Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike - Guide, Trekking Trail & Tips

Written by Vivian Updated Sep. 26, 2022

Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest canyons in China. The canyon is around 16km in length, with a maximum fault throw of 210 meters. The Tiger Leaping Gorges is recognized as one of the top ten classic hiking trails in China where you can get to feel and witness the power of nature.

How Long Does it Take to Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge?

Tiger Leaping Gorge scenic spots are divided into three sections: upper section, middle section, and lower section.

If you just want to visit the site itself, 2-4 hours is enough to visit the middle and lower sections of Tiger Leaping Gorges.

The classical Tiger Leaping Gorges hiking trail is a total length of 23km (14mi), If you would like to hike through the high gorges, it will take 2 days to complete the whole trip.

Hiking Difficulty & Level

The Tiger Leaping Gorge trekking route is moderate, low intensity, and low risk, suitable for most people in good physical conditions. Following the marked road signs left by hikers will easy to find the right direction to go through.

Where to Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge - 2 Days Classical Hiking Trail

Taking 2 days and 1 night guided trip thru the trail is suggested for first-timer.

Tiger Leaping Gorge Map
Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike Trail Map

Day 1: Tiger Leaping Gorge Town (Qiaotou Town) - Naxi Family - 28 Bends of Winding Trail - Tea Horse Guesthouse - Halfway (Halfway Inn)

In the morning, take a 2 hours bus ride from Lijiang Bus Station to Tiger Leaping Gorge Town, where the starting point of the hike is from Qiaotou Town. Need to pay RMB45 for the entrance ticket to the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

The first section: this section is around 2 kilometers from a Y shape crossroad in Qiaotou, all are smooth concrete roads and easy to walk through, and you can see the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain along the way. 

The second section: starts to walk uphill the mountain trail to the first photo stop of the cliff on the mountain top, then continue to walk a little further to the Naxiya Family Guest House (from the starting point to the Naxi Family needs 2-3 hours), where you can take a short break and have lunch.

The third section: the toughest trail of the whole journey, which is known as 28 Bends, with a lot of zigzags turns uphill, and partly 60 degrees up the steep slope. Recommend preparing hiking poles in advance.

Tips: there are horsemen waiting outside of the Naxi Family, so you can ride a horse up the mountain if any physical problem, the cost is about 100-150 yuan per person.

The fourth section: After the 28 bends, you will hike for 2-3 hours to the point of Tea Horse Guesthouse. If you arrive late in the day, you can stay here for a night there, or take another 2 hours hike to Halfway Inn for an overnight stay.

Day 2 Halfway Inn - Tina's - Tiger Leaping Gorge

The first section: starts the trip from Halfway Inn and takes a 2 1/2 hours hike to Tina's.

The second section: crossing the bridge from Tina’s to the Sky Ladder with 168 steps down to the bottom of the Middle Tiger Leaping Valley. Passing through this site need to pay 10 yuan to get through, and down to the bottom of the valley takes 30-40 minutes, and from the bottom going up is very steep and painful, but tiring and very challenging.

Back up to the bus road, then catch the bus/private car and continue the trip to Shangri-La.

How to Get to Tiger Leaping Gorge Town (Starting Point)

From Lijiang to Tiger Leaping Gorge Town: there are buses available Daily at Lijiang Bus Station to Tiger Leaping Gorge Town, the earliest bus departs at 8 am, you can follow the official account of "Lijiang Transportation" 丽江交运 on WeChat for checking the bus schedule and ticket booking. Meanwhile, you can book a return ticket with the driver for the next day. The one-way bus ticket cost RMB45 per person.

Sometimes the driver will ask you where you want to start the hiking trip. If you don’t want to start from Qiaotou Town, take the trip from Naxi Family, The bus will only stop at the bottom of the Naxi Family, and it will take 2 hours to walk up to Naxi, or you can rent a minivan to get there, it cost 20 per person.

Best Time to Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge

The best time to visit Tiger Leaping Gorge is in late spring/early summer from April to June, and in autumn from September to October, if travel after October, you should bring a down jacket and woolen wear to keep warm.

Travel in these two seasons of the year can see the stunning scenery of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

What to Pack before the Trip

Waterproof backpacks, jackets, quick-drying clothes, hiking shoes, hiking sticks, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and 1000ml water bottles. The hike can be a little tricky in some parts and you need good anti-slip shoes.

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