Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide and Information

Our ultimate Tiger Leaping Gorge trekking guide in China’s Yunnan province, and all the information you would ever need!

View Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Views down the incredible Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Vertical cliffs rise dramatically from the turquoise waterway to the glaciated peak of Snow Dragon Snow Mountain.

The Jinsha River, a tributary of the legendary Yangtze River, meanders its way through terraced farmlands and imposing limestone ridges, creating one of the most stunning backdrops to be found anywhere in China.

For years intrepid travellers have been making the voyage to the small town of Qiaotao to take part in the captivating hike that traverses the high hills of Tiger Leaping Gorge.

It is a worthwhile trek, and something that we stoked we completed during our time in China. We had heard varying tips about the trek and how many days to stretch it out over. In the end we opted to do the trek over 3 days (well, 2.5 to be exact) and found the way we did things to be just about perfect for us.

Rather than write about how incredible Tiger Leaping Gorge is and how the sights, smells, sounds and tastes are, we have put together this guide so you can find out for yourself.

General Information On Tiger Leaping Gorge

The Gorge runs for about 15km in length and at his highest point has a maximum depth of 3790m.

The people that live in the region are primarily of the Naxi (or Nashi) ethnic minority group, who can only be found in this particular area near the base of the Himalaya.

The legend of how Tiger Leaping Gorge got its name is illustrated and fascinating.

Apparently a hunter was chasing a tiger through the gorge many years ago. When it reached the narrowest point the tiger leapt across the Jinsha River, escaping the furious hunter. The rock where the tiger made its jump is now an iconic viewing point.

The Gorge was officially opened in 1993 to foreign tourists and is now one of the most popular adventure destinations in Yunnan.

View Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Stunning views from the start of the Tiger Leaping Gorge hike.

Getting To Tiger Leaping Gorge

The town that serves as the starting point for the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek is Qiaotao (桥头) – a dusty village with not much going on for it besides its proximity to the Gorge.

While some tour companies in Lijiang do offer day trips and packaged deals, we recommend just getting to Qiaotao yourself. It is cheap and pretty easy.

Getting To Qiaotao From Lijiang

Make your way to the bus station on the south side of Lijiang by catching the number 13 public bus. We recommend buying your ticket the day before to ensure you get a seat. The bus leaves at 8.30am and they charged us 24RMB per ticket.

Make sure you tell the ticket lady and the driver you are going to Qiaotao, and not Tiger Leaping Gorge, otherwise you will end up going past the trail head.

Getting To Qiaotao From Shangri La

If you are making the mission to Tiger Leaping Gorge from Shangri La, you can jump on any long-distance bus that is going to Lijiang, Dali or Kunming. Cost should be around 30RMB.

Walnut Grove Farmer Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
A farmer carrying their load in Walnut Grove.

Visiting The Upper Gorge

If you get dropped off in the town of Qiaotao, you are right near the starting point for the Upper Trail. When you enter town the driver will stop off at the ticket booth, where you will be charged 65RMB for entrance to Tiger Leaping Gorge.

This is valid throughout the duration of your stay in the area. It is possible to avoid this fee if you arrive early in the morning or late afternoon.

Another option would be to get dropped off before town and then walk around the main street. But in our opinion, the fee is very reasonable for what you get (especially compared to the rest of China’s outrageously overpriced attractions).

One thing not to miss is the upper section of the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Located about 4km from town along the river road, the Upper Gorge has a series of boardwalks that lead you right down to the mighty Jinsha River. The view you get here is well worth the extra journey.

Your ticket includes entrance to this area, so you may as well use it. We hitchhiked from town to the Upper Gorge and back with minimal fuss. There are also taxis that will happily take you there.

Upper Gorge Jinsha River Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
The roar of the Jinsha at the Upper Gorge.
Boardwalks Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
These boardwalks are included in your entrance price. Don’t miss them!

Leaving Your Luggage And Finding The Trail Head

If you have a large backpack that you don’t want to take on the trek with you, Jane’s Guest House will happily store it for the one-off cost of 5RMB, no matter how long for.

The guest house is about 100m past the ticket booth in the town of Qiaotao, and is a great place to stay either before or after the trek.

For the start of the Upper Trail, continue walking down the hill past Jane’s Guest House past a large school. A bit further on, you will see a road leading uphill to your left and a sign saying, “Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking High Way Thus Into”.

