the falls.

Huangguoshu_139_04262009 - The Water Curtain Cave behind the Huangguoshu Waterfall
The Water Curtain Cave behind the Huangguoshu Waterfall

Then, as the path proceeded to go into the Water Curtain Cave, we got that rare chance to experience a waterfall this grand from its backside.

Eventually, the trail descended to the other side of the Baishui River for more closer angled views of the falls that were quite different from the more popular views on the other side of the river.

Once Julie and I crossed the bridge over the river and were back in the main viewing area to complete the loop, the funicular ride back up to the rest area at the top of the ascent looked even more attractive.

We resisted and took the stairs instead, but little did we know that on the rest of our waterfalling adventures in China, such “easier” options would be prevalent.

Huangguoshu_162_04262009 - Last look at the Huangguoshu Waterfall right before going back up to the car park area
Last look at the Huangguoshu Waterfall right before going back up to the car park area

Indeed, there were plenty of places where people would ride in scooters, trams, cable cars, or funiculars like this one.

It seemed as if the folks here would do anything to keep from walking (I wonder if all the smog and cigarette smoke made it easy for people to be short of breath).

Timing A Visit to the Huangguoshu Waterfall

Anyways, Julie and I visited the Huangguoshu Waterfall in April, which we came to realize was a pretty lousy time of year to go waterfalling in the country.

However, this waterfall surprised us with its flow, and being that it was on a major river, we have reason to believe that its flow would be year-round and reliable.

Huangguoshu_025_04252009 - Elevated view of a healthy-flowing Huangguoshu Waterfall in late April 2009
Elevated view of a healthy-flowing Huangguoshu Waterfall in late April 2009

Nonetheless, the rainy season for this area was supposed to be May to October, in which case, we would have probably seen this waterfall thundering.

But as you can see from our pictures on this page, the average flow in April (not sure if this was unusual or not) did just fine.

That said, I had heard of other stories about the Huangguoshu Waterfall having disappointingly light in flow in drier years in the month of April.

Authorities

The Huangguoshu Waterfall resides in the Anshun County near Anshun of the Guizhou Province, China. To my knowledge, I have not found a reliable official government authority administering this area (that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist). However, for the latest conditions or other inquiries, you may want to try this website.

Huangguoshu_008_04252009 - Looking right across the river towards some wide but low cascades fronting some buildings belonging to some village upstream of the Huangguoshu Waterfall
Huangguoshu_010_04252009 - Zoomed in look at part of the cascades upstream of the Huangguoshu Waterfall
Huangguoshu_015_04252009 - Looking over the brink of some cascades further upstream of the Huangguoshu Waterfall
Huangguoshu_018_04252009 - Context of the river ultimately responsible for the presence of the Huangguoshu Waterfall
Huangguoshu_019_04252009 - Looking in the distance towards some terraced slopes of rice fields near the Huangguoshu Waterfall
Huangguoshu_020_04252009 - Julie and our guide Li about to go through the Chinese garden en route to the main viewing areas for the Huangguoshu Waterfall
Huangguoshu_034_04252009 - Closeup look at the Huangguoshu Waterfall near its base
Huangguoshu_046_04252009 - The Huangguoshu Waterfall fronted by some smaller cascades as seen from the main viewing area
Huangguoshu_057_04252009 - Portrait view of the Huangguoshu Waterfall as seen from the main viewing area
Huangguoshu_083_04252009 - More top down view of the Huangguoshu Waterfall
Huangguoshu_107_04252009 - Looking ahead at folks about to enter the Water Curtain Cave while being dwarfed by the Huangguoshu Waterfall
Huangguoshu_112_04262009 - Getting closer to the back of the Huangguoshu Waterfall from a lookout a few paces before the Water Curtain Cave entrance
Huangguoshu_124_04262009 - The walking path that goes right behind the Huangguoshu Waterfall and into the Water Curtain Cave
Huangguoshu_134_04262009 - Looking downstream past part of the Huangguoshu Waterfall towards the intermediate cascades below
Huangguoshu_136_04262009 - Inside the wet and damp Water Curtain Cave
Huangguoshu_149_04262009 - View of the Huangguoshu Waterfall from the other side of the river (as well as the other side of the Water Curtain Cave)
Huangguoshu_003_jx_04262009 - Checking out the precious setting sun at the accommodation near the Huangguoshu Waterfall

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We managed to get to Huangguoshu Waterfall on an escorted tour after basing ourselves in the chaotic city of Guiyang.

We also spent the night near the waterfall for a more relaxing pace to our visit though we acknowledge that most tours actually make this a day trip out of Guiyang.

It took us about 2 hours by car to get from Guiyang to the falls.

However, it took us a little longer to reach the Huangguoshu Waterfall on the morning we came here because we also made a detour to the Longgong (Dragon Palace) Caves.

For geographical context, we arrived in Guiyang after an hour long flight from Nanning. Nanning was a two-hour flight from Hong Kong, 1,859km (20 hours drive or 2.5 hours flight) southwest of Shanghai, and 2,174km (22.5 hours drive or 3 hours flight) south of Beijing.

Direct view of the falls from the crowded viewpoint


View of the falls and gorge from nearby the tunnel that goes behind the falls


View from right behind the waterfall


View from the other side of the Baishui River

Trip Planning Resources


Tagged with: anshun, guiyang, guizhou, china, waterfall, famous, yellow fruit tree



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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