Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou Road Trip: West Route via Dujiangyan, Wenchuan and Songpan

As a form of travel, road trip is accepted and popular by tourists in virtue of its individuation, freedom, flexibility and comfort. Am overland travel can be a leisurely drive that lets you enjoy both of the view and individual time. With convenient transportation and various spots, the route from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou has been a popular one among others. The variable sceneries on the road make the road trip to Jiuzhaigou rich and colorful. Here are some things you need to think about when going on this trip.

There are two choices available driving from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou, regarded as east route and west route, both of which would cost you 8-10 hours in total.

The east route, having a stretch of 450km, drives through Guanghan, Miangyang and Pingwu successfully, while the 430-kilometer-long west route, has better traffic condition and less time. The west route is suggested, but the other one could be the alternative route if west route is closed due to natural disaster, usually landslide. When you travel through west route, three spots should never be missed, which are Dujiangyan, Wenchuan and Songpan.

Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou East Rout and West Route Map
Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou East Rout and West Route Map


Starting from Chengdu, a city of leisure, it is unsuitable to snatch a transient glance of the landscape. Rich in both of human landscape and natural land form, Chengdu teaches tourists to slow down and realize the combine of bustling and peace. A panda tour is always at the top of the to-do list for tourists visiting Chengdu. Kuanzhai alley respects the most popular folk culture, while Jinli Street, bubbling with unique vitality, gathers all the special snacks and bars in Chengdu. Among all the hot spots here, some commemorate museums like Du Fu’s cottage, the temple of Marquis Wu are prestigious locally. Take a bus at Xinnanmen bus station, and you will arrive there in one hour and a half. Tasting hot pot from Sichuan, wondering along the cultural streets, you can spend three to four days in Chengdu, and it will not waste your time due to the convenient transportation.

Chengdu Panda Tour
Enjoy a Panda Tour when you ara travel in Chengdu


Get ready for your car, or you can rent one in Chengdu, and the road trip starts. After 2 hours’ driving, the first stop, Dujiangyan is reached. The expressway between Chengdu and Wenchuan is flat and well-protected, so just make sure that your driving license is available, or something like that. Over past 2200 years, Dujiangyan protects Chengdu Plain from innumerable floods, and makes it the land of abundance. As a miracle of ancients, Dujiangyan has a pleasing climate especially in July and August, when the others places of Sichuan are in its heart of summer. Touring the site on Buyun porch, overlooking the mountains and rivers from Yulei loft, even the charming night of Dujiangyan, all of them are unmissable here. One-day-stay in Dujiangyan is suggested. The price of ticket is 90 RMB now.


Wenchuan and Yingxiu

Next stop of this road trip is Wenchuan. The section around Wenchuan is mainly mountain road, and the speed limit is 60 or 40 miles an hour. Don't exceed this maximum.

Wenchuan earthquake Memorial Museum
Wenchuan earthquake Memorial Museum

Compared to its deep culture of three kingdoms, various folk culture and endless virgin forest, the hope emerging from the ruins of earthquake moves every visitor. Yingxiu is located in the epicenter of Wenchuan earthquake. Although the town has already started a new life, the Yingxiu Earthquake Museum and other sites still echo that terrible sight. No one would forget that deep-rooted history. Others spots, like Qiang mountain fastness, also attract many tourists every year. The fastness is named as “a fastness of radish”, in which the condition of altitude and climateis suitable for radish. Another cultural town is Shuimo town. With amorous feeling of local nation, this simple town mixes the humanity of western Sichuan province and the culture of Buddhism in a harmonious way. As to accommodation, you can find many restaurants and hotels in ChanshouStreet of Shuimo town. If free, you can wonder along the street for a while. Again, one-day-stay in Wenchuan is suggested.



Ending the visiting of Wenchuan and going north, tertiary highway replaces expressway. Landslide is common in rainy weather. Fortunately, local government put a highly value on this section, so if happened, the rush-repair will be done in 2 hours. The way from Wenchuan to Songpan takes a long time, and you can take a break at Diexi lakes. Famous for its beautiful scenery, actually they are quake lakes which created by earthquake. It is a good place for a rest and having lunch.

Diexi lakes
Diexi lakes

The ancient city, Songpan, is the last stop before your destination. Having a history over 2300 years, Songpan was a town of military importance of ancient China. It is a pity that most of the city walls and historic sites have become nothing, but there are still some ancient buildings being well-reserved. With abundant water, sunshine and colorful flowers, the period from June to October would be a good time for tourists to do some sightseeing. Owing to the unique geographical environment and social environment with multination, Songpan is the epitome of national structure and culture of Aba prefecture. The interrelationship shows in many areas, such as building style, folk habits, and so on. 17km from Songpan, Chuanzhu temple is also full of atmosphere and well worth visiting. Completed in 2003, Chuan-Jiu highway makes the road trip more convenient. With varied culture and beautiful views, you may be suggested to stay here two days.

Songpan ancient town
Songpan ancient town


Continuing to go north, the altitude is climbing sostenuto. Given to the average altitude of 2500 meters, the ole people should be prepared on the road to Jiuzhaigou. The driver should pay much attention to it, because there will be some parts of mountain road. To relax the tiring in the journey, you may set out from Songpan at 15:00pm, and arrive at Jiuzhaigou around 18:00pm. After a rest of one night, the visiting of Jiuzhaigou will be ready energetically. No matter busy season or low season, you’d better to book the hotel in advance.

As a natural habitat, Jiuzhaigou plays an important role in maintaining many rare animals and plants. Painted by colorfulforests, folk customs and water with a continual running, the marvelous landscape attracts tourists all over the world. If available, Huanglong National Park would be a good choice during this travel. What’s more, the big temperature difference during day and night require you to prepare another coat for warm. One-day tour may be too urgent to travel around all the spots, so you’d better to stay there more than two days.

Jiuzhaigou Valley Landscape
Splendid Landscape of Jiuzhaigou Valley

What to Bring for This Tour

For the long-driving and transportation, enough foods and snacks should be prepared in advance. Portable battery is needed on the road. Pay attention to the weather forecast before setting out, because the traffic is influenced by the weather.

Sun glasses and sun cream are essential, and make sure that put on the sun cream, no matter sunny or cloudy.Given to the climbing altitude, you should equip yourself with some oxygen bottles. Bring an umbrella or raincoat, just for instance.

Driving from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou, the sceneries along the way will glut your eyes. Respect the local customs, cultural traditions and religious beliefs, and share the good views with your companions. Make sure that you are well-equipped with essential cards, foods, and so on. Pay much attention on traffic condition, and enjoy your flexible and free self-driving travel.

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