Hukou Waterfall of Yellow River between Shaanxi and Shanxi

Why is Hukou Waterfall of Yellow River So Special?

  1. Hukou Waterfall is the largest yellowish waterfall in the world and the second largest waterfall in China next to Huangguoshu Waterfall in Guizhou Province.
  2. It is a naturally formed waterfall when the mighty Yellow River, the mother river of China, flows through Jinxia Grand Canyon on its middle reaches. 

Brief Introduction of Hukou Waterfall of Yellow River

Located in the intersection of Shanxi (山西) Province and Shaanxi (陕西) Province, Hukou Waterfall is divided into two parts by the Yellow River. The two parts are not connected by a bridge, so you can visit ether Shanxi part or Shaanxi Part.

Hukou Waterfall is the largest yellowish waterfall in the world and the second largest waterfall in China next to Huangguoshu Waterfall in Guizhou Province. Its tableau has appeared in many Chinese paintings and once printed on the Chinese current of 50-yuan bill. Featured wonders in Hukou Waterfall have attracted incomputable tourists to appreciate the natural splendor, making it a Key National Scenic Spot , an excellent tourist attraction, geological relic reserve , and an AAAA Scenic Spot.

How Hukou Waterfall Forms

From its headstream in Qinghai Province, the Yellow River runs all the way eastwards, carrying the history and civilization of 5,000 years across the Qin-jin Gorge in the northwest Loess Plateau. The width of the waterfall changes with the season, usually 30 metres (98 ft) wide but increasing to 50 m (164 ft) during flood season. It has a height of over 20 m (66 ft). When the Yellow River approaches the Hukou Mountain, blocked by mountains on both sides, its width is abruptly narrowed down to 20–30 m (66–98 ft). The water’s velocity increases, and then plunges over a narrow opening on a cliff, forming a waterfall 15 m (49 ft) high and 20 m (66 ft) wide, as if water were pouring down from a huge teapot. Hence it gets the name Hukou (literally, “flask mouth”) Waterfall.

Main Attractions of Hukou Waterfall of Yellow River

Hukou Waterfall presents us such a heart-shaking sight with its ten magical attractions which are called Ten Wonders in Hukou Waterfall. Some attractions can only be seen in the Shanxi part of Hukou Waterfall. Main attractions include:

Amazing Dragon Cave (Long Dong)

One small cave is located in the front-left side of Hukou Waterfall. It is said that there once to be an evil Dragon making trouble and causing floods. When the King Yu came to tame the flood and arrest the dragon, the dragon escaped and scurried into the mountain, leaving this deep cave. Compared with the overview of Hukou Waterfall from higher place, the scenery from Dragon Cave is quite different.

Admission Fee: Extra 20 RMB
Location: In the Shanxi (山西) part of Hukou Waterfall only

Ten-mile Dragon Trough (Shi Li Long Cao)

There is an about 40-meter wide, 15-meter deep trough inlaid into the riverbed between Hukou Waterfall and Mengmen Mountain. An old history goes that this trough is made by a dragon. Eroded by water for hundreds of thousands of years, the rocks on each side of the Dragon Trough appears in various shapes and patterns, which arouses people’s imagination. 

Circumzenithal Arc (Ni Hong Tong Tian)

The sprays due to the repeated impact of Hukou Waterfall, in addition to the refraction effect of the shine always create a beautiful rainbow – honored as Circumzenithal Arc. Sometimes liking a colorful bridge across the river, sometimes liking a rich multicolored decoration above the shrouded mist and sometimes liking a long dragon plunging into the water, the rainbow never fails to show off its beauty. Visiting Hukou Waterfall around 10:00 am in a sunny day, it’s easy to savor an amazing rainbow. If you are lucky enough, you can even see double rainbows.

Seasons and Best Time to Visit Hukou Waterfall

Hukou Waterfall appears very differently with different volumes of water from the upper reaches and temperature in each season. Due to large rainfall in summer and the frozen ice in winter, the scenic spot might be closed for the sake of tourists’ safety. So the best seasons range from April to May and September to November.

In the early spring, the frozen river melts and drafts with the raining water, likes an army of soldiers and horses galloping to the far. Soon, the peach trees nearby begin to blossom.

In summer, the gap of the waterfall increases dramatically. As the strong turbulent water rushes downwards with a large amounts of sprays and smokes. What a tableau vibrant.

In autumn, the sky is rather blue and the air is quite fresh. Surrounding mountain spring and brook converges into a one stream shows a relatively light music. Bursts of autumn breezes rustling through brings you smell of wildness.

In the winter, ice-decorated Hukou Waterfall reveals its charm. The subsidiary waterfalls freeze into icicles on the top of cliffs, turning to be fantastic images in various postures on different animals, crouching, standing or sitting.

How to get to Hukou Waterfall of Yellow River

Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)

If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to the Hukou Waterfall of Yellow River between Shaanxi and Shanxi in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Traveler

  • By Train

    Travelers can take bullet trains or regular trains from Beijing, Xian, Taiyuan, Pingyao to Linfen (临汾) or Yan’an(延安), then transfer to Hukou Waterfall.

    Beijing Xian (about 2 hours) Pingyao (about 2 hours) Taiyuan
    To Linfen D2001(7:52)
    G605 (10:28)
    To Yanan T41 (14:22)
    T7 (16:40),
    Z43 (20:12)
    \ K1573(09:37)
    K548(22: 15)
  • By Driving or by Coach

    • 135km From Linfen(临汾): The driving journey from Linfen to Hukou takes about 2~3 hours. There is also daily coach to Hukou from Linfen, taking about 5 hours, with stopover in Jinxian County.
    • 400km from Xian: It costs about 4~5 hours by driving or coach.
    • 380km from Yan’an: There is a coach leaving Yan’an South Station directly for Hukou Waterfall in the early morning.

Useful Travel Tips

  1. From May to October flood season is the best time to visit, when water flow and velocity increase, sometime swelling the fall into a 50-meter-wide spectacular scene. But the temperature is quite cool in this place; you’d better bring a coat. 
  2. Nearby Attraction – Mengmen Mountain
    In the downstream of Hukou Waterfall standing two huge rocks are Mengmen Mountain. The Yellow River is divided into two branches flowing along with two sides of the rocks and then become one again. Legend has it that the two rocks are originally a mountain which was split by King Yu to get a more fluent stream. Mengmen Mountain is 300-meter long, and 10-meter high above the water level. There is a large statue of a turtle carrying a statue of King Yu. On the southern stony cliff is carved with four Chinese words “卧镇狂流” which means that Mengmen Mountain stands steadfastly and unshakably against the rapids of the river.

Top Attractions in Shanxi

Edited by Bella Ren/任新月