Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡
This canyon on the Jinsha River 金沙江 is a United Nations World Heritage Site. It is 60km north of picturesque Lijiang City, Yunnan province.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is the world's deepest river canyon. The area was opened to foreign tourists in 1993, and has attracted backpackers across the world. There are controversial plans to improve the existing trails and roads, bringing tour buses and more development.
The 22km high road trekking path is well-maintained and marked, although sometimes narrow, and at times impassable due to heavy rains. This trail is 22km, much shorter than the lower road but is more varied. It features a variety of micro-ecosystems, waterfalls, and guest houses for trekkers. The guest houses are not well-heated, which combined with the unpredictable nature of high mountain weather makes this trek unadvisable during the rainy season.
The lower road, stretching about 195 km from Qiaotou through the Gorge, is a stretch of pavement crossed by several waterfalls, and frequently beset by rockslides. Some portions of the road have been known to disappear into the river below. The road follows the Yangtze River, so there are more views of the river, and a stronger sense of being in a gorge than on the upper trail. Where the high road descends to meet the lower road, one can climb down to the river near Tiger Leaping Stone, the point at which the tiger is said to have leaped.