Hongyuan Grassland (literally red prairie or red plain), located in the middle of the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture at the north of Sichuan, is known as "Gold Sands and Silver Sands" of plateau for its unique natural landscape and abundant natural resources. A plateau at over 4,000m (13,123 feet) above sea level (the highest point being 5,000m or 16,404 feet), stretching for over 8,400 sq.km., the Hongyuan Grasslands is said to be home to over 300,000 herded yak, 20m herded sheep and over 20,000 horses.
The four seasons bring unique dramatic sceneries ranging from a snow covered expanse during the winter to endless flowering meadows in the spring and summer.
On the grassland near Hongyuan, several white Chortens stand in alignment, their white sacred shape contrasting beautifully to the grassland and blue sky. In Hongyuan, apart from visiting these Chortens, you can also rent a horse from Tibetan nomads to ride on the vast grassland.
Hongyuan Grassland got its name when the Red Army passed through here in 1936, during the famous Long March, a tough traverse of grassland where there was no nomads living there at that time. The Premier, Zhou Enlai, named this place the "Red Plain" in order to memorize the Red Army Long March.
Today, the grassland is covered with thousands of cattle and sheep. It is hard to imagine the wild past. When spring falls down the grassland flowers are blooming. The endless green grassland is really colorful. People can enjoy the beautiful landscape, the clear blue sky, wild blooming flowers, limitless pasture, the herds of yarks and sheep wandering here and there. On the grassland near Hongyuan, several white Chortens stand in alignment, their white sacred shape contrasting beautifully to the grassland and blue sky. In Hongyuan, apart from visiting these Chortens, you can also rent a horse from Tibetan nomads to ride on the vast grassland. Here are also many cultural attractions such as Maiwa Temple and Dageze Temple. Along with seeing the vigor of the vast prairie, you can also experience the grandeur and purity of the snow-capped Zhegu Mountain. In this landscape, you can forget the noisy cities and the disgrace or honor of mortal life. You will feel so real and simple in the Hongyuan Grassland that you may leave it thinking it is one of the greatest places to see in China
If you travel to Hongyuan Grassland during your holiday in China, you can ride horses, go fishing or bird watching (there are Black-Necked Cranes and Golden Eagles) and enjoy your Tibetan hosts' dancing and singing. If you time it right, you can join in their annual festival called "The Horse Competitions," on July 1st. At that time, countless horses and people will gather together on the Hongyuan Grassland for a variety of races and games. You can find more information about Aba Prefecture from Northern Sichuan Aba.
If you travel here for natural beauty, you may also want to visit Jiuzhaiou National Park and Huanglong Park, both UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites. If you are headed for Gansu Province, the Zoige Grassland is also on your route. The rivers in both grasslands drain into the headwaters of the Yellow River.
In order to get to Hongyuan you can get on the Nanping - Ma Er Kang bus in Jiuzhai Valley. It should take approx 6 hours to arrive in Hongyuan town. If you're adventurous and able enough a bicycle tour along these grasslands would be perfect!