Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡

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Tiger Leaping Gorge(Hutiao Gorge)

It is on the Jinsha River of the upper reaches of the Yangtze) is located 105 kilometers south of Zhongdian County. The gorge is 17 kilometers long with a drop of 213 meters.

Wedged between Jade Dragon Snow and Haba Mountains, The Tiger Leaping Gorge can be considered the worlds deepest gorge if measured from the peak of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Hiking along the northern side of the gorge, you will see beautiful natural scenery. In fact, this sight is so popular that now, it is hard to be alone when hiking along this aged trail.  The hike along the upper part of the Tiger Leaping Gorge takes three days and is very dangerous. You start from Daji, on the Lijiang side heading west down to the Tiger Leaping Gorge Ferry where you can ride the ferry to the other side of the gorge. Then there is a steep climb to reach the hiking rail which leads westward to a set of guesthouses and then goes further uphill. The next day becames even rougher with many bending roads along the river.  The final part of the hike is the toughest and it is very easy to get lost. The path continues into the woods and then out into a Naxi village. Finally, it continues on to Qiaotou but will still be quite a walk until you get there.  

The gorge is divided into three sections: Upper, Middle and Lower Hutiao. At the narrowest spot the river is only 30 meters wide. The mouth of the gorge is 1,800 meters above sea level. The river is flanked by Yulong and Haba snow mountains, with a height difference of 3,900 meters. It is one of the deepest gorges in the world.

Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge
Flowing through Shigu Town, the Jinsha River is flanked by the Yulong Snow Mountain to the east and the Haba Snow Mountain to the west. From the top of the Yulong Snow Mountain to the bottom of the gully is a drop of 3,700 meters, making it 1,800 meters deeper than the Colorado Grand Canyon, while the Haba Snow Mountain slopes gradually in its upper regions and is steeper further down. The mountain is 5,396 meters above sea level and the lowest point on the bank of the Jinsha River is 1,550 meters above sea level. The two mountains flanking the Jinsha River form a 15-km Gorge -- Tiger Leaping Gorge, further classified into the upper, middle and lower Tiger Leaping Gorge.
The Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge is the narrowest section, and in the center of the river is a huge rock called Tiger Leaping Rock. It is said that a tiger once leapt from the east bank, clearing the rock, to land on the west bank, hence its name.

Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge
The most perilous section is the Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge, which features a huge drop in water level. Six km away from the upper gorge is a waterfall where the river crashes down over 100 meters hitting the rocks in the river bed and creating violent currents.
In one 100-meter section are numerous reefs, and the current is torrential. The gorge is rarely traversed by humans, but on the slope between the Middle and Lower Tiger Leaping Gorge there is a small village -- Hetaoyuan Village, which has little contact with the outside, and where villagers lead a simple and natural life, dwelling in stone-plate houses.

Lower Tiger Leaping Gorge
The most important sight in the lower gorge is the Feixing Rapids, from which people can look down on the unconstrained Jinshajiang River. A 32 km long road from the Haba Mountain to Jiangbian Village has been opened to traffic, but traveling on foot is much more interesting.

From Wlanut Grove to Haba, via Jiangbian, it is seven to eight hours. From here to the Yi village of Sanba is about the same, following trails. You could just follow the road and hitch with the occasional truck or tracker but this way is longer and less scenic. Some hardy mountain bikers have followed the trails but this is really only fun from north to south, elevations being what they are. The best way would be to hire a guide.
In Haba most people stay at Haba Snow Mountain Inn; In Sanba the Shanzhuangluguan. From Sanba there is an 8 am bus to Zhongdian (five hours), or you could get off at the turn-off to Emerald Pagoda Lake (Bita Lake, 25 km east of Zhongdia) and hike there.
Trekking Routes in Tiger Leaping Gorge
There are three routes. One can start from Hutiaoxia Town along the river to Daju in Lijiang County, or go upstream from Daju. The third route sets out from Hutiaoxia Town to Hetao-yuan and is 28 km in length.
An adventurous add-on to the gorge trek is to continue north all the way to Haba village and the limestone terraces of Baishuitai, making it a four-day trek from Qiaotou. From here you will travel on to Zhongdian.

Carrying a bag, walking among people in different colors of skin and speaking different languages, you are not on Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris but Tiger-leaping orge, the world famous place for people to ravel on foot. You can begin from the upper or lower part of the gorge and finish the trip in three days. It will be a safe trip. However, the dangerousness of the gorge itself will make it more difficult for ordinary travelers.

Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Gorge)
About 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Lijiang Old Town lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan) and Haba Snow Mountain (Haba Xueshan) is Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Gorge), which is believed to be the deepest gorge 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.

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 midst of the river's mouth is a large rock that is positioned at the gorge's narrowest section-only 30 meters (33 yards) 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 its flow rate increases to an amazing speed. Here the thunderous rushing 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 (nine miles) and also affords people the possibility of rafting and drifting peacefully in its large quiet sections, for the gentler folks among us and an exciting rafting adventure for the more experienced. Do not want to raft?

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

Admission Fee: CNY 50
Recommended Time for a Visit: Two hours
Opening Hours: 08:30 to 18:00

Last Updated ( Monday, 22 June 2009 10:39 )  

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