Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge is a canyon on the Jinsha River (Golden Sands River). It is located 60 km (37 mi) north of Lijiang City, in Southern China and offers some of the most scenic views in the country.
The area has been officially opened for tourists only since 1993, but adventurers have been exploring Tiger Leaping Gorge since the 1980s. After the roads were improved for tour buses, it’s obvious now that those shuttle up and down the gorge (the low road), stopping a drop off points along the way. To avoid these, just use the hiking path (the high road).
How to get to the Tiger Leaping Gorge
Lijiang is the gateway city into this superb gorge. It’s a small place with quite a long history. However, it’s served by an airport – with flights from major Chinese cities – , by a train station, as well as by a bus station.
From Lijiang take the bus to the gorge. The single fare is 30 RMB and the travel time is 2 h.
Best time to visit
The best time to plan a hike in the canyon is between May and early June when the flowers are in bloom.
What to do
Hiking is the reason why visitors come here. Be aware that it’s not free to hike in the area. There’s a 50 RMB fee for each visitor. The hiking path (the high road) is well marked and maintained. It can be handled by visitors even if they aren’t avid hikers. It’s longer than the lower road, but it’s more varied and the views are lovely. There are lovely trails going from the main hiking road but they are not marked on the map (although they are marked along the trail). They can be lovely detours to discover waterfalls, for example.
Typically the trek takes two days but you can go at your own pace (so anything from 1 ½ days to 3 days). When you purchase the ticket, make sure to also get a map as the guesthosues are marked on it. Some guesthouses have restaurants and places to leave your backpacks. Plus, English is spoken in many places.