虎跳峡

Tiger Leaping Gorge


Useful Information

Location: 60 km north of Lijiang City. Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.
(27.191814, 100.113739)
Open: no restrictions.
[2021]
Fee: free.
[2021]
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Tiger Leaping Gorge, Tel: +86-, Fax: +86-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1930s gorge visited three times by the famous American anthropologist Locke.
1986 first trip by the Luoyang Yangtze River Rafting Team of China and the Chinese Scientific Yangtze River Investigation and Rafting Team.

Description

虎跳峡 (Tiger Leaping Gorge) is a gorge of the Jinsha River, a primary tributary of the upper Yangtze River. The Chinese Grand Canyon is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site. It is very well developed, and there are numerous operators offering day trips and it is also possible to visit by public transport. The gorge has three sections with rapids, Upper, Middle, and Lower Canyon, and each offers a main observation deck at the river. The enormous amount of water produces a continual roaring spectacle at the three waterfall sections. The Chinese say that this is the greatest canyon of the world with a depth of 3,790 m. The given depth is from the river at an altitude about 1,800 m asl to the summit of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (5.596 m asl).

Long ago Lijiang was ruled by Master Mu. He was very wealthy and had many capable people around him. One of them could tell fortunes and one day, he foretold the following about Master Mu. Despite his wealth he would have no coffin after his death. Master Mu was so shocked that he placed a coffin every ten miles wherever he passed, to fight against his fate. One day, the weather was perfect and Master Mu was in a good mood, so he rode his tiger along the Jinsha River. The river was surging and the riverbank was picturesque. When he reached a narrow section, the tiger leapt towards a large rock in the middle of the river. The tiger landed, but the man had fallen into the rolling river and the foretelling was true, he never had a coffin.

There is the tourist visit, which is quite easy. Along the road trough the gorge are numerous outlooks. The easiest way to do this is by booking a day trip from your hotel, and transport and a local guide are included. The outlooks are breathtaking and even the lunch offers a great view. If you want to see the rapids, there are numerous trails down to the river. As the road is some 200 m above the river, the descent requires some fitness and the trails require good walking shoes. Normally there is a small fee for the trail, but the day trips include all fees. And finally there is the possibility to make a one or tw day hike high above the gorge.

The tour has some fame for its hiking trail called the high path, mostly international guests have discovered this and the visitor numbers are continually increasing. To see the gorge you do not go down to the water, you go up on spectacular trails, which were actually built by the locals to reach their villages. The start is near Qiaotu, from a height of about 1,800 m asl it goes uo to the Naxi Family Teahouse at 2,200 m asl. From here the serpentines of the 26 Bends lead to the highest point of the trail at 2,650 m asl. Now it descends again to the Tea Horse Teahouse (2,350 m asl), the Halfway Guesthouse (2,250 m asl) and finally Tina's Guesthouse (2,150 m asl). This hike is a two-day trip with an overnight stay at Halfway Guesthouse. There is also a short tour which starts at Kilometer 14 with a direct ascent to the Halfway Guesthouse and avoids the highest section.

The gorge looks like a section of the Dolomites, and with trails at 2,600 m asl it has comparable heights. So you should be aware that this tour is like mountaineering in the Alps, while the surrounding mountains are still 2,500 m higher. It should not be done lightly and requires physical fitness. If you are not fit, the descent from the road to the platforms is pretty demanding, and that's the harmless part. If you do the hike it makes no sense to book a day trip. Book a seat in the public transport bus from your hotel and the room for the overnight stay at Halfway Guesthouse. This is essential because the guest house may be full, it is quite popular. Booking is possible only one or two days in advance. You should also wear appropriate clothes, good walking shoes, and bring raincoat and sun protection.

The Jinsha, Nujiang and Lancang rivers, as well as Yulong and Haba mountains, were originally five siblings. When the three sisters grew up, they met to go out to choose a son-in-law, their parents were so anxious and angry that they asked Yulong and Haba to go after them. Yulong, armed with thirteen swords, and Haba, armed with twelve bows, took a shortcut to Lijiang, where they sat face to face and took turns on guard, and agreed that whoever let the three sisters go would be beheaded. When it was Haba's turn to keep watch, Yulong had just fallen asleep when Jinsha arrived. The way was blocked by her two brothers, so what could she do? The clever girl remembered that Haba had a tendency to fall asleep, so she sang 18 songs in a row as she walked. The melodious song really made Haba fall asleep. Seeing this opportunity, Jinsha finally dashed past her two brothers' feet, laughing loudly and dashing away. When Yulong woke up and saw this, he was angry and sad, angry that the girl had gone away and sad that Haba was going to be beheaded. He could not break the covenant and drew his long sword and cut off Haba's head, then turned his back and wept bitterly. The two tears turned into white and black water, Haba's twelve bows became the twenty-four bends on the west bank of Tiger Leaping Gorge, and Haba's head fell into the river and became the Tiger Leaping Stone.