Tiger Leaping Gorge: the Trekking Delight of Yunnan


Tiger Leaping Gorge Promises an Extraordinary Trekking Adventure 

 There are many places in China that are known for their natural beauty. But the sense of adventure that the Tiger Leaping Gorge instills in the trekkers is unlike any other place in the country. The gorge is flanked by some of the highest cliffs and it takes one to some of the most exotic mountains on the way downriver. However the latest decisions of the government in trying to develop the area have threatened its natural ambience and resources.  

The Beauty of Tiger Leaping Gorge 

Tiger Leaping Gorge has been so exotically named because of its location and looks. This phenomenal site is a part of the World Heritage plan. It has been a popular destination for tourists and students alike. All those who visit China to learn Chinese or to do gap year jobs in the country always take time out from their work to visit this site. The Tiger Leaping Gorge is known for its natural beauty, and the opportunity to indulge in the lap of nature here bypasses the beauty of some of the biggest heritage sights in the world.
The gorge itself is one of the most precarious places. The river at the bottom is not navigable. Both sides of the gorge are flanked by cliffs and mountains which rise up to a height of almost five and a half kilometers. The river is said to have category six rapids and non-navigable areas. In the early 1980s, four rafters first attempted to raft down the river but they were never seen again. It was not until 1986 that the first expedition successfully managed to sail down the river. The name of the gorge itself has been derived from a legend which talks of a tiger leaping across the river (at its narrowest point) to escape a hunter. This was a remarkable feat that impressed everyone who ever heard of it. As a result, this adventurous site earned its name. If you are in Yunnan on Chinese language programs or just to learn Mandarin, you will be able to visit this stupendous place very easily.  

 Backpackers and trekkers have found this to be one of the most wonderful places to spend their time. There is the hiking path or the “high road” that has been marked clearly which exceeds the length of 14 miles. The trail takes the trekkers to variegated places which include micro-ecosystems, waterfalls and guest houses. The longer trail which goes through the lower portion of the gorge extends to 121 miles in length and is used by expert trekkers. There is a point where the high road descends to meet the lower road and this is near the point where the tiger is said to have leapt across the gorge. However, officially, the trekking trail was closed for construction work in 2010, but despite this closure, a lot of professionals and trekking enthusiasts are still known to take the trail.  

Tiger Leaping Trail Sketch


Tiger Leaping Gorge Sketch Map ( from ayican.com)


Tiger Leaping Gorge 1


Tiger Leaping Gorge 1



Tiger Leaping Gorge 2


Tiger Leaping Gorge 2



Arrving at Half Way


Arriving at Half Way



Continue to walk along the walking path in the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Continue to Walk in the along the Tiger Leaping Gorge trail.


Tiger Leaping Gorge also shows the downside of development taking place in China. All those who are visiting China on study abroad programs will know of the dam project that was planned by the central government was scrapped by Yunnan Province. This was done to prevent the destruction of natural resources in the process, but despite the cancellation of plans, there are other projects which have continued in the periphery of the gorge, devastating the area in the process.

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