As a part of northern slope of Tibet Plateau, it reaches to the edge of Tarim and Caidamu Basin to the east, originates from Qiemo County in Xinjiang, across Ruoqiang County to along Xinjiang and Gansu Provinces to the mouth of Dangjin Mountain. It runs about 750 kilometers with the widest point of 100 kilometers and average ridge height of 3,500 meters. The southern slope and middle basin has been developed as Alkin Natural Reserve, which occupies more than 40.000 square kilometers. It is not only the largest nature reserve in China but a well-kept alpine ecological nature reserve in the world.
It was authorized as a national nature reserve in March, 1985, targeting at the protection of rare animals and the primitive alpine ecosystem, including alpine lakes, alpine desert and wild plateau plants. Wild yak, Tibet wild ass, antelope, wild camel and black neck crane make their homes here. In addition, there are spectacular alpine desert and dozens of alpine lakes, which offers great opportunity for scientific research and exploration.