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Tiger Leaping Gorge

Lying on the way to Shangri-La from Lijiang Old Town, Tiger Leaping Gorge is the longest, deepest, and narrowest gorge in the world. Around 18 km (11.23 miles) in length, it is located at the upper reach of the Golden Sands River; 60km (37.45 miles) from Lijiang Old Town. Flowing through Shigu Town (Chigu means Stone Drum in Chinese) which is known as the First Bend of the Yangtze River, the Golden Sand River turns around up north in the crack between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain from which a gorge is formed. The narrowest part is where Tiger Leaping Gorge located. The whole scape is divided into three sections with curving road of 25 km (15.6 miles); they are the Upper section, the Middle section and the Lower section. With Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to its east and Haba Snow Mountain to the west, the gorge has a drop of 3790 meters (2.35 miles); which is higher than the famous Hells Canyon (2400 meters; 1.5miles) in USA. The narrowest part of the gorge is only 30 meters wide. There is a legend that a tiger once jumped across the gorge by clearing the rock from which the name Tiger Leaping Gorge comes. The gorge is dangerous with standing reefs, 21 dangerous shoals, 7 drop-ridge of 10 meters (32.8 ft) high and 10 waterfalls. The fall from the Upper Gorge to the Lower reaches 210 meters (689 ft) with an average of 14 meters per Kilometer. The river is in various states; sometimes it gallops with random stones and flying waves; sometimes it becomes misty with flying waterfalls; which forms a peculiar landscape.

Sections of Tiger Leaping Gorge

The gate of the gorge is in 1800 meters (1.12 miles) height. Its south bank, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, is in 5596 meters (3.48 miles) height with cliff to the gorge; its north bank, the Haba Snow Mountain, is in 5386 meters (3.34 miles) height with a simple gravel road going through the gorge; there is a footpath above the gavel road.

Located about 9 km (5.750 miles) away from the Qiaotou Village, the Upper Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge is the narrowest section. There is a huge rock lying in the center of the river; dividing the riptide into two parts. It is said that a tiger once leapt from the east bank, clearing the rock, to land on the west bank. The name of the rock"Tiger Leaping Gorge Rock" comes from the legend.

Located at about 5 km (3.1 miles) miles from the Upper Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge, the Middle Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge is in extreme drop. The reef section"Mantianxing(Stars all over the sky)" is the most dangerous section. Reef rocks stand in the 100-meter gorge with rapid stream and flying waves.

Hiking across the"Huashiban landslide" which is a landslide in the Middle Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge,you will find the Lower Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge. There is a 1 km (0.621 miles) deep gully lying at the Lower Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is the best place for enjoying the sight of the whole gorge.

Tiger Leaping Gorge is recognized as one of the most famous scenic attractions for Hiking in the world; as well as one of the must-visit hiking itineraries in Yunnan recommended by 'Lonely Planet'. There are two ways for hiking in the gorge; one is starting from Qiaotou Village in Zhongdian(Shangri-la); then hiking across the gorge and getting to Lijiang Old Town; the other way is starting from the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and ferrying through Daju Village, hiking across the gorge and getting to Qiaotou Village. The hiking way can be finished in 2 or 3 days no matter in which way. Considering the carrying of the luggage, we recommend the hiking way of the Upper and Middle Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge; then taking a bus to Shangri-la.

With the improvement of the facilities and lodge service on the way, the hiking becomes much easier now. All healthy people can finish the hiking as long as the schedule is fine-tuned, the itinerary is well-selected.

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