Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Gorge)

Map of Tiger Leaping Gorge
Map of Tiger Leaping Gorge
(Click to enlarge it)

About 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Lijiang Old Town lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan) and Haba Snow Mountain (Haba Xueshan) is Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Gorge), which is one of the deepest gorges in the world. From the top of the gorge you look down the steeply angled (70-90 degrees) mountain sides to the rushing Golden Sands (Jinsha) River with its 18 frothing rapids more than 200 meters (about 700 feet) below.

Naturally divided into three sections, the first section, which is the narrowest and uppermost section, is the mouth of the fast flowing Jingsha River. In the midst of the river's mouth is a large rock that is positioned at the gorge's narrowest section-only 30 meters (33 yards) wide. The altitude of the mouth of the Tiger Leaping Gorge is 1,800m (984 fathoms).

An ancient legend says that a tiger used this rock as its stepping stone so it could leap across from one side of the gorge to the other, which is how the place got its name.

As the river enters the middle section, it drops another 100 meters (330 feet) and its flow rate increases to an amazing speed. Here the thunderous rushing waters slam into sharp, large rocks and crash down into the river forming swirling whirlpools. Can it get more exciting? Yes, it can as the third and lowest section is acclaimed for being the wildest attraction of all!

The cliffs over-looking this section are even steeper and much more dangerous. Here, the river twists and turns and the river vigorously surges  forward creating high waves and a frothy spew as it collides with the mountainsides. This is a view that inspires a sense of adventure and satisfies the deepest yearnings for magnificent scenery.

The Tiger Leaping Gorge stretches about 15 kilometers (nine miles) and also affords people the possibility of rafting and drifting peacefully in its large quiet sections, for the gentler folks among us and an exciting rafting adventure for the more experienced. Do not want to raft?
Tiger Leaping Gorge, Lijiang
Entrance to Tiger Leaping Gorge

Hiking Tips

1. It’s quite popular to hike along the gorge, and you can follow the signs made by other visitors along the way.
2. This is a great sightseeing stop with enormous photo opportunities. But the Tiger Leaping Gorge tour is long, so you are not suggested to bring many bags. Bring your camera, wear skidproof shoes, and be prepared to be astonished. Besides, 1-2 bottles of water are necessary.
3. Some difficulties may occur in the hiking along Tiger Leaping Gorge, you can choose to ride the local horse on the way.
4. The best time to visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge is April – June and September & October due to the good weather condition.

How to get to Tiger Leaping Gorge

1.Take bus from Lijiang Transport Service Center Bus Station to Tiger Leaping Gorge. It departs at 08:00 and 08:30 every morning and takes around 1.5 - 2 hours to reach there.
2. Charter a car from Lijiang. It costs around CNY 300 to 400 per day.
3. The Gorge is located between Lijiang and Shangri-La, so visitors can take the inter-city buses of the two and ask the driver to drop you off at the gorge.


Visitors can also catch a bus passing by Tiger Leaping Gorge to Shangri-La.

Entrance Fee CNY 35;
Free for children under 1.2m (3.9ft).
Opening Hours 9:00 - 16:30
Recommended Time for a Visit 2 hours
Scenic of Tiger Leaping Gorge
Swift-flowing river in Hu Tiao Xia
Stream flows in the gorge
Mild Section of Hutiao Gorge
 Top 10 Things to Do in Yunnan
- Last modified on Nov. 12, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Gorge)
Asked by kin | Nov. 11, 2018 21:30Reply
which one of Tiger Leaping Gorge is better to hike either upper, middle or lower trail?
im planning to hike in late June next year and it was said rainy season. do you have any opinion? thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by Lauren from USA | Nov. 12, 2018 00:06

From the upper to middle section is much better. Although June is the rainy season, generally speaking, it won't influence the sightseeing a lot. Don't worry.
Asked by Luc from NETHERLANDS | Oct. 19, 2018 20:06Reply
If we take the bus back from Tina’s guesthouse to Lijiang.
Can i make IT to the airport of Lijiang at 18.00 the Same day?
Answers (1)
Answered by Ogden from USA | Oct. 21, 2018 23:11

I'm afraid you cannot because the bus leaving Tina's Guesthouse to Lijing usually departs at 15:30 pm. The bus ride may needs about 4 -5 hours. So you cannot make it to the Lijiang airport at 18:00. If you want to get to the Lijiang airport from the hotel in one day, you are advised to ask the hotel keeper to help you hire a car, which is the fastest way.
Asked by ThomasC from USA | Oct. 10, 2018 15:41Reply
Hiking lower/middle trail of Tiger Leaping Gorge
I’m in Lijiang. I’d like to hike the lower and/or middle trails. I don’t have the time for the upper trail. Should I go to Tiger Leaping gorge or Qiaotao?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mia from FINLAND | Oct. 10, 2018 19:06

Yes, the experience of lower and middle trail of TLG will be also great, especially for the middle section.
Have fun!
Asked by PPWong from HONG KONG | Sep. 02, 2018 21:07Reply
1 day visit to Tiger Leaping Gorge n Jade Show Mountain
Hi, I would be travelling early morning from ShangriLa to Lijiang and would like to visit TLG n JSM enroute.Is it possible to visit these 2 places in a day? Could you please provide some tips on the best parts to go and how to go between these 2 areas given that I would only spend a day there. Thanks.
Answers (1)
Answered by Owen from FINLAND | Sep. 02, 2018 23:04

The time is so limited that you can't totally enjoy those places. Anyway, you are suggested to hire a local car to take you there.
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