Lugu Lake is an alpine lake on the border of Yunnan Province and Sichuan Province. It is the highest lake in Yunnan Province at an elevation of 2,685 m (~8,809 ft) above sea level. Legend has it that the horse hoof shaped lake was formed from the tears of Gemu, a beautiful spirit. There are two versions of the story, but both agree that the islands in the lake are pearls, thrown in by Gemu or her lover. The lake is surrounded by mountains and has five islands, four peninsulas, fourteen bays and seventeen beaches.
The chameleon waters of Lugu Lake change colour throughout the day. An orange glow emanates from the surface in the morning mist, but the lake transforms to a magnificent jade green in the midday sun. By evening the lake is still, dark and calm. The lake is especially alluring because it is relatively unspoiled by human development.
The lake contains a number of endemic fish including the snow trout and is visited by wintering water birds such as bar-headed geese and black-necked cranes. Mammals in the area include musk deer, foxes and leopards; and birds include vultures and hawks
Visitors can enjoy the beautiful wilderness, boat and canoe on the lake or relax on the many beaches. Cruises on the lake include the Pig-troughs boat cruises which visit islets within it and allow for great views of the mountains surrounding the lake. Luoshui village is a good starting point for hiking, sight-seeing and fishing as well as exploring the extraordinary culture of the Mosuo tribe, a matriarchal society. There are also horse rides around the lake, a perfect way to enjoy your day out.