Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest canyons in the world. Wedged tightly between titanic cliffs, the Yangtze River is so narrow here, so legend tells us, that a hunted tiger made his escape to the other side of the river in a single bound, giving the gorge its name. Famously walked by Michael Palin in his Himalaya TV series, this is one of the most spectacular gorges anywhere in the world. 3900m deep, it runs for 10 miles with the mighty Yangtze compressed between the twin peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and its brother Haba Mountain. There are several options for visiting the gorge. You can take a day trip from either Lijiang or Zhongdian (Shangri-La), and stop at the main viewpoints.
The other option is to do a multi day trek along the elevated walking trails cut high into the cliffs. The most famous, and most challenging, route is the 2 day trek, staying overnight in a guesthouse halfway along. This trek starts at an altitude of 1790m, and the first day winds uphill through the '28 Bends', the hardest part of the trek, to a final altitude of 2650m. Stay overnight in a simple but comfortable guesthouse with a spectacular view. The second day is easier, mostly flat and descending.
For those who are looking for a hike, but who don't have the time for the 2 day trip or who want to avoid the daunting first uphill section, we have developed a day trip following an easier hiking route taking in some of the the most spectacular scenery of the gorge. The trek starts at Tina's Guesthouse, from where a rocky, uneven path ascends steeply through shrubland for around an hour. Continue along the higher path which ascends fairly gently for around 2 hours until reaching the Halfway House Guesthouse, where you will stop for lunch. After a well-deserved lunch descend along a paved road for around 45 minutes until reaching the main road where you meet your driver. Continue to the lower section of the Gorge where you have the option of descending to the viewing platforms beside the water. It is recommended to visit these viewing platforms after the trek when the crowds have left.
Please note that both these walks are challenging treks at high altitude, with slippery and rough terrain in places, and is only suitable for those who are fit and healthy. Decent footwear is essential, and the trek may be cancelled in wet weather. This trek is not recommended for anyone suffering from vertigo.Back to experiences in China