Grand Hukou Waterfall of the Yellow River
December 23, 2010 | Posted by Vicky
The most famous waterfall on China's most famous river, the Hukou waterfall is a unique sight on the Yellow River. Located between Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces in central China, the Chinese collective unconscious regards the falls as a symbol of the spirit of the Chinese people.
What's in a name?
Covering an area of 23 square miles, the Hukou falls is 165 feet wide and 165 feet deep, which makes it China's second largest waterfall, following the Huangguoshu Waterfall of southern Guizhou provnce. The Hukou falls are famous because the rolling water of the Yellow River is fettered by two banks that suddenly become narrow at the bottom of the river. This causes the water to surge out as if pouring from a huge kettle -- and for this it is called Hukou waterfall, because in Chinese, "hu" means "kettle" and "kou" means "mouth."
When's the best time to visit?
The scale and beauty of the Hukou Waterfall may change due to different seasons and water yield. Therefore the best time to view the Hukou Waterfall is divided into two periods: during the spring from April to May, when there are peach flowers all over the mountains and the falls' icy cliff begins to thaw; the other is during the fall from September to November, when the rainy season has just ended, causing many small streams to gather together and create picture-perfect rainbows. During these two periods, the water yield is huge and stable, so the width of the falls can reach nearly two thirds of a mile.
The special winter charm of the Hukou Waterfall
The frozen Hukou Waterfalls during the winter, above.
During the cold and bitter winter, the falls develop frozen water columns that hang upside down from the cliff like icy peaks of different sizes. The yellow water of the Yellow River rushes down along the big icicles, and the spray splashes form beautiful rainbows in the sunshine, in different intervals appearing and disappearing. Small wonder the colorful and sparkling scenery of Hukou falls is famous for inspiring imaginations throughout China!