Tiger Leaping Gorge
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.
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
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.
Tiger Leaping Gorge,Zhongdian,YunnanMiddle
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.