Kunming Stone Forest Park is located in Shilin Yi Autonomous County, 78 km from Kunming. The Park encompasses the Stone Forest, the Heisongyan Scenic Area, the Flying Dragon Waterfall (Dadieshui) Scenic Area, and the Changhu Scenic Area.
In addition to being a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, the Kunming Stone Forest has also been listed in the Global Geopark Network by UNESCO. Furthermore, it was one of the first tourist destinations to be designated by the State Council as a “Natural Site of National Importance,” receiving a 5A ranking.
About 300 million years ago, the Stone Forest was merely a vast ocean. The karst terrain that can be seen today was formed over the course of a long and slow evolution.
The main attractions of the Stone Forest include Small Stone Forest, Big Stone Forest, Stone Forest Long Lake, Bushao Mountain, Plum Garden, Qifeng Cave, and Zhiyun Cave. The Big and Small Stone Forests are located in the center of the park. The Naiji Stone Forest is about 12 kilometers north of the two stone forests while the Dadieshui Waterfall is about 29 kilometers southwest. Changhu Lake is about 26 kilometers southeast of the center of the two stone forests. The famous Ashima statue can be found in fengcong landscape within the Small Stone Forest. The mystical forces of nature have also created unique natural formations. With a bit of imagination, you can spot stones that look like the Monk from Journey to the West, a stone prison, a phoenix combing its wings, and a lingzhi mushroom. There are many protected plants (level two) that can be found in the park.
I've been to the Stone Forest many times and although when entering the park it may feel a bit like a tourist trap, there's areas in the back that, even during high season, are usually extremely quiet and can be explored without being surrounded by the crowds.
The landscape is unique and different from many nearly areas that also feature karst rock formations. Definitely worth a visit for those who haven't been yet.