Continue up that road (don’t turn off it) for about 45 minutes and you will see a trail heading up a steep hill with another sign. There is the start of the Upper Trail.

Trail Head Sign Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Follow this sign!

How Many Days To Complete The Trek?

Some people do it in 1.5 days, others have done it in one long day. If you are short on time, then this amount of time might be your only option.

But if you really want to take your time and appreciate every moment of the trek, we recommend doing it over 3 days – especially if you want to check out the Upper Gorge and Walnut Grove at the end of your Tiger Leaping Gorge trek.

There is also a lower trail which follows the other side of the river. This is NOT the trek you are looking for, although the views are meant to be quite nice as well.

Signposts Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Signs that lead the way along the trail.

Our Itinerary

We chose to do the trek over three days and two nights, which in our opinion was a perfect amount of time.

Day 1

After arriving in Qiaotao at about 10.30am and dropping our big backpacks off at Jane’s Guest House, we hitchhiked down to the Upper Gorge and spent just over an hour walking around that beautiful stretch of the area.

By the time we hitchhiked back to the trail head and were ready to begin our hike, it was about 1pm. When you turn off of the road and onto the proper trail, the hiking is quite steep. We found this first section to be the toughest of the whole trek.

There were a couple of men waiting with horses who offered us rides to the top for a fee. We just smiled, said “no thank you” and kept on walking. They didn’t follow us. However in peak season we have heard they are quite persistent.

After photos and stopping for breaks, it was about 3.30pm when we showed up to Naxi Family Guest House. There was a storm rolling in, so we decided to call it a day here.

We are glad we did, because the very next section after Naxi Family Guest House was the infamous 28 Bends – steep, climbing switchbacks that have incredible views, but seem to go on forever.

The atmosphere and views at Naxi Family Guest House were amazing, and we are happy that we did stop there. The family is friendly and the food is decent and reasonably priced. No English was really spoken.

Naxi Family Guest House Prices

  • Twin room with shared bathroom: 60RMB (30 per person)
  • Standard double room with private bathroom: 100RMB
  • Deluxe double room with private bathroom (and mountain view): 120RMB

We felt the twin room with shared bathroom was more than adequate. The shared bathrooms are very basic, but had hot water.

Naxi Family Guest House Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Our breakfast view from Naxi Family Guest House. Epic!
Horse Man Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China

A man waiting with his horse to take you up the mountain, should you be too tired to tackle the hills on your own.

Day 2

After stocking up on a huge vegetable fried rice meal, we set off at about 8am and tackled the 28 Bends full of energy. In hindsight, this was a great idea as it meant we weren’t that exhausted when we got to the top. In our opinion, the beginning of day 1 was tougher than the 28 Bends anyway.

We stopped for a quick lunch at the Halfway Lodge. Sitting on the top deck overlooking the towering snow-capped mountains was breathtaking – and not just because of the altitude. A basic fried noodle dish with vegetables was 15RMB.

Don’t miss out on their ‘Toilet With A View’, even if you don’t have to use it. The Halfway Lodge claims their lavatories have the best vistas of any other latrine in the world. Having tested the claim ourselves, it would be hard to dispute.

The rest of the trek after Halfway Lodge is pretty spectacular, and not as tiring as the first part of the day. The path narrowed right down to some slightly sketchy and rocky surfaces with tumbling cliffs on one side, but nothing too dangerous.

We hit the main road at about 3pm, and booked our bus ticket to Shangri La from Tina’s Guest House for 3.30pm the next day for 55RMB. (NOTE – you can also purchase this from Halfway Inn and pick it up at Tina’s, if you plan on leaving that same afternoon.)

They also have tickets to Lijiang. We felt that Tina’s didn’t have much of a nice vibe, so we were happy to move on while the daylight hours were still ahead of us.

We followed the road for about 45 minutes, taking in the sensational vistas, until we got to the Tibet Guest House in Walnut Grove. This place was lovely, with an affable Tibetan family running the place. We had heard rumours that the food at the Tibet Guest House was the best in all of Tiger Leaping Gorge. Well, we weren’t disappointed.

Along with comfortable rooms, clean shared bathrooms, a cosy atmosphere and wifi, this place was a winner for us. Also in this area is Sean’s Guest House and Chateau De Woody. Sean’s seemed to have quite a lively ambiance and would be the place to have a few beers, if you felt like it.

