Wulingyuan is a scenic and historic interest area in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China. The place is known for its more than 3,000 sandstone pillars, canyons and peaks, many of them over 200 feet tall. Among the canyons there are pools and waterfalls, some 40 caves, and two large natural bridges.
Besides the remarkable beauty of its landscape, the region is also important for the fact that it houses various plant and animal species at risk of extinction. Wulingyuan comprises the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the Suoxiyu Natural Reserve, the Tianzishan Natural Reserve and the Yangjiajie Natural Reserve.
Most of the site is sparsely populated and still retains its original features. According to geologists, over 300 million years ago, the region was an ocean. Subsequently, the ocean receded and left sedimentary rocks exposed, which eventually became the current peaks, cliffs and bridges or stone doors through the erosion of rain and wind over millions of years.
There are still lines up the sedimentary ocean waters on some cliffs and fossil corals . The Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. The place inspired the floating Hallelujah Mountains seen in the 2010 movie Avatar.