Baofeng Lake (宝峰湖) is an artificial lake formed in the 1970s by the locals who filled the small faults of the lake with concrete to create a dam to store water. It is located in Suoxi Valley Natural Reserve (索溪峪自然保护区), part of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area (武陵源风景区) in Zhangjiajie City. Because of its association with the Baofeng Mountain Range, the lake bears the name of Baofeng. With an average depth of 72m, Baofeng Lake covers an area of 30 hectares, and can hold 6 million cubic metres of water at full capacity.
We arrived at the Baofeng Lake Scenic Area (宝峰湖风景区) after about 1.5 hours drive from Junsheng Sandstone Painting Gallery (军声画院). Our tour guide told us that we would be cruising along the lake for this attraction, BUT there was no lake that we could see upon arrival? Well, that’s because to get to the boarding point, we would have to walk for at least 30 minutes first, i.e. exercise before we could relax on the boat and enjoy the scenery – 先苦后甜!
Fortunately the trail to the lake was a manmade concrete pavement, but the not so good thing was we needed to walk uphill, i.e. more tiring. After walking for about 15 minutes, it looked as if the trail had ended, BUT still no lake in sight. That’s because now we had to climb up and down numerous steps (I forgot how many) before we could get to the lake area for the scenic cruise. Oh no not again… >.< Guess we didn’t have any choice anyway, since the lake lies 85m above the ground in the Baofeng Mountain Range, and attains an altitude of 585m.
I didn’t take too many photos during this leg of the journey because 1. I had to concentrate and watch my steps, 2. the view during the climb was very similar to what you see in the right photo above, just the forest and the steps haha. Fortunately it was just about 10 minutes before we finally reached the boarding point of the lake cruise, but the total exercise time of 40 minutes or so already made me “half-drenched” in my perspiration, so it was really nice and much appreciated to get to the lake! Hope you can chill by seeing the beautiful photos below too. 😉
It was an interesting and interactive 20 minutes on the boat, with the local Tujia lady (阿妹) introducing the beautiful scenery round the lake region. Sometimes, I think we just have to be a bit wilder with our imagination to be able to see that the “pile of rocks” actually resemble something, e.g. a peacock or fairy? 🙂 Furthermore, we also passed by a few ethnic houses, like the one you see in one of the photos above, and the 阿妹 would try to get volunteers from one of us to sing so as to attract the lady (阿妹) or guy (阿哥) to come out to duet with you. Seems like passengers on our boat were quite shy and there was 1 house where the 阿妹 couldn’t come out of the house as no male passengers dared to sing to her, probably because they feared that if they didn’t sing well, they would have to remain in Baofeng Lake to be a slave to the 阿妹. Haha…
After the boat cruise, it was another short walk down to Shan Yue Pavilion (山月亭) where we saw live Chinese giant salamander (娃娃鱼) in the pond – the largest salamander and amphibian in the world. It is endemic to rocky, mountain streams and lakes in China. Due to habitat loss, pollution, and over-collection, as it is considered a delicacy and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is now critically endangered.
There is also a mini booth for visitors to pray and draw a divination lot for themselves, by giving a small token in the donation box near the exit. Of course before you leave the attraction, there is a souvenir shop for you shop in.
For visitors who really do not have the stamina to walk all the way in to board the boat, you can actually pay a local to bring you there comfortably in a sedan (轿子). I do not know the price though as none in our tour group paid for this, but I did see a few sedans along the way, seems pretty interesting to be treated like a king or queen with big strong men carrying you through the mountain range. 😛
Last picture here at Baofeng Lake Scenic Area is of the beautiful waterfall near the exit:
Picturesque view of waterfall by the Baofeng Lake Scenic Area