Tibet Guest House Prices

  • Twin room with shared bathroom: 60RMB (30 per person)
  • Private room with private bathroom: 120-150RMB
  • Book your accommodation at Tibet Guest House on Hostelworld before arrive to avoid missing out.
Views Day 2 Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Admiring the views on day 2.
Narrow Trails Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Narrow trails on Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Day 3

As our bus to Shangri La wasn’t until mid-afternoon, we took our time in the morning and went for a walk to watch the sunrise over Tiger Leaping Gorge. We had a relaxed breakfast and set off to explore Walnut Grove at about 11am.

To get to the trail we walked further along the road to Woody’s and followed the paved road down.

At one point the trail veers off in different directions, but follow the yellow and red arrows pointing the opposite direction (to Sean’s and Woody’s) and you will be fine.

Walnut Grove is stunning and should not be missed. Eventually you get to a point where a lady asks for money to continue onto the ‘Ray Of Sunshine’ trail. This is supposedly for ‘maintenance’ of the trail.

It was only 10RMB, so we happily paid and kept walking along the incredible stretch of pathway.

Eventually we got to another point where another lady asked for 15RMB to use her ladder. We said we had already paid the last lady, showed her a receipt and said we didn’t want to use her ladder to get out – instead we wanted to keep walking along the river.

She became aggressive, yelled at us to turn around and then tried slamming a gate in our faces. In response to her aggressiveness, we just pushed through the gate and continued on.

From then on, just about every part requires some kind of ‘maintenance’ fee. Bridges, ladders, access to a viewing stone, everything. For one viewing rock we just didn’t use the bridge, instead walking along the natural stones.

They weren’t happy about this, but we weren’t happy about being hassled every step of the way for fees on top of the original entrance fee we had paid.

If we forked over money every time we were asked, it would have come to more than the initial 65RMB. We had also been told that the people asking for money were not legitimate, and instead are just taking advantage of the thousands of Chinese tourists who happily hand over any amount of money asked of them.

It is up to you whether you want to believe that claim and pay the fees or not.

You can continue walking along the trail and it will eventually lead back to the road. We decided to climb up a series of ‘sky ladders’ to get to Tina’s. 168 steep, sometimes vertical, but sturdy rungs will take you more or less out of Tiger Leaping Gorge.

(10RMB fee to be paid at the top…surprise surprise…)

We made it to Tina’s at about 1.30pm and relaxed with a beer in hand to celebrate finishing the trek.

August 2016 Update: The “Extra Fees” In Tiger Leaping Gorge

One of our wonderful readers Mike has got in touch with some updates about the situation on Tiger Leaping gorge as of August 2016.

Here are his words:

I recently hiked Tiger Leaping Gorge and there have been some major (good) changes to the Ray of Sunshine trail.

Essentially, the touts you complain about on the blog have consolidated their efforts into 2 stations and nobody bothers you for money on the trail:

* one is at the entrance for 10 RMB – this gets you down the trail and to the river

* the other is just before you enter the bridge and Sky Ladder territory and costs 15 RMB

There are big signs at both stations explaining – in Chinese and English – that the trail charges a fee because is maintained by the locals:

The Sky Ladder was built by the folks who run Sandy’s Guesthouse at the top (free admission to that section if you stay at Sandy’s), as was the bridge that goes out to the big rock that the mythical tiger used when leaping across the gorge.

The bridge also has a 10 RMB fee if you want to use it, so it’s a grand total of 35 RMB  ($5) for everything on the trail.

The “refreshments” available en route are sold by old dudes who I guess might have once spent their days bothering hikers for money, but now sell fruit, water and cannabis at only slightly-inflated prices.

It was a much better experience than I expected after reading about your trip down the Ray of Sunshine trail and a perfect ending to the amazing 3 days we spent hiking the gorge.

Also, the bus now drops hikers off directly at the trail head instead of having you walk up the side of the highway for 45 min.

