Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges in the world and one of the most popular hikes in China. Yet, standing at the trailhead I was in doubt that I was in the right place at all. Void of other hikers and any obvious indications that this was indeed the right place despite large ticket office at the beginning of the trail is poorly sign posted. For the couple of hours of the trek you will find yourself snaking steeply uphill. Good footwear with ankle support and plenty of water is a must.
I would suggest doing this trip over two days. This will allow more time to take the hike at a more reasonable speed. Better the view which takes your breath away than the pace. There are many guesthouses along the high trail that are able to provide all sorts of amenities and services. My travel buddy and I met a couple from Amsterdam when we were a little lost on the trail. Luckily, they had a guide who was able to set us in the right direction. They were kind enough to let us hike with them.
A fellow Englishman soon joined us. Together we hiked to the hostel cleverly but not so accurately named Half Way House. This guesthouse is situated in a beautiful spot with a viewing platform perfectly poised to take in an utterly breathtaking view of the mountains. However this is not the only guesthouse in the village, feel free to shop around for the best price.
The second day seemed only provide more and more awe inspiring views, as we past waterfalls, herds of mountain goats, interesting flora and a plethora of changing rock formations we arrived at a trail that passes the rock where legend has it a tiger leaped across the gorge to escape poachers. But I feel the real magic of this place is to witness the intoxicating power of the rapids crashing along the canyon. You can cross a rope bridge to stand almost dangerous close to the raging torrents. Although you are not in any immanent danger I would certain say this is not for the faint hearted.
Continuing on we walked along a path cut out of the cliff face. We followed the along the ridge of the mountain. It’s important to be careful with your footing. A single slip could prove deadly. The trail continues through the mountains and under waterfalls. After a few short hours we arrived at our final destination a guesthouse in the last village before the end of the gorge. We tucked into some well deserved food and shared a celebratory beer.
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