Erhai Lake is an alpine lake in the southwestern Chinese Yunnan Province. Erhai Lake was also known as Yeyu Pond, Xi'er River and Kunming Lake in ancient times. Erhai means a sea shaped like an ear. That's where its name deserved. It is one of the seven biggest fresh water lakes in China and the second largest highland lake after Dianchi Lake in Kunming.
Erhai Lake is situated in the east of Cangshan, at 1,972 m above sea level. In size, the North-South length of the lake is 40 km and the East-West width is roughly 7-8 km. Its area is 250 km². Its circumference reaches 116 km, its average depth is 11 m and the total storage capacity of 2.5 billion cubic meters.
The lake is sandwiched between the Cangshan Mountains to the West and Dali City. It starts at Dengchuan at its northern extremity and finishes at Xiaguan city in the South, receiving water from the Miju and Mici Rivers (in the North), the Bolou River (in the East) and smallers streams from the Cangshan Mountains. Yangbi River is the lake's outlet in the South and eventually flows into the Lancang River (Mekong River).
The beautiful scenery and limpid waters of Erhai Lake are charming and attractive. On the boundless expanse of the lake, there are steamers, sailing boats, flying birds. The white snows over the green Cangshan Mountain and the limpid water of Erhai Lake have earned Dali the fame of "Jade Erhai and Silver Cangshan." To give the people and tourists alike the convenience of watching the lake, Erhai Lake Park was built. It is located at Tuanshan Mountain, 2.5km away from Xiaguan. It was once a royal deer ranch of the Nanzhao Kingdom. Climbing along the path up to the mountain, one can see green pine trees, famous flowers like camellia, magnolia primrose, and azalea. From the top of the mountain, one can get the panorama of the lake.