Walnut Grove Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Walnut Grove

Other Tips For Tiger Leaping Gorge

  • Bring snacks with you if you tend to get hungry during treks. We took some dried fruits and nuts bought from a supermarket in Lijiang, and this was enough for us. Food can be bought at all the guest houses along the route.
  • Have at least 2 litres of water with you at all times. More is recommended. Again, you buy water at all the guest houses (5-10RMB per bottle). We carry a SteriPen, which allows us to sterilise tap and creek water, just to be safe.
  • Make sure you have wet weather gear, as it can change very quickly in Tiger Leaping Gorge.
  • If trekking in winter (October to March), the temperature can, and will, plummet. Wear layers and gloves.
  • It is almost impossible to get lost along the way. Red and yellow arrows pointing to various guest houses are painted on stones periodically along the trail, as well as blue sign posts.
  • We met a guy on the trail who hitchhiked from Tina’s with no problem. This is another option if you don’t want to pay for the bus.
  • If you do take the bus from Tina’s, they will stop at Jane’s Guest House so you can grab your other backpack.
Steripen Waterfall Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Jazza filling up his water bottle from a waterfall, which he will then sterilise using a SteriPen.
Painted Signs Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Painted signs that will guide you throughout your Tiger Leaping Gorge trek.
Views Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide Yunnan China
Views over Tiger Leaping Gorge.

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81 thoughts on “Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Guide and Information”

  1. Hi Guys,

    Me again. Since I am afraid of heights I wonder if this hike really makes sense or if I would be in constant fear of what narrow path I will face when I turn around the next corner. I don’t mind hiking up high in general when there are not 80 or 90% steep angles on the left or right of the path or if the path is big enough. But I can’t walk narrow paths where the cliff next to it goes almost 90% degree down.

    Which parts should I avoid and is it even possible to walk or drive around them?

    I would really love to spend a night in one of these Guest houses up there.

    Looking forward to any advise.
    Thanks again.


    • Hi Simon, you hike up the mountain along the gorge. There is no road to skip sections. You can hike up to one of the first guest houses or stay at Tina’s Guesthouse and hike from there for the day. You will have to contact them about transport there or if you have your own car you there is a road there. I can not remember where the worse parts are as we weren’t looking out for them. All the best and hope you get one night to see the gorge.

  2. Hi Guys,

    Fantastic guide and comments! I plan to do the hike end of May. We are three person in total. Here are a few questions:

    1. Do we automatically pass all these nice guest houses by just hiking the trail?

    2. Do we need to book any places in advance or can we just go with the flow? I want to avoid having no place to sleep after a long day of hiking

    3. How long does the bus take from the end of the trail to Shangri-la?

    Looking forward to yours or anyones response and thanks in advance!


    • Hi Simon, You will have a great time on this hike.
      1. You do walk by these guesthouse, if not there is a sign pointing the direct and it will be not far off the path. The guesthouses sign their places well so hikers know.

      2. You won’t have no place to sleep if it comes down to it. They guesthouse may even put you in one of their rooms if the place is full. It is up to you. We didn’t book anything at the time and were fine. We did break up the hike into 3 days instead of 2 so there were less people at the guesthouses we choose as they’d already passed them. (Our recommendation – Bring a silk liner)

      3. Not 100% sure. Maybe 3 -4 hours. You can book the bus at the end hostel, Tina’s. If you want to book the bus, contact them in advance.

      Have a great time.

      • We hiked the trail in 2005; 3d2n. One place was “full” when we arrived on spec in November, but they found a “room” above the cattle! The toilet was a “long drop”, and the conditions Spartan, but the food was ridiculously cheap & absolutely fantastic! We over-ordered at dinner (no menu, just pointing at vegetables & things in a kitchen, but a table of hungry students next to ours eagerly consumed what we left – and each dish was only about 50 pence!

  3. Brilliant. Thank you very much for the great sharing of information. I will be in Lijing on April 2019 and I will do the 3 days trekking

    • Awesome. Have a great time. I am sure you will love it. 🙂

  4. Hi, thanks for the detailed hiking story. I want to ask as you keep your bag at jane’s guest house, did you go back to tina’s guest house for the ride back to lijiang? If so, how did you guys do that?

    • We did go to Tina’s house and waited for the shuttle to Lijiang. The driver know people leave their bags there at Jane’s Guesthouse so he stopped and we all picked up our bags. They literally drive past it. There is only one road. Hope that helps.

  5. Hello, thanks for such an informative article on the hike! I’m.planning to hike go for a 2d1n hike in December. Do you think the hike will be icy and dangerous? Any travellers has hiked in December and any tips? 🙂 thanks!!

