A visit to Lijiang city or Yunnan province in China must include a Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike. Beautiful nature and a thrilling hike await you there! During my annual trip with my son we went there on a day trip from Lijiang. We had a great night sleep at the Intercontinental Lijiang Resort and when we woke up we had a beautiful view on Snow Dragon Mountain (photo below). After a big breakfast our driver from the Rural China agency was already waiting and we headed to Tiger Leaping Gorge just after 9AM. A great day trip which I will share with you with tips and photos.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike
Tiger Leaping Gorge is located between two snowcapped mountains called Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain. Each of them are holy mountains and Haba Snow Mountain area is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gorge is one of the deepest in the world with a length of 15 kilometers. To reach Tiger Leaping Gorge it takes just over an hour by car from Lijiang.
TIP! Make sure you cross the bridge and visit the Shangri-La side of the gorge; there is the hike! The Lijiang side only has a flat paved walkway along the river which you will see in just over an hour and is boring.
After you cross the bridge into the Shang-ri La province you will arrive quickly in Qiaotou. In Qiaotou you have to buy the entrance tickets for the Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike. You could hike the full hike from there to the end, called Tina’s Guesthouse, in a day but then you probably should start there at 8AM. We drove the first part to the spot to walk down to the river first. This is the spot where legend says a tiger jumped across the river escaping a hunter. Here you can have a great look at the fast flowing water and with all the steps a good test to make sure you are fit at this altitude for a hike. From there we continued by car up the mountain to Halfway, to the so called Halfway Guesthouse. At the guesthouse we had a great affordable lunch with some Snow Mountain Beer.
With our driver from Rural China we discussed, in Chinese, the rest of the day as he would drive to the end point while we walked. Rural China offers also English speaking guides of course but we were learning Chinese and this way we were forced to speak Chinese. The maps give two parts from Halfway Guesthouse to Tina Guesthouse at the end. This totals to about 3:30 hours of walking but we finished this 2nd part of the trail in just over two hours! We didn’t run!
From Halfway the first part goes around a rock after which there is an easier path for like half an hour. After that you pass some narrow paths along the cliffs sometimes not more as half a meter wide and there is no protection there. You must walk carefully here and not slip as the cliffs are a few hundred of meters down. After a while you have to climb up around 300-400 meters before descending down to Tina Guesthouse, the end point. The last part is more difficult to walk but there are no cliffs anymore. There are arrows pointing you in the correct direction on the trail. We did not enounter any other hikers or even local people on the trail! Watch the photos in the gallery for the great views you have on the way. The views are amazing and if you are in the Yunnan province this is a hike you simply must do!
Things to keep in mind while hiking the Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike
The Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike is not a really difficult hike to do but keep in mind some things:
- If you hike the full hike (7-8 hours?) than start early, or sleep a night at one of the guesthouses.
- If you hike half of the length like we did, which is recommended for a day, hike the second part which is more beautiful.
- Keep in mind you are walking at an altitude of 2500-2700 meters. Although there is not much climbing keep in mind possible altitude sickness if you just arrived at this altitude.
- Take enough water at the start which is enough for at least half of the hike. During our part we did not see anyone except goats!
- If there was a lot of rainfall recently get information if the paths are accessible because of possible landslides.
- Be aware of the uneven path and do not slip over rocks and fall into the cliffs. Walk it at a speed that is comfortable for you.
For the rest just enjoy the scenery! It is amazing. It is a beautiful hike and highly recommended to do also with kids. I did the hike with my son of 12 and he enjoyed the Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike also a lot!
Did you visit this place or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!
Gallery of Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike
Check the gallery for more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.
GPS Track Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike
During my trips I make GPS tracks (sometimes they do not show, click download to open in Google maps). Feel free to download them and see how we moved around and see the time frames at the various places. Hope these maps are of help for you when planning your trips.