Hiking along Tiger Leaping Gorge
The gorge is around 15km long and the narrow point is only 25 meters; a walk through the gorge offers a spectacular scenery and unique trekking experience. The hiking trails start with a drive from Lijiang to either Qiaotou or Daju (the driving time is approximately 2.5 hours- 3 hours).
The scenery is dramatic. The swift current of the Yangtze has carved a path through the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains that reaches a depth of greater than 3,000 meters, and the surrounding mountains soar to heights surpassing 5,500 meters. These are mountains out of a child's drawings - the peaks jut sharply from the earth, and end in a perfect point, capped with snow. Cactus plants and pine trees dot the landscape, and if there weren't the occasional Naxi farmers ambling by with a donkey, one could mistake the topography with Sierra Nevada or Colorado.
Typically, travelers do the trip in two days. Each day is a walk of approximately 4-6 hours that is not particularly strenuous, but with plenty of dips and rises along the ridge to give a bit of a workout. Basic accommodations can be provided with clean beds and hot water shower.
Standing around 2,700 meters above see level, Tiger Leaping Gorge turns freezing cold in winter, thus leaving the trail a real challenge for hikers. The rainy season from June to September could be a dangerous time to hike due to the possibility of landslides. Therefore, May with less rain and mild temperature sounds to be the best time to come, when the trail blazes with vivid colors.
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