Tiger Leaping Gorge is no doubt
an independent hiker's first choice in China. This
magnificent gorge holds several peaks at both sides up to 6000
meters. 4000 meters vertically down from the summits flows the
roaring Yangzi River (the longest river in China).
Having been adventured by western intrepid hikers
since 1980s, the gorge used to offer two hiking footpaths: the
High Trail and the Low Road. Today the Low Road was transformed
into a vehicular road. Fortunately, the easily accessible High
Trail, with well-marked signs, clean and friendly lodges,
amazing landscapes, still offers a wonderful trek to any fit
traveler who loves wild nature.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
has evoked much controversy between the prosperity of tourism
and the preservation of nature. I don't want to add any
comment to this controversy. So far, the hikers are still able
to enjoy the wild, isolated nature along the High Trail while
the Low Road makes the gorge accessible to every
Entrance Ticket: Y50 (price in 2006)
All itineraries proposed here don't include the time
you would spend in Lijiang and Zhongdian. You can find the
following places in the map: Around Lijiang or in the scheme for traveling in the northwest
1. Lijiang - Qiaotou - High Trail - Middle
Tiger Leaping Stone - Ferry - Daju - Yulong Snow Mountain
(Maoniuping) - Lijiang.
can leave unnecessary luggage at the hotel in Lijiang. You
won't be asked to pay the ticket of Yulong Snow Mountain
(Y80.-) on your way from Daju to Lijiang. On the contrary,
travelers in the bus heading from Lijiang to Daju have to pay
2. Lijiang - Qiaotou - High Trail - Middle Tiger
Leaping Stone / Upper Tiger Leaping Stone - Qiaotou - Lijiang
Leave unnecessary luggage at a cafe in Qiaotou. After the
trek, It's easy to catch a bus from Qiaotou to Lijiang /
3. Lijiang - Qiaotou - High Trail -
Middle Tiger Leaping Stone - Baishuitai , Haba Village -
days. This route is being frequented by group tourists
while Baishuitai becomes more and more famous. Baishuitai is
less spectacular than Huanglong Park in Sichuan. It is possible to
hike from Tiger Leaping Gorge to Haba Village. Naxi Family Guesthouse
the High Trail can arrange such a trek with reasonable price.
I personally don't like Baishuitai as this site has been
developed to receive mass Chinese tourists sent by travel
agencies. Another disadvantage of this route is that you have
to carry all the luggage while hiking along the High Trail.
4. More aggressive itineraries for sophisticated
Lijiang - Qiaotou - High Trail - Middle Tiger Leaping
Stone - Daju - Baoshan Shitoucheng (Stone village) - A / B.
Go back to Lijiang visit Yulong Snow Mountain on the way.
Time: 5 days.
B. Hike / Horse trek to Lugu Lake* (3 - 5
days ) - go back to Lijiang or go to Xichang in Sichuan
* From Lugu Lake you can further hike to Yading Nature Reserve in Daocheng Sichuan.
(7-8 days), or to Muli Tibetan County.
tragedy of Tiger Leaping Gorge by Simon
The conflict between environmental preservations
and tourism developments.
The author of Talesofasia
traveled twice to this amazing Gorge. Read his stories.
first visit in 1995, the Low Road was still a one-meter-wide
footpath zigzagging along awesome precipices on the west bank
of Yangzi River. The 6000-meter-high peak of Yulong Mountain
could not be spotted from the Low Road. We walked two hours
from Qiaotou to the Upper Tiger Leaping Stone along the Low
Road where we encountered many grooms and their horses
carrying supplies to the villages in the gorge.
the footpath was transformed into a vehicular road haunted by
countless tour buses and cars. Nowadays, hikers would hardly
like to trek along the dangerous Low Road due to frequent
rockslides and noisy vehicles.
Middle Tiger Leaping Stone:
Worth a visit.
This sight is located more
than 500 meters vertically down from Tina's Guesthouse. A
round trip from Tina's Guesthouse takes 3 hours, not including
the time you will spend at Sandy's House beside astonishing
roaring rapids. There are two
- Route 1: a sheer footpath descending
directly in the Middle Gorge near Tina's Guesthouse to the
river bank. I happened to
meet several aggressive young men who had just come back
from this footpath and said it was extremely slippery and
steep. So I took the second route.
- Route 2: walk along the main road to
Zhang's Guesthouse and take a narrow footpath descending to
the gorge. Zhang recommends visitors to hire a guide for
Y30.-. It is absolutely not necessary. Before reaching
Sandy's house, you have to pass a wooden bridge over a roaring cascade, a
house sales drinks at reasonable prices. Don't miss their
toilet where you enjoy an amazing
view over the roaring rapids.
Upper Tiger Leaping Stone: It is not worth a
visit If you have already seen the Middle Tiger Leaping
This sight can be reached from both sides of the
- On the Low Road,
the sight is located 9 km from Qiaotou. From Lijiang, there
is a bus leaving Main bus station at 8:30 for Tiger leaping
Stone, terminating in front of this site.
- On the east
bank, the road is frequented only by tour groups, but not
accessible by any public bus.
Walnut Grove along the Low Road,
once a peaceful village where hikers used to spend a night on
the way to Daju or Haba. While terminating the High Trail at
Tina's Guesthouse, hikers can find a bus or taxi easily to go
to Baishuitai or the ferry for Daju. No more need to walk
along the Low Road to Walnut Grove.
|There are three ways to reach this beautiful
gorge: (Map - Click here) |
1. Qiaotou (recently changed
its name to Hutiao Xia, which means Tiger Leaping Gorge).
Lijiang 'Guluwan' north bus
station, take a Zhongdian bus and get off at Qiaotou. Five
daily buses: three times in the morning and twice in the early
trip usually takes 2 hours. However, my bus driver used
almost 3 hours. He stopped once, and wanted to buy apples
from local farmers, but didn't manage to obtain his price.
He made his deal during the second time he stopped for
apple-hunting. One hour later, he went home, leaving his bus
and all passengers on the road for 25
come from Zhongdian, take a Lijiang bus and get
off at Qiaotou after usually a three-hour ride, more than five
buses a day.
quit Qiaotou for Lijiang or Zhongdian, you can wait for a bus
along the main road near the bridge. Between 9:30 to 15:00,
there are numerous buses passing through Qiaotou for both
News: From Lijiang Bus Station, there is a direct bus for
Qiaotou leaving Lijiang at 8:30 everyday. (Y13.)
2. Daju. See Daju - Getting there and away.
3. Baishuitai. (Haba
bus leaves from Zhongdian for Baishuitai at 7:30. You can stay
at Haba village and take a bus next day from Baishuitai to
Lijiang which passes through the Low Road of the Gorge.
Tourists in Zhongdian would prefer to rent a car in order to
visit Baishuitai during the day and enter into the gorge from
north in the late afternoon. It costs around Y400.-.
Low Road, you can wait for the bus departing from Lijiang at
9:00 in the morning for Baishuitai, passing Tina's Guesthouse
Spending a night in one of
these three peaceful, friendly, cheap, clean and beautiful
guesthouses, nestled in a wild, awesome landscape, away from
the noisy Low Road intruded by thousands of tourists, is a
unique experience that you would hardly find elsewhere in
China. Take a hot shower, enjoy a nice meal at their courtyard
while looking up at snowcapped peaks rising 3000 meters from
the roof of the guesthouse.
Naxi Family Guesthouse
Tea-horse Trade Guesthouse
Half Way Guesthouse.
Tina's Guesthouse, Tel. 0887-8806638, 8806079.
Tina's is located at the
junction of High Trail and Low Road. From Tina's, a round trip
to the rapids of Middle Tiger Leaping Stone takes 21/2 to 3
It's easy to hitchhike a mini bus in front of
Tina's to go to Qiaotou or to the ferry. Tina's car goes to
Qiaotou every morning.
Run by the relatives of High Way
and Tea-horse's owners, Tina's offers the same standard rooms
and services: Y20.- for a single room, Y10.- per person for
other rooms, 24-hour hot shower.
Zhang's Guesthouse is located 100 meters
lower than Tina's on the Low Road. It's said that the footpath
down to the Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge from Zhang's Guesthouse
was restored by Zhang's family. The guesthouse has a good
location and enjoy a nice view.
Wulnut Grove: If you
hike further to the ferry along the Low Road, you will
pass Sean's Spring Guesthouse and
Chateau de Woody, As I went back to
Qiaotou from Tina's, I can't give any comment on these two
See Daju -
|Map: Around Lijiang