I could not wait to leave overcrowded Chinese coastline and flew to Yunnan province, the home of great human and natural diversity. And I was even more excited about trekking in one of the deepest gorges in the world- in Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hǔtiào Xiá, 虎跳峡)- with its maximum depth of approximately 3790 meters from Jinsha river to mountain peaks of Haba Shan mountain.
It was November and colorful autumn in all its glory; weather was excellent, first day it was very hot (please take enough water with you and put a cap on your head otherwise you can end up with sun stroke), on the second day it was a bit cloudy but still nice temperature for hiking. I recommend to split the trek in 2 days to appreciate more its beauty.
The trail passes Naxi people villages, minority based in Lijiang city and living also in Tiger Leaping Gorge, you’ve got plenty of guesthouses run by locals where you can spend the night. While trekking, I met few ladies selling some food and water in the shadow of temporary built kind of shelters… Some of them also sell some “herbs” to make you happier 🙂
After overcoming famous 28 Bends, agonising turns going up and up, I was at the highest point of the gorge and I felt like a winner. This part of the gorge is the toughest one, then it is relatively straightforward walk to villages.
I stayed overnight in Tea Horse Guesthouse with great Naxi owner; the lady speaks English and prepares excellent Western food. Accommodation is simple but nice and clean, cheap (private double bed room for 90RMB/ night= around 10Euro) and has awesome view of Haba mountains.
Second day trek was easier, it is just descending to Jinsha river passing rocky paths, waterfalls and Naxi people leading their animals to villages or working on the fields.
Tiger Leaping Gorge has two trails: the upper one (the one I did) and lower one which I would recommend only if you prefer strolling around the river.
Admission: 65 RMB (November 2014)
Starting point: Qiaotou Village, bus from Lijiang to Qiaotou costs 25RMB
Accommodation: Guesthouses along the trail in Naxi villages