Five Flower Lake, Sichuan, China

Lake Locations:

China - Southwest China -

Also known as:  Wuhua Hai, Wuhua Lake

China’s Jiuzhaigou National Park is a protected nature reserve with a beautiful and pristine collection of natural wonders. Among those are many placid and sparkling lakes, including Five Flower Lake, as well as 17 waterfalls, dozens of species of exotic animals, and steep and rugged valleys that seem untouched by humanity–and are truly worth the time it takes to visit this remote location. Jiuzhaigou National Park is located in the county of Jiuzhai in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Prefecture in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

Jiuzhaigou Valley was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992; and in 1997, under UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme, the valley was formally recognized as a member of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in Asia and the Pacific. Jiuzhaigou Valley, which covers more than 278 square miles (720 square kilometers), was created by many forces of nature over time: from the glacial lakes to the hydrological valleys, to the fault lines that this area rests on with their unpredictable tectonic activity, it is an area of incredible elevations and stunning views, made of three smaller valleys within it: the Rize Valley, the Zechawa Valley and the Shuzheng Valley.

Five Flower Lake is in the Rize Valley, with three sides closed off by the surrounding mountains. It is situated in the northern part of the province of Sichuan, which is geographically close to the center of mainland China. Although tourism in this part of the huge country is very popular, the area is still rural. The national park’s main goal it to preserve the area, so the rules in place allow visitors to view the unforgettable natural features up close but do not allow contact with the lakes or other unique features. Instead, visitors are encouraged to take a walking tour of each feature to get up close, as well as capture the trip’s moments in photographs. The park is kept in immaculate condition, with stringent rules in place to preserve the area’s sensational beauty.

Five Flower Lake, also called Wuhua Hai or Wuhua Lake, is one of dozens of natural freshwater lakes in the Rize Valley that are part of noteworthy tours of the area. Although it is only an average-sized lake with an area of 22.2 acres (90,000 square meters) and only 16.4 feet (5 meters) at its greatest depth, it is considered to be a jewel of the Jiuzhaigou region. Looking into its crystal-clear waters, the lake bottom is plainly visible. The lakebed is very blue and very clear, and the bottom of the lake is covered with ancient trees that have fallen in and settled there over time. The lakes in this area have unusual compositions such that their contents tend to be preserved in the crystal waters. The shallow lake has an observation area that allows visitors an excellent close-up view of this memorable feature. Its surface is mirror-like and the waters appear very still.

Although Five Flower Lake is found in a section of national park that features more than 100 multicolored lakes nestled in snowy mountains, bamboo forests and dense high-mountain deciduous forests, it is often the one that locals and tourists enjoy the most and return to again and again. When viewed from up close, the deep blues and greens and icy clear waters are impressive on their own; however, when sunlight reflects on the water, or where certain minerals are found in higher concentrations, its waters also appear jade green or very dark green, as well as light yellow on occasion. It’s said that the colors resemble a peacock’s feathers. The name of the lake is derived from the idea that at least five distinct colors, which make it resemble a flower garden featuring five intense colors of flowers, can be seen at any time. In China, these gorgeous lakes with deep blue, bright turquoise and emerald green waters are called haizi, meaning “sons of the sea.”

Local legends say that Five Flower Lake is a holy lake; the whole valley is often called a fairyland. This lake’s myth can be attributed to the steam fault that was discovered within the lake. Long Lake (also known as Chang Lake) is a larger lake connected to Five Flower Lake via this underwater tunnel; it allows water from a subterranean hot spring to fill Five Flower Lake–and therefore it becomes unlikely that this lake will freeze over, even when all the lakes surrounding it do. Likewise, Five Flower Lake does not dry up when its neighboring lakes do. Studies have also shown that the tunnel through which the water travels is heavy with travertine, which leaches into the water during passage. So although the water technically flows from Long Lake to Five Flower Lake, the lime content is more than 20 times higher in this charmed body of water. Visitors who are looking for it can often see water bubbling up from what appears to be a deep well in the bottom of the lake, which is the entryway for the lime-rich water.

Five Flower Lake and its surrounds is home to more than 140 bird species, exotic plants and animals, as well as the endangered giant panda, golden snub-nosed monkey and tapir. Although its hospitable temperate climate is enjoyable to visitors, the valley’s protected status allows forested valleys and lush grasslands to grow undisturbed by major development. Within the Jiuzhaigou Valley, only about 1,000 resident reside. The name of the valley means “Valley of Nine Villages,” which acknowledges the nine ancient Tibetan settlements once found in the area. Aba County has about 70,000 residents, with more than three-dozen monasteries present. The city of Aba is the prefecture”s major transportation center, which allows many tourists and vacationers to visit this otherwise-isolated area.

Jiuzhaigou Valley is a major attraction at the northeastern end of the Sichuan province’s scenic region. Its location is only about 62 miles (100 kilometers) north of Chendu, which is the capital city of Sichuan. At 8,110 feet (2,472 meters), Five Flower Lake is within the Min Shan mountain range, in the series of natural lakes and multiple-level waterfalls that make up some of the most indescribable scenery in the world. Panda Lake feeds directly into Five Flower Lake; the short Peacock River leads out of the lake and feeds the Pearl Shoal Waterfall, one of the most well-loved waterfalls in the park. Visitors can use the sturdy wooden walkways to descend alongside the waterfalls and continue on to observe the next attractions up close.

Travelers to this area often stay in Jiuzhaigou, and the area is much more accessible now than it used to be. Transportation by long-distance bus route is available in the area. For those who are interested in flying, the Jiuzhaigou Airport is located not far from the reserve. Local goods, foods and other cultural bonuses await travelers to Jiuzhaigou, including renowned performances by local artists and dancers. Souvenirs range from artisan-crafted jewelry to decor and clothing. Hiking and camping are available in Zaru Valley in the national park; camping is not allowed in the Jiuzhaigou Valley, nor is lodging of any kind available. However, close by in Jiuzhaigou are many available hotels and accommodations, as are resorts and youth hostels. Because this area has gained great popularity in recent years, it’s important to plan well in advance. The national park is open all year, so tourists who are planning a trip to this general area should make a point to travel to this valley and experience its otherworldly landscapes.

Things to do at Five Flower Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Waterfall
  • National Park

Five Flower Lake Photo Gallery

Five Flower Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 22 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 8,110 feet

Average Depth: 16 feet

Lake Area-Population: 1,000

Trophic State: Hyperoligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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