Crescent Lake or Yueyaquan is a crescent-shaped lake in an oasis, 6 km south of the city of Dunhuang in Gansu Province, China. It was named Yueyaquan in the Qing Dynasty.
According to measurements made in 1960, the average depth of the lake was 4 to 5 meters, with a maximum depth of 7.5 metres (25 ft) In the following 40 years, the depth of the lake continually declined. In the early 1990s, its area had shrunk to only 1.37 acres (5,500 square meters) with an average depth of 0.9 meter (maximum 1.3 meter).
In 2006, the local government with help of the central government started to fill the lake and restore its depth; its depth and size have been growing yearly since then. The lake and the surrounding deserts are very popular with tourists, who are offered camel and 4x4 rides.
The Crescent Lake is an oasis Gobi desert, which is surrounded the numerous sand dunes. The dunes reach a relative height of 250 meters (820 feet). The climb to the top is rewarded with the dramatic view back across the rolling desert sands towards the oasis.
Descending the dunes is quite easy silde down the dune to the sound of rumbling sands or the sound of thunder or a drum-roll as the wind sweeps across the sands. The Mingsha Shan is so named for the sound of the wind whipping off the dunes.
Along the side of the Crescent Lake is a pagoda in traditional Han Chinese architecture. A street lined with souvenir stalls leads up from the entrance to the complex. Many tourists ride camels here, organized by the complex operators, to get to the summit of the sand dunes. Typically the camels are guided by a local camel escort, who include both women and men.
At the dunes, a popular activity for tourists is to ride sleds down the sand slopes, much like snow-sledding during winter in temperate zones.
In the past decades, the Crescent Lake kept shrinking while the desert expanded step by step.In 2006, the local government with help of central government has started to to fill the lake and restore its depth, its dept and size has been growing yearly since then. The lake and the surrounding deserts are very popular with tourists, who are offered camel and 4x4 rides.