China – Tiger Leaping Gorge, THE hike

It had been over a year that I had been thinking of hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge and then one sunny morning with the snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background we were there.
I had the impression that this hike wouldn’t be too arduous therefore, feeling comfortable, we took no guide as the route seemed straightforward and we rebuffed the guys offering mules for our bags at the start.
A few hours later on arriving at our accommodation, we had a different attitude.. after we missed turning off the road at the beginning and started climbing the road (until fortunately some workers sent us back down to the track), and as we questioned why we were so liberal with our packing we were still recovering from the heat, which almost toppled us along with the bags.
However, at the cost of a strenuous hike, you get breathtaking views of  peaks above 5600m, and an impressive canyon of 1000m.

Voyagista’s Tips

  • Do it  over two days on your way to Shangri-La from Lijiang. Some information here
  • The “higher trail” is a real hike: be in shape and have the necessary equipment
  • At the beginning of the hike, make sure that you leave the paved road at the “Small Guesthouse” to start hiking on the dirt path following the gorge.
  • You can buy mineral water from local people selling drinks on the side of the track
  • Access from Lijiang by bus or taxi to Qiaotou. To leave the gorge, you can organize private transportation to take you to Shangri-La trough the beautiful “old” road and stop on the way at BaiShui Tai to see the white water terraces. Otherwise, from the end of the walk, transportation is organized by Tina’s both to Shangri-La and Lijiang in the late afternoon (around 4pm when we were there)

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