Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge Travel Guide, Yunnan




At the junction  of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau stands one of Yunnan's more famous spots, Tiger Leaping Gorge. The gorge is tucked neatly between the Yulong Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain, which surround its two sides.

The 17km-long gorge is divided into three segments with an aggregate fall of 210 meters.  At the opening of the gorge, which is also the mouth of the Jinsha River, a Herculean pebble, about 30 meters wide, seems to be stranded amidst the billowing waves.

You can witness an incredibly loud, churning, foaming river relentlessly pounding giant boulders in its path.

Tiger Leaping Gorge is an unforgettable display of powerfully intense raw nature.

Trekking Route & Maps: Tiger Leaping Gorge to Baishuitai, Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Maps

Best time to go

Spring is the best time as the river turbulence is at its peak (melting snow flows down from the Himalayan mountains).

Fall is the second best period because of its generally pleasant weather. Rains are heaviest during late summer.

Getting there & away

From Lijiang, the First Bend of the Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Village can be arranged as part of a one day tour. The trip costs about RMB160 and the price includes all the admission costs, bus fares, guide and lunch.

If you don't like to join the one day tour, you can take buses from the bus stations around town to Tiger Leaping Town, which is about 90km from Lijiang. From here, there are pedicabs or minibuses to transfer you 9km further to the Upper Rapids of the gorge.

More about Tiger Leaping Gorge

  • The Chinese name of Tiger Leaping Gorge is Hutiao Xia
  • Legend has it that in ancient times, a tiger frequently used this pebble as a stepping stone to leap across the gorge. Most visitors take in the most famous first segment of the gorge to observe the narrowest part of the river and see the Tiger Leaping Pebble.
  • This rocky gorge is flanked by mountains on both sides that sharply rise 3,000m above the river.
  • The canyon's narrowest point is just 30m wide. It has a riverside observation platforms for upclose viewing. There, the river water sounds like a roaring angry monster.
  • The water that flows through the Tiger Leaping Gorge is the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, near the beginning of its long journey to sea. (Note: The river is named Jinsha River in this part of China).

Tips & Reminders

There are 3 basic routes through the Tiger Leaping Gorge. One is the road that hugs the river. The second is by footpath which runs high above the river. The latter offers better adventure and vistas, but is recommended only to fit, experienced mountain trekkers as it is hazardously narrow and precipitous.

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