Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡 (Hǔtiào Xiá) is a canyon of the Yangtze River (locally referred to as the Jinsha River), which passes through the Haba (哈巴山) and Jade Dragon Snow Mountains (玉龙雪山) in Yunnan.
Legend has it that a tiger jumped across the shortest of the gorges—a 25-meter leap—hence its name. And in true entrepreneurial style, this namesake point today is the site of a 5-RMB photo opportunity, funds apparently is paid to the family that blazed the trail to the area many moons ago.
The trek on the high road is well-traveled by both Chinese and foreign adventurers. Between May and June the vegetation is in full bloom, and conditions are perfect for the trek. It takes the average hiker two days to walk the 23 kilometers from Qiaotao to Walnut Grove.
The journey goes uphill through the 24-bends, Yacha Village, and Bendiwan Village, and mules and sedans line the way to carry tired trekkers, their bags, or both along the strenuous path. If trekking is not on the agenda, sightseers can opt to take a van or taxi to Walnut Grove. An additional hike down to the Tiger Leaping Stone 虎跳石 (Hǔtiào Shí), near Tina's Guesthouse, will take about one hour roundtrip and cost RMB20.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge trail is accessible from Qiaotao, a small town located between Lijiang and Shangri-la. The entrance free to the trail is RMB50. Early-morning buses to Qiaotao depart from both Lijiang and Shangri-la. Additionally, buses run between Lijiang and Shangri-la every hour from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and passengers can hop off at Qiaotao.