If you happen to find yourself in the Three Parallel Rivers Park, it’s very important you don’t miss out on the Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡). It’s currently dubbed as the deepest in the planet. It runs for more than 10 kilometers and is composed of three sections, with different water temperaments. The upper section, where the water from the Yangtze River flows, starts off quite more peacefully or composed, although over 15 rapids can happen within the gorge. However, as it traverses through the middle section, the waters can already get pretty wild and even more thrilling once it reaches the last part. In the middle of it all is a significant rock that measures around 30 meters in width. According to legends, this is the same rock used by a tiger to get to the other side—hence the name of the gorge.
There are a lot of things you can do in the gorge. For those who want to play it safe, they can simply watch on the sides. Some parts have railings for protection. Most, however, prefer to get involved in the action. One of the most exciting activities within the area is white water rafting. This involves riding out the waves aboard a round floating device. Paddles are provided for to achieve better control of movement, although balance becomes harder to achieve as the waves become more crashing and raging. Because the speed of the waters can vary depending on the section of the gorge, white water rafting appeals to almost all types of people. The upper sections are great for beginners while the more experienced can ride in the middle.
Hiking is another. The gorge actually offers different hiking paths. One of the easiest is to look for the colored markers that indicate the starting point of the walk. You normally begin in Qiao Tou after having been dropped off from Shangri-La. This also brings you close to the upper gorge. You can then walk along the path until you reach a halfway guest house. Continue walking until you reach the Paradise on the World. Turn right to arrive at a huge groove and Tina’s Guest House. Follow a straight path and walk for kilometers until you get to Woody Guest House, where the lower section of the gorge can be found. You can then exit to Daju. It’s possible to walk for more than 10 miles. The trek can also be part of a weeklong holiday in the province. Sometimes you may have to stay at any of the guest houses around the area overnight before you can complete the entire route. Along the way you can pass by Guanyin Waterfalls, the villages of Yongsheng and Bendiwan, Changsheng Village, and Walnut Garden.
Address: 100 kilometers northwest of Hutiaoxia Town, Shangri-la
Admission Fees: CNY 65
Operating Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
How to Get There: Take a bus from Lijiang and arrive at Qiaotou.