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Tiger Leaping Gorge

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Tiger Leaping Gorge

When Is the Best Time 

The best seasons to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge are winter, spring, and autumn. Read our detailed tips regarding each season:

Winter, Low Season (December - January/February)

A good time to hike the gorge. Days are often sunny, dry and clear (up to 12°C / 54°F), but nights get cold (to 0°C / 32°F) and mornings very chilly. Keep in mind that in February it’s Chinese Spring Festival: Accommodations are heavily booked for two weeks. Check the starting dates: Spring Festival Eve in China

Spring, Soulder Season (March - May)

March and April are excellent months to hike. Especially in April, the weather is comfortable with possible temperatures up to 20°C (68°F). Still, bring a light jacket. May is still a less busy month with even warmer days than in April and blooming flora. Quote from our reviewer Rajdeep: 'A great month is April: Fewer locals to pester tourists to part with cash combined with pleasant weather'

Summer, High Season (June - September)

Wet season, not the best time to hike. The rain lasts until September / mid-October. The wettest months are July / August. Hiking is still possible as there are many sunny days. However, during or after heavy rainfall the road and trail through the gorge might be closed on certain days. Despite the unpleasant weather conditions, this is also the busiest season with the most ‘scams’.

Autumn, Shoulder Season (October - November)

Mid-October until November are also excellent. Usually dry and sunny, beautiful landscape, green trees, and blossoms. However, bring a long-sleeve shirt, light sweater, and a coat. Nice November hiking report: Hiking TLG in November. Monthly temperature and rainfall overview (the climate in Lijiang is almost identical): Lijiang Weather Regardless of the month: Check the weather forecast.
 

Annoyances/Scams

Besides the official gorge trail fee, there are many locals demanding cash from tourists. These unofficial posts collect money for parts of the path. Most of them are present during the busiest time from May/June until September/October. Less from March to April or mid-October to November and often none in winter (December - January/February)!

Discover 
Hiking
CN
Where  
China, Lijiang
Review and Tips 

Tiger Leaping Gorge lies between Haba Snow Mountain & Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Approx altitude is 2000 meters on average. It starts with a couple of hours from Lijiang from a place called Qiaotou Village. From there you should hike up the mountain taking your time and not racing with others. This trek can be completed in two days and by spending one night up in the mountain village where inns are specially catering to hikers but my advice would be to spend at least two nights on the mountain and three whole days to properly soak in the beauty and not get all exhausted in doing it. April is a good season to so as there are fewer locals to pester tourists to part with cash. And refrain from paying any money to the locals for taking pictures or going through certain areas of the trail. One of the best treks Yunnan has to offer.

reviewed by Rajdeep

 

Maps

Basic Map - very helpful overview
Detailed Map & Description

Getting There

The starting point and trailhead for your hike is the village of Qiaotou (桥头). Most visitor stay at Lijiang. You can get from Lijiang to Qiaotou easily by public bus within 2,5 hours. There is also a bus from Shangri-la to Qiaotou. The tickets are between 25 and 30 RMB. Buy the tickets the day before. Also, make sure you buy tickets to Qiaotou and not to Tiger Leaping Gorge and tell the bus driver to stop at Qiaotou. The stop at Tiger Leaping Gorge will take you past the trailhead for a ‘touristy’ 2 hour walk. That’s not the ‘real hike’! Read more details here: Wikipedia - Getting to Tiger Leaping Gorge
 

Rough Itinerary (2-3 days)

First morning: From Lijiang (or Shangri-la) to Qiaotou by bus  >  buy the TLG ticket (60 yuan) > hike to Naxi Guest House (good meal) > another 5+ hours to the Halfway Guesthouse > the next day hike to Tina’s Guesthouse > go further, explore Walnut Grove. Maybe stay another night at Tibet Guest House (book in advance)  - highly recommended, best guest house in TLG. Read this Blogger’s Itinerary


Where to Stay
  • Elegant Home Inn (Lijiang): Exceptional! If you want more comfort and privacy than the usual hostel, for an affordable price, book the Elegant Inn. Rooms are comfortable and spacious, the layout is exquisite, the decoration is sweet, nice views, very clean and very friendly staff.
  • More Alternatives (Lijiang): Hostels and Hotels in Lijiang. Enter your preferred dates and then check the list of hotels and hostels. Make sure to change the search criteria to your liking at the top bar. We usually select 'Review Score & Price'.
  • Blossom Dynasty Inn (Shangri-la): Outstanding hotel. Unique design, awesome service, the owners are very warm and extremely helpful. Our recommendation: A++

Adventure Tours (including Tiger Leaping Gorge)

