Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan

Chinese name: Hutiao Xia 虎跳峡
● Type: Gorges & Canyons, Nature
Keywords: Tiger Leaping Gorge, Hikking, Lijiang spot
● Altitude: about 1800m
● Best Time: April to June, September to October
● Recommended Visiting Hours: about 3 hours
● Recommended Time for Hiking: 2 days
● Opening Hours: 09:00~16:30
Admission Fee65 RMB for lijiang part 
● Location: Shangri-La and  Lijiang

Why is Tiger Leaping Gorge So Special?

Once upon Lijiang, Yunnan China, as the top 10 hiking destination, you will never miss the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
In the hikking process, you will through some of the most naturally beautiful and diverse landscapes in a close and far distance period.

Tiger Leaping Gorge is spectacular and crown as the deepest gorge in the world. Foreign backpackers started hiking in the area in the 1980s and now Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour has been one of the most famous hiking tour all around the world. From the top of Tiger Leaping Gorge, you can look down the steeply angled (70-90 degrees) mountain sides to the rushing Jinsha River with its 18 frothing rapids more than 200 meters below. 

How to Get in Tiger Leaping Gorge

•By Vehicle: fast and convinient

1.Take bus from Lijiang Transport Service Center Bus Station to Tiger Leaping Gorge. It departs at 08:00 and 08:30 every morning and takes around 1.5 – 2 hours to reach there.
2. Charter a car from Lijiang. It costs around CNY 300 to 400 per day.
3. The Gorge is located between Lijiang and Shangri-La, so visitors can take the inter-city buses of the two and ask the driver to drop you off at the gorge.

From Lijiang to Tiger Leaping Gorge: At Lijiang Bus Station, travelers can take bus to Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge at 08:00 and 08:30. For travelers who want to get to Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge,

you can first reach Hutiaoxia Town and then hire a car to the Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge. Hutiaoxia Town is 9 km from Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge and 33 km from Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge. Also, buses are available at Lijiang Bus Station to Daju. It takes about 2 hours from Lijiang to Tiger Leaping Gorge. To leave Tiger Leaping Gorge, travelers can takes buses from Tina’s House, Hutiaoxia Town and Daju.

From Shangri-La to Tiger Leaping Gorge: At Shangri-La Long-distance Bus Station, travelers can take bus to Hutiaoxia Town first and the hire a car to Upper or Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge. It takes about 2 hours to Hutiaoxia Town. There is no direct bus to from Shangri-La to Daju.

Hiking: High Path or Gravel Road, strenuous but more fun

1. It’s quite popular to hike along the gorge, and you can follow the signs made by other visitors along the way.
2. This is a great sightseeing stop with enormous photo opportunities. But the Tiger Leaping Gorge tour is long, so you are not suggested to bring many bags. Bring your camera, wear skidproof shoes, and be prepared to be astonished. Besides, 1-2 bottles of water are necessary.
3. Some difficulties may occur in the hiking along Tiger Leaping Gorge, you can choose to ride the local horse on the way.
4. The best time to visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge is April – June and September & October due to the good weather condition.

Where is Tiger Leaping Gorge?

About 100 km north from Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge is precisely located between the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山, in the Yulong Naxi County, part of the city-prefecture area of Lijiang) and the Haba Snow Mountain (哈巴雪山, in the the Shangri-La County, part of the Diqing prefecture). 

Tiger Leaping Gorge Three Sections

Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge

Upper Gorge is 9 kilometers from Hutiaoxia Town. The famous scenic areas of the Upper Gorge are the mouth of Tiger Leaping Gorge, making it the narrowest section. The hiking trail is plank road which is are suitable for hiking no matter you are elder or young people. It takes about two hours to hike Upper Gorge.

Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge

Middle Gorge is 33 kilometers from Hutiaoxia Town. Hike downhill from Zhang’s Guesthouse, then you need to hike about 1~2 hours to the bottom of the gorge – Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge. There are two famous high ladders connecting upper place to lower place because of no available road. Get down to the river side, you will see the Jinshan River shrinks in a narrow valley, and get blocked by several huge stones. Listen to the deafening voice of water flapping at the stones, and explore the nearby. From the Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge, you have two choices: back to Tina’s House or Halfway Guesthouse, and transfer back, or keep hiking to next destination – Hetaoyuan. For those who are hike down from Zhang’s Guesthouse to the Middle Gorge and transfer back via high lappers, it takes about 3 hours all the way. For the road is steep and muddy, please consider your physical condition if you want to hike this path.

Lower Tiger Leaping Gorge

Lower Gorge is 5 km away from Daju. It is less crowded and traveled by less people. Travelers can hike from Daju to Lower Gorge or from Middle Gorge to Lower Gorge. If you come from Middle Gorge, it takes 3 hours from Yixiantian to Hetaoyuan. After get to new ferry dock, get a ferry across to Daju. A scenic and relaxing journey ends to the hike.

Legends of  Tiger Leaping Gorge

It is said that a hunter was chasing a tiger through the gorge many years ago. When it reached the narrowest point the tiger leapt across the Jinsha River, escaping the furious hunter. The rock where the tiger made its jump is now an iconic viewing point.

There is another legend that a rich Lijiang ruler, Lord Mu, rode on his tiger to go along the side of Jinsha River one day. He and tiger went to a relatively narrow area, the tiger leaped to a large rock in the center of the river. The tiger landed but Lord Mu was not landing at the same time and had dropped into a rolling river. Time has passed, there left a tiger leaping stone for future generations.

Recommended Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Routes

  Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Routes           Time
• Lijiang – Qiaotou – High Trail – Middle Tiger Leaping Stone – Ferry – Daju – Yulong Snow Mountain (Maoniuping) – Lijiang 3-4 Days
• Lijiang – Qiaotou – High Trail – Middle Tiger Leaping Stone / Upper Tiger Leaping Stone – Qiaotou – Lijiang / Zhongdian  2 Days
• Lijiang – Qiaotou – High Trail – Middle Tiger Leaping Stone – Baishuitai , Haba Village – Zhongdian  3-4 Days

What to Visit in Tiger Leaping Gorge

• Middle Tiger Leaping Stone

This sight is located more than 500 meters vertically down from Tina’s Guesthouse.

Daju Ferry

Daju is situated past Walnut Grove at the northeast end of Tiger Leaping Gorge, on a large flat shelf of land on the opposite side of the Jinsha River from the Tiger Leaping Gorge trails.

What to Eat in Tiger Leaping Gorge

All of the guesthouses provide local food and simple western food because it has been a long history of Tiger Leaping Gorge hiking for international tourists.These tourists taught local people how to cook western food with local food.So it is very convenient to enjoy very nice food along the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Nearby Attractions

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a mountain massif near Lijiang. It is the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. There are 13 peaks all together and the group of mountains stretches about 35 kilometers from north to south. The highest peak is named Shanzidou at an altitude of 5,596m. On the eastern side of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, there is a deep valley where the Yangtze River runs. Tiger Leaping Gorge is in the northern part of the valley and Yuhu Village Is located in the south of the valley. Travelers can see Jade Dragon Snow Mountain over Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yuhu Village, Black Dragon Pool Park and other locations.

Haba Snow Mountain

Haba Snow Mountain is a mountain in southeast of Shangri-La, rising above the northwest side of Tiger Leaping Gorge, opposite off Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, with the highest peak of 5,396 m. It boasts glaciers, lakes and waterfalls and contains one of the best preserved nature reserves. Each year from June to August, millions of azaleas are in blossom. To avoid the rainy season, the best time to travel Haba Snow Mountain is mid-March to June, mid-September to mid-December.

Useful Travel Tips

1. Best Time to Travel

April, May and June in the Gorge is the finest time for hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge with crisp air. September, October are the second best time to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge. June to August is the rainy season and the road is sloppy. Try to avoid the rainy season. After October the weather turns to cold, if you want to go, bring warm clothes.

2. What to Pack

Due to the mountainous steep and narrow road, a pair comfortable strong walking shoes are very necessary. Also pack light shirts and warm jacket. It is sunny, and gets hot easily because of hiking. While in the night, it is usually cold and windy. Before hiking, remember to pack with some water. An alpenstock is also necessary. You can also take a flashlight for the possible outage of electricity. A pair of gloves is helpful when passing some steep roads. Sun creams are MUST to prevent from the strong sunlight. Bring raincoat during the rainy season.

3. Accommodation Tips

There are many guest houses along the hiking trails, but the facilities are basic as this region is rural and far from cities. Convenient highways connect many villages. There are public washrooms, bathing room and hot water supply. The prices are ranging from 30 RMB to 200 RMB differing by facilities and location. Most guest house offer Chinese food. Some better guest houses also provide some basic western food and drinks.

4. Safety

Follow the high trail rather than the low trail. The high trail is no any problem for hiking. If you are independent travelers, try to find a local guide to go with you. They are experienced and know the way which will make you safe.