Covering a total area of 2600 plus square kilometers of land, Stone Forest is one of the largest stone forests in the world and an important tourist attraction in Yunnan province. The stone forest was formed due to the corrosion and combing of limestone caused by the sea water. This process produced a myriad of spectacular natural abstracts like sculptures which have now turned to become a forest of stones. Examination by Chinese and foreign geologists have verified that (the Shilin) Stone Forest is over 270 million years old.
The place used to be an ocean, but 2 million years ago during the long Geological Period from the late Permian Period, the ocean sunk in and the giant rock formations appeared. During this moment the rocks were progressively tattered away with water, forming the odd rock formations known as the Shilin stone forest today. The origin of the Stone Forest is also the subject of an old legend. Long, long ago, in an attempt to flood the farmland of Lunan, the evil monster Asabe used his magic whip to drive a group of stone pinnacles to a place where they would obstruct the current of the Nanpan River. A hero of the Sani people, on hearing the news, rushed to the spot and fought the monster. Asabe was finally defeated and had to flee, leaving behind him the pinnacles that still bore the scars of his whip. These became the Stone Forest.
As you enter the stone forest, you will be amazed by the crystal clear lake that welcomes you. On the east side of the lake, there are pinnacles of limestone that shoots up forming a spectacular view. Going beyond the lake, you would see the Lion Pool. The Lion Pool is a beautiful pool within a stone boulder shaped like a lion; hence it was called the Lion Pool.
Once you are inside (the Shilin) Stone Forest, you feel like you are in a different planet full of stone formations. The variety of stone formations here resembles different figures like human beings, beasts, flowers or whatever you can imagine. Going further deep into the forest is a large lawn filled with lush growth of bamboos and trees; Mountain flowers are also present in this region during the spring and autumn seasons.
From afar, it really looks like a dense forest but as you walk closer, you will find "trees" are all slender stone pinnacles. The sight is vast covering some 350 kilometers. The Yi and Sani ethnic group who live there are hardworking and good at singing and dancing. Their folklore and culture are colorful and multifarious, backed up by a long history.
This area's altitude is 1760 meters. This results in perennially pleasant weather, with the annually average temperature of 15.6 Celsius. The Stone Forest is connected with Kunming both by highway and railway, enjoying an easily accessible transport.
Every year, around the 24th and 25th day of the sixth lunar month, the Sani people gather in the Stone Forest to celebrate the "Torch Festival". Visitors are welcome to enjoy the folk dances and the wrestling competitions of the Sani youngsters.
Opening Hours: 08:30 to 18:00
Admission Fee: CNY 140