雪花洞

Xuehuadong - Xuěhuā dòng - Snow Flower Cave - Snow Flake Cave


Useful Information

Location: Xinzhong Town, Gongyi City.
310 National Highway and Gongdeng Tourist Road pass along the foot of Fuxi Mountain. 58 km from Zhengzhou.
(34.626522, 113.184021)
Open: All year daily 8-17.
[2020]
Fee: Adults CNY 57, Children CNY 28.50, Children (<1.2 m) free, Disabled CNY 28.50, Seniors CNY 28.50, Seniors (70+) free.
Online Booking: Adults CNY 46, Children CNY 23, Children (<1.2 m) free, Disabled CNY 23, Seniors CNY 23, Seniors (70+) free.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave SpeleothemAragonite SpeleothemCave Coral
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension: L=1,180 m, T=15 °C.
Guided tours: D=1h. V=250,000/a [2000] V=180,000/a [2019]
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Xuehuadong, Gongyi, Zhengzhou, Tel: +86-371-6418-4187.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1963 Snowflake Cave discovered by 沈少卿 (Shen Shaoqing).
1972 first exploration of the cave by locals.
1987 designated as a provincial scenic spot.

Description

雪花洞 (Xuehuadong, Snow Flake Cave) is located on the northern foot of Songshan Mountain. Despite the name this cave is not an ice cave, there is no snow or ice inside. The temperature is much too high, about 15 °C. The reason for the name are snow-white speleothems inside, stalactites, stalagmites and walls covered by cave coral and calcite or aragonite cystals which are called frostwork. The light is unfortunately coloured, so it looks blue, red and green as in any other Chinese show cave. At one place the blueish light makes the white more intensive, but all other colours are not really fortunate.

The abundance of cave coral and frostwork is quite exceptional, there is a passage called snowflake corridor, which is 173 m long. However, they call it "the first snowflake cave in the world", which is probably a bit exaggerated. 雪花厅 (Snowflake Hall) is 15 m high and 10 m wide. The biggest chamber is 通天厅 (Tongtian Hall), which is 55 m long, 45 m high, and 35 m wide.

From the car park to the cave entrance is a 1.5 km walk throuch 紫龙峡 (Purple Dragon Gorge). The main highlight is the 鸳鸯桥 (Yuanyang Bridge, Mandarin Duck Bridge) on which love locks are hung to witness the love. Folklore has it that if you carry your beloved from one end of the bridge to the other, your love will last forever.

Despite the remote area the cave is very well visited. It was renovated a few years ago, and extended with very Chinese sights like Xiaolong Pond, General's Cottage, and Pilgrimage City. Soon it will be the center of a theme park.

The cave was discovered by 沈少卿 (Shen Shaoqing) from Laomiao Village in 1963. In winter 1963 he demolished his three ramshackle houses and built a new one. For this reason a pit for the foundation was excavated, and a hole discovered. This was quite convenient, all the excavated material, which was not needed, was just thrown into this hole. Strange was, that it never became full, but with a lot of work concerning the new house, it took until 1972 until it was first explored.
In the winter of 1972, Shen Shaoqing organised a group of neighbours to explore the cave. The went in with ropes and lanterns, typical farming equipment, and as they were no cavers they feared bad air and dangerous animals. They threw a burning torch in, to check if the air was good, and it continued burning. Then they put a chicken with bound feet into the cave for the dangerous monsters, but it survived 20 minutes without being eaten. Shen Shaoqing and a neighbour went in first, with a lantern and a sickle, just in case. But they chickened out and returned pretty fast. Then a group of five went in, with lamps and scythes, and the courage of many people. They discovered the white needle-like cave coral and later told the people that they had seen snowflakes in the cave, so the cave became known as Snowflake Cave.
The discovery as it was told by Shen Shaoqing.

The cave is located in an 35 km² scenic area around Fuxing Mountain. The area is mountainous with many gorges, and is thus dubbed Little Guilin in the middle of the Central Plains. There are 108 caves, 18 gorges of more than 5 km length, 200 temples, and 30 ancient fortresses from the Sui and Tang Dynasties. The area is drained by Yuxian River and its tributaries. It is very remote and there is no freeway or high speed road in the whole area. Until 20 years ago the locals had to walk 20 km to reach the next town if they needed tools or other items they could not produce themselves. And despite the area being called Museum of Chinese Military History, Geological Museum of China, and Home of Caves in Central Plains, there is only one show cave.