The Chinese Park Famous For It’s Underground River

Natural beauty buried amongst China’s coal country

Grant Piper

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The entrance to the park’s expansive cave system (Wiki Commons / CC BY 3.0)

Benxi is a city in Liaoning, China with a split personality. On the one hand, Benxi is an important center for the Chinese coal industry. Air quality is often poor. The largest employer in the city is the Benxi Iron and Steel Company. On the other hand, it is a jumping off point to explore some of China’s best natural places and quiet mountains.

One such place is the Benxi Shuidong National Park which is famous for its large stalactite and stalagmite forests and a absolutely massive underground river. There are many large cavern systems in the world that draw in tourists but few have the impressive underground waterways that the Benxi caves boast.

A true subterranean river

Shot of the underground river. (Trip Advisor)

There are many underground rivers but most of them fill caves entirely. This means they are only traversable by highly trained divers and their beauty and mystery are shrouded in complete blackness. The river at Benxi Shuidong National Park is different in that the surface is exposed to open air but it is still within the cave system.

This allows tourists to not only see large swaths of this unique geographic feature but you can also take boat rides along the underground river.

The accessible patch of water is nearly two miles in length and has an average depth of five feet. The water is frigid and not dissimilar to that of open air mountain streams.

(Trip Advisor)

And this river moves. The river discharges nearly 3,700,000 US gal per day. This is not some idle stream, this is a true river that emerges from the depths of the cave with a powerful outflow.

This has allowed the development of a unique underground boat system where tourists can putz up and down the river on a boat for some great views of the ancient caves.

(Trip Advisor)

If you ever find yourself in the Liaoning region of China, this national park is worth a stop. Not only does it feature quaint hills, open air hiking and geological museums it also has a stunning underground river, hundreds of ancient rock formations and expansive caverns to explore.

There are amazing parks and jaw dropping natural wonders all over the world if you keep an open eye and an open mind out for them.

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Grant Piper

Professional writer. Amateur historian. Husband, father, Christian.