The Tiger Leaping Gorge stretches from the Qiaotou village through the Zhongdian County and eventually ends at the Daju Town, Lijiang Ancient Town. The gorge is 18 kilometers long situating along the upriver of the Jinsha River, or the Golden Sand River.
It can be divided into three parts based upon its hypsography characteristics: the upper gorge, the middle gorge and the lower gorge. The most famous scenic spots are the Mouth of the Gorge and the Tiger Leaping Pebble, both of which are on the upper gorge.
The Mantianxing Reefs Area and the Yixiantian in the middle gorge are the two most famously known dangerous spots. One can tell the arduousness from their names, Mantianxing Reefs meaning that there are so many reefs that it looks like a starring sky, and Yixiantian meaning huge rock cracks.
The name of the Tiger Leaping Gorge comes from a legend. The story goes like this: once upon a time, there was a tiger trying to leap across the narrowest part of the gorge, which was merely 30 meters wide. The reefs in the gorge are grotesque in shape. There are 21 rapids, 10 waterfalls and 10-meter drops along the Golden Sand River.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Geographically speaking, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is formed as a result of crust movement in Jinsha River area and the Yulong Snow Mountain (the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain). The gorge is not only a scenic area but also a place with abundant natural resources. Experts believe that it is feasible to build a hydroelectric dam at Tiger Leaping Gorge.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge area is the birthplace of the ancient culture of Lijing. There are many caves that were naturally formed houses for the ancient primitives. Rock paintings and carvings found in the caves depict the lives of ancient tribes. It has become one of the most popular tourist attractions at Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Hiking Along Tiger Leaping Gorge
With the average elevation of over 3,300 meters, Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the world’s deepest gorges, which is precipitous, grotesque and magnificent. With the length of 16 kilometers, Tiger Leaping Gorge is located between the 5,596-meter-high Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the 5,396-meter-high Haba Snow Mountain. There are 2 ways to tour the gorge, including by bus and on foot.
Touring by bus is relatively convenient and labor-saving, but if you want to experience the stimulating gorge by yourself, hiking is absolutely the best way. You can walk on the path of Haba Snow Mountain or on gravel road. Generally, it takes about more than 2 days to hike along the gorge if they walk about 5 hours every day.
Best time to visit: May to July
Address: 60 kilometers from Lijiang Naxi nationality autonomous county
Time: about 10 hours
Explore the Tiger Leaping Gorge
The Tiger Leaping Gorge is recognized as the first gorge of the Yangtze River. In the early 1930's, an American scholar Joseph F. Rock, flew over the gorge three times and took a lot of photos of the gorge; these photos were published making the Tier Leaping Gorge one of the most famous and popular adventurous spots for explorers all over the world. It is also regarded as one of the top ten hottest hiking routes in China.
Flowing through the mountain pass of the upper gorge, swashing the Tiger Leaping Pebble and sandwiched by two snow-capped mountains, the Golden Sand River is such an amaze and wonder. Violent whirlpools, fierce strikes to the river banks, soaring waves, shrouding clouds and mist create an unbelievably adventurous holy land that attracts tens of thousands explorers and adventurers.
September 1986, the Chinese Yangtze River Drifting Team managed to cruise down the Tiger Leaping Gorge for the first time in history with the price of two precious lives, Sun Zhiling one of the members in the team and a journalist whose name was not revealed from the “Youth World” magazine.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge is said to be hikers’ heaven. There are two popular routes. The first starts from the Lijing AncientTown, through the Lashihai and arrives at the Qiaotou (the Hutiaoxia Town or the Tiger Leaping Town). It provides path into the upper gorge and the east foot of the Haba Snow Mountain. It is a two-day walk route through the gorge.
The second route starts from the Ganhaizi (the Dry Sea) on the eastern slop of the Yulong Snow Mountain (the Jade Snow Mountain), passes through the lower Tiger Leaping Gorge at theDaju County of the Lijing Ancient Town, then goes along the Jinsha River, and eventually arrives at the Tiger Leaping gorge of the upper gorge.
The tourism department of Lijing city has been planning on constructing a plank road on the slop of the Yulong Snow Mountain to connect the travel routes of the Yulong Snow Mountain making it a more entertaining and adventurous attraction.