    • Hi, We are not too sure. Maybe contact one of the guesthouse in our post and they may be able to help. They should know the conditions a lot better than us. Try Tina’s Guesthouse as this is where a lot of the hikers will finish and will know more details than other guesthouses. All the best and have a great hike

  6. Thank you for all the detailed articles about China ! They are just amazing and make me want to go earlier than expected ! I’m impressed you are going to off-beaten road so often, it’s so inspiring!! You guys are amazing !!!

    • Glad we could help Samantha. Have a great time. 🙂

  7. Thanks guys for the details. Hope you are having an awesome time in our 家国 Australia!

    I am looking at flying from Xian on 31 December and arrive at Lijiang Airport at 9.20AM. Do you know if there are buses which leave later than 8/8.30/9AM to Quiaotao?

    I really want to skip Lijiang all together. I have seen enough touristy towns and I would really love to spend the New Year in the gorge given bad weather is coming.

    Otherwise the alternative is I arrive in Lijiang at Midnight on 30 December and find a cheap hostel near the bus station.



    • Hi Nate, I hope all the buses from the airport worked out well. Hope you had a great hike. 🙂

  8. Thank you very much for this detailed guide !
    I’ll do the trek next week, this will be more than usefull.
    Hope it will not be too athletic for me.
    Thanks for your work !

    • We hope you had a great hike. Happy travels

  9. good day,

    im planning to travel from malaysia Kuala lumpur. how do i reach this destination. and how many days would you recommend if we planning to visit great wall of china together.

    appreciate if you can reply me

    • Definitely recommend 3 days and 2 nights. That is a great amount of time

  10. Question: I wanted to hike this with my kids (ages 9 and 12). I have been web surfing, but cannot tell if the path is actually dangerous or not. Is it narrow and dangerous? Honestly I think the kids are less likely to trip and fall than I am but I dont want to take them somewhere where if they do trip they fall off a cliff. Advice? Thank you.

    • Hi Meegan, That’s awesome. If you children have hiking experience it will be a great challenge. The trek is narrow in parts and can we dangerous as there is no railings. Do watch your footing. I would give yourself more days to take your time. We did it in 3 days, 2 nights so I would say for you and your kids, 4 days , 3 nights. You are not rushing then and you don’t have to leave super early in the mornings. The guesthouses have dorm like rooms so you can stay all together. Have a great trip. All the best

    • Hi Meegan, we are in Walnut Garden right now, just finished our 3 day hike with our 10 and 12 yr old. We hiked from Qiaotou and stayed at Naxi Guesthouse first night, half way Guesthouse second night and we are at Sean’s now for 2nights, so we could walk down to the river on our free full day. We plan to bus back out. Yes the track is hairy at points, I had my heart in my mouth a few times 🙂 Our kids are fit and used to extended hikes in Australia, they usually carry about 6kgs each, but on this trip we decided that we would carry everything we needed and let the kids walk free, we didn’t want to chance packs throwing their balance off. It is winter now, so we did have to carry lots of warm weather gear for the 4 of us, so our packs were heavier than we would have liked, but we made it 🙂 It is an awesome hike, hubby and I did it 20 years ago and we wanted our kids to experience too. We too had our natural parental fears of whether we were being irresponsible taking them…but we are very glad we did it now. It is a trek we will relive in stories for years to come, which we could never tell if we had let fear get the better of us 🙂 When we get back to Australia in feb, we will put up a diary of our trip, and the kids are doing a blog page called ‘tiger leaping Gorge : a kids perspective’ as we too found it hard to get info about doing the hike with kids. It will be on missdonnaMandarin.edublogs.org but prob not till mid feb. ps. We also used this awesome blog of Alesha and Jarryd to help us 🙂

      • That’s brilliant information, we are planning on taking our 2 girls next year – 8 and 12. Both very fit and we had the same thoughts, did it 19 years ago ourselves but cannot find much advice on kids doing it. we will follow yours. How do I find your blog? Thank you, I am very excited now!

  11. Hi
    Great blog.
    Is it possiable to do the trek from north to south (tina’s to jane’s) or is there onlt one way…?

  12. Thank you so much for such a detailed guide. I am solo female traveller and wouldn’t be going on this trek tomorrow if it weren’t for your guide as I really like to be prepared.

    I went to the bus station to get my ticket today and they now have a bus at 8, 8.30 and 9. The 8.30 was fully booked so thanks for the tip on