Tengchong Tropical Volcano Geological Park is located in Tengchong County, Yunnan Province, China. It is a unique natural landscape known for its spectacular volcanic geological features and diverse plant resources.
Tengchong County, often referred to as a "natural geological museum," is situated at the convergence line of the highly significant geological structure zone of the Indian plate and the Eurasian plate, where underground faults are highly developed, and volcanic activities are extremely intense. It is one of the most famous volcanic dense areas in China.
The Tengchong volcanoes were formed from the Late Pliocene to the Holocene, approximately 3.4 million to 10,000 years ago. Among them, there are four volcanoes formed around 10,000 years ago. The earlier-formed volcanoes have mostly been eroded due to prolonged intense weathering. Only six remain with observable dome-shaped or volcanic mountain features.
The area is scattered with volcanoes of various sizes, forming a massive volcanic group landscape. After enduring long geological evolution and witnessing significant changes in the environment, including multiple magma eruptions and tectonic movements, numerous geological relics have been left behind, creating a magnificent natural landscape.
There are a total of 97 dormant volcanoes in the area, of which 23 volcanoes have well-preserved craters. Additionally, various types of lava plateaus contribute to making this one of the most concentrated, magnificent, and typical volcanic geothermal areas in China. It is one of the four major volcanic groups in China and one of the best destinations for exploring volcanic landforms.
The park features a diverse range of volcano types, including volcanic dammed lakes, crater lakes, lava dam waterfalls, and lava fountains, making it the largest dormant natural volcanic museum in China. Many of these landscapes were formed due to volcanic eruptions, giving them unique and distinctive shapes that captivate the eye.
Dakongshan, Xiaokongshan, and Heikongshan are must-visit volcanic landscapes in Tengchong. The three mountains are aligned in a straight line from north to south, with a distance of one km between them. Among them, Dakongshan is the most spectacular, with many boulders near the volcano's crater and lava flows that erupted from the volcano.
Tengchong's Volcano Geological Park mainly includes the Geological Museum, Dakongshan, and Xiaokongshan volcanoes. All building materials used in the scenic area are sourced from volcanic rock, including the entrance gate and every stone slab on the road. To the right of the entrance gate is the museum, which displays various volcanic rocks.
Proceeding along the main road, you will arrive at the crater of Dakongshan volcano. To the right is Xiaokongshan. Dakongshan has an altitude of 2050 metres, with 598 steps leading directly to the top. At the summit, you will see the blue characters "问天" (Ask the Sky). Arriving at the crater, you can overlook the shape of the volcano's caldera, satisfying your curiosity. You can also ride a horse or hike around the crater to enjoy the surrounding mountain scenery.
Xiaokongshan is a flat-topped cone-shaped volcano with an altitude of 1957 metres. The bottom has a diameter of about 350 metres, and the crater has a diameter of 250 metres. The north side has a height difference of 30 metres, and the west side has a height difference of 60 metres. The crater is 60 metres deep.
When walking on the mountain, you can hear echoing footsteps with every heavy step. Due to its smaller size compared to nearby mountains, it is called "Xiaokongshan." The age of its formation is similar to that of Dakongshan, and both are controlled by north-south hidden faults. The erupting magma had fewer volatile components, preventing it from accumulating into a higher cone. The bottom of the volcanic pit retains the original lava lake surface, while the crescent-shaped lava dome extruded later, on the east side, is the result of slow magma intrusion after the main volcanic channel was sealed.
In the Volcano Geological Park, visitors can also take a hot air balloon to see over the volcano group. Under the blue sky, the hot air balloon slowly rises, crossing over the dense forest and hovering over the crater of Dakongshan before finally going above it. In the blue sky in front of the volcano, the colourful hot air balloons float in the air, creating an unforgettable and stunning sight.
Mazhan Township, Tengchong City, Baoshan City, Yunnan Province
Taking a hot air balloon ride depends on luck. The park staff will decide when to stop the hot air balloon from ascending based on the wind speed and direction on that day. Sometimes there are only a few opportunities for rides in the morning.