Pure and unfiltered China including an incredible 2-days Tiger Leaping Gorge hike without the hassle of taking care of everything: We traveled quite often with G Adventures ourselves and can highly recommend both tours:

Hong Kong to Xi’an (13 days): Yangshuo countryside bike ride with local lunch (full-day) > Bird and flower market visit (Kunming) > Orientation walk in Lijiang > Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek (2 days) > Panda Breeding Centre excursion (Chengdu) | All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Hong Kong to Beijing (20 days): Yangshuo countryside bike ride with local lunch (full-day) > Bird and flower market visit (Kunming) > Orientation walk in Lijiang > Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek (2 days) >Panda Breeding Center excursion (Chengdu) > Calligraphy class (Pingyao) > Forbidden City visit > Great Wall Mutianyu excursion > Hanging Temple visit > Yungang Grottoes visit | All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

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Comments

Feb 03, 2016

This is one of the deepest gorges on our planet. Must be a stunning hike! Thanks for the great tips and the photos @Rajdeep!

Feb 04, 2016

@Rajdeep: April sounds good with less locals pestering tourists. Anyway, I read that in summer during the rainy season it’s often too dangerous to hike. Besides April other good months could be May (= blooming flowers) and then after the rainy season in October and November. What do you think of these months?

Feb 04, 2016
Fantastic hike and pictures Rajdeep. How are day and night temperatures in April?
Feb 04, 2016

@Steffi - Thanks

@SandyH - I think it could be a good idea to hike anytime before or after the rains but I personally like to hike during "off-season" as there are less 'locals' to bother you. I have heard that sometimes the locals ask for money if sit on some rock and pose for photos. During peak season this is quite a bother. Also there was a horseman who followed us for quite a long way hoping that we might want to ask for his services but we completely ignored him and finally he dropped away at the higher part of the trail. There was one woman just after the 28 bends and she would not let us sit on a certain ledge of protruding rock to take pictures of the snow covered mountain in front of us but since we were six of us and we argued quite loudly in English which she did not know very well , we managed to take pictures without paying her anything. I believe these small things get amplified during peak season.

@Micha - Day and Night temperatures vary to a big extent. While you would be hiking during daytime the sun will feel good and you won't even need any woolens. Even a T-shirt will be enough. But during the night it will get really really cold so it is better to carry along something warm for the night.

Feb 04, 2016

Thanks Rajdeep! Then we will probably go in April as well :)

Feb 04, 2016

@SandyH - you might want to visit lugu lake as well. It is six hours by bus from lijiang. You can check out my other post for lugu lake.

Feb 06, 2016

Absolutely stunning! Thank you for all the tips you have posted, Rajdeep, right down to sharing the temps day/night and putting on our radar to be aware that some of the locals ask for money for photos and attempt to provide services.

Feb 06, 2016

@Melissa - I am delighted that my experiences will help someone have a fantastic vacation.

Mar 06, 2016

Stunning! This will be one of my destinations for next year. Hopefully in April.

Apr 13, 2016

Tiger Leaping Gorge hike does not require a guide. The trail is easy to follow because there are signs along the way (they are a little worn out but not difficult to see).

Also there will be a lot of people on this trail so there will always be someone to follow and if you happen to linger around the place and lose sight of the person before you, just follow the next person who comes along, and there will be plenty.

Plus print the map I have uploaded on here and take it with you. I found many maps but this one shows all the resthouses along the way most accurately.

So need for a guide at all. Do it in two days or three days according to your vacation schedule. Halfway guesthouse is a good place to stop for the night. If anyone along the way tells you that it is full because it is not taking any bookings over the phone - don't worry because they do not take too many advance bookings. The result - you can always get a bed if you arrive there without advance reservation.

Aug 08, 2016

"五马归槽" in Tiger Leaping Gorge is a wanderful place and is well worth a visit.

Aug 29, 2016

We went during off season In November. There were not that many of these unofficial "toll booths"/pesky vendors in November. The weather was also pretty cool and dry when we were there. Excellent conditions!

No one is blocking the hiking path at the upper to middle part of the gorge (until Tina's Guesthouse)- there are a however couple of view points on this path where there are locals demanding cash if you want to access these viewpoints (on the basis that they maintain the view points) - I counted 2 such view points? There is great scenery all around, so I didn't really bother paying for these.

The middle to lower gorge trail is the one where you will encounter a couple of locals guarding the main hiking path or makeshift gates which are locked/closed. I paid "tolls" twice on this route, including one to access the Sky Ladder and the other one from Tibet Guesthouse down to the lower gorge using the Yi Xian Tian route.

For me it wasn't annoying cos I knew about it beforehand and was prepared to pay these amounts (which isn't much) on top of the official park admission fees. Just enjoy the hike and pay the unofficial "tolls"!