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Tiger Leaping Gorge

About 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Lijiang Old Town lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain is Tiger Leaping Gorge ((hu tiao xia)), which is believed to be one of the deepest gorges in the world. From the top of the gorge you look down the steeply angled (70-90 degrees) mountain sides to the rushing Golden Sands (Jingsha) River with its 18 frothing rapids more than 200 meters (about 700 feet) below.

Tiger Leaping Gorge Tiger Leaping Gorge
Torrent in the Tiger Leaping Gorge Tiger Leaping Gorge flows between deep gorge.

Naturally divided into three sections, the first section, which is the narrowest and uppermost section, is the mouth of the fast flowing Jingsha River. In the middle of the river's mouth is a large rock that is positioned at the gorge's narrowest section-only 30 meters (99 feet) wide. An ancient legend says that a tiger used this rock as its stepping stone so it could leap across from one side of the gorge to the other, which is how the gorge got its name.

As the river enters the middle section, it drops another 100 meters (330 feet) and rushes through with incredible speed. Here the thunderous waters slam into sharp, large rocks and crash down into the river forming swirling whirlpools. Can it get more exciting? Yes, it can as the third and lowest section is acclaimed for being the wildest attraction of all!

The cliffs over-looking this section are even steeper and much more dangerous. Here, the river twists and turns and the river vigorously surges forward creating high waves and a frothy spew as it collides with the mountainsides. This is a view that inspires a sense of adventure and satisfies the deepest yearnings for magnificent scenery.

The gorge stretches about 15 kilometers (9 miles). For the experienced and adventurous, thrilling raft rides are available. The magnificent backdrop of the gorge, combined with the twisting white water will create an exhilarating and unforgettable white water rafting experience. For those who prefer a gentle ride, slow-speed drifting is available in the calmer sections of the gorge.

Useful Tips: This is a great sightseeing stop with enormous photo opportunities. Bring your camera, wear skidproof shoes, and be prepared for a truly fascinating day.

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