Tiger Leaping Gorge
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CBP 2003
High Trail : Qiaotou, school <===> Tina's Guesthouse
How to hike the High Trail:
It takes 7 to 8 hours to hike the High Trial, not including breaks and photographing. It's recommended to do it in two days.

Two-day journey 1: Stay overnight at Tea-horse Trade Guesthouse.

  • Catch a bus leaving Lijiang or Zhongdian at 7:00 in the morning, arrive at Qiaotou between 9:00 and 10:00.
  • Devote rest of the day to a tough 900-meter-height ascent. You should be able to reach Tea-horse in 4 to 5 hours. Stay at this friendly and clean guesthouse.
  • Next morning, admire the magnificent view of Yulong Snow Mountain at sunrise and set off at 8 :00am.
  • While arriving at Half Way, take a break and drink a cup of tea on their balcony where you can enjoy a breathtaking view.
  • Before noon, you can arrive at Tina's. Take your lunch there, and hike down to visit the Middle Tiger Leaping Stone.

Two-day journey 2: Stay overnight at Naxi Family Guesthouse.

  • If you are not able to get up early, you can take a bus leaving Lijiang or Zhongdian before 12:00, arrive at Qiaotou between 14:00 and 15:30.
  • In maximum two hours, you are able to reach Naxi Family. Spend the night at this clean, friendly guesthouse.
  • Next morning, admire the sunrise and then attack the ascent of 28 Bends.
  • Have your lunch either at Tea-horse or Half Way. Take your time to enjoy the splendid landscape.
  • Arrive at Tina's in the late afternoon.

One-day journey is reserved for those who are physically strong for the ascent.

  • In order to set off early in the morning, hikers have to spend the night before in Qiaotou where accommodations are less pleasant than those in Lijiang and Zhongdian.
  • When the Low Road was still a footpath, hikers usually took this itinerary for the first day and trekked further to Daju for the second day. It's not necessary to do it now.

Other possibilities:

  • Set off at Tina's Guesthouse if you come from Baishuitai or Daju, climb to Half Way, walk to Tea-horse, spend the night at Naxi Family. Go to Qiaotou the next day.
    The ascent is less steep than the ascent from Qiaotou, the contrary direction. Warning : While walking on the large trail after Half Way, you should look carefully for a narrow path on your right with a sign marked for Tea-horse direction. If you miss this side path and follow the large trail, you will descend to the 14km point on the Low Road.
  • Set off at the 14 km point, walk to Half Way and finish at Tina's.
    I met a Chinese group at Tina's Guesthouse who had started their trek from the 14km point (which means the distance to Qiaotou is 14 km) on the Low Road. They climbed to Half Way along a tractor road and walked down to Tina's Guesthouse. It was a tough 5-hour trek. However the best part of High Trial was not in it. I don't recommend this route. If you ask a local travel agency to arrange your hike, make sure that they would not arrange this route for you.

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Walking time:
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5
Qiaotou
>>
Naxi Family
>>
Summit of
28 Bends
>>
Tea-horse
>>
Half Way
>>
Tina's
(1800m)
1.5-2 h
(2200m)
2-2.5 h
(2670m)
30 - 45 m
1-1.5 h
2 h

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Description:

Stage 1: From Qiaotou, cross the bridge, walk 1km along the main road to the school. Take the narrow path beside school basketball courts, follow it until meeting a tractor road. You will see a sign of High Trail on your left. In several minutes, you shall reach a village called 'Len3du2' where you can hire horses. Walk through the village, the trail goes up along the hillside. In 20 minutes, you will reach the next village. A shop called Sunrise sells water and snacks. The path narrows after the village, rises gradually, and then turns left into the Gorge. Here the narrow trail snakes up along a vertical slope. The site of the Upper Tiger Leaping Stone can be seen several hundred meters down from the trail. Behind the cliff rising vertically 2000 meters from the opposite side of the river hides the 5596m Yulong Snow Mountain, almost 4000 meters above the river level. You walk the next 45 minutes in such a dramatic landscape till reaching the Nuoyu Village. You can see a red flag hanging on the roof. It is Naxi family Guesthouse.

Stage 2: The most difficult part of trail, the 28 Bends, comes after Naxi Family Guesthouse. Take your time and keep a regular rhythm while climbing. In two hours you will embrace gentle winds on the summit and be rewarded by a magnificent panorama.

Stage 3: In another 30 to 45 minutes, you will reach Tea-horse Trade Guesthouse.

Stage 4: From Tea-horse to Half Way, it is a flat walk for 1.5 hours. You will enjoy the most beautiful part of High Trail. 10 minutes before Half Way, the narrow trail meets a tractor road, keep the same direction as the contrary direction brings you down to the 14 km point on the Low Road.

Stage 5: Several beautiful cascades and falls appear on the trail after Half Way. The most beautiful fall is called Quanyin Fall. Soon the Middle Gorge can be seen together with switchbacks of Low Road. There is a small climb leading you to a ridge at 2480m. Then the trail descends gradually to Tina's Guesthouse. A shortcut to Zhang's Guesthouse is marked by a sign on the trail. (See Middle Tiger Leaping Stone). The High Trail terminates at Tina's Guesthouse where a bridge was under construction during my visit in September 2003.

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Things to know:
Difficulty: Medium. The ascent from Naxi Family Guesthouse to the summit of 28 Bends is the toughest part.
Food/Water: All the guesthouses have restaurants offering nice food. You can take a rest there and have a cup of tea for free, resume your hike with full bottle of water.
Route mark: Red, yellow, black arrows marked by different guesthouses are found at each crossroad

When to go: Avoid the summer raining season: from June to September. The trail will be muddy and slippery. You can hike in all other seasons, The winter is dry and not cold.

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Tips:
  • During raining seasons, it is important to have a raincoat, and a stick to help the descent.
  • When the trail narrows, look carefully at it, especially when the trail traverses precipitous slopes. Make a stop to admire the amazing landscape. Many accidents happened due to hikers' negligence, even a tiny misstep.
  • Luggage:
    - Leave unnecessary luggage at a cafe in Qiaotou if you plan to come back after the trek. Try Gorged Tiger Cafe on your right after crossing the bridge in Qiaotou.
    - If you don't make a round trip, you can rent a horse to carry luggage in Qiaotou or any guesthouse mentioned in
    Accommodations.
  • Horse Trek: Y80 per horse with a groom from Qiaotou to Tea Horse Trade Guesthouse, Y100 to Half Way Guesthouse. It is not recommended for those who have never done horse trek before as some parts of the trail are slippery and dangerous.
  • Avoid walking in the night !! Don't fix your schedule too tight, make sure that you are able to reach any lodge before night. During the day, it easy to find signs at crossroads and diversions.
  • Ticket: Y30.-. It is possible to detour the ticket office.

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CBP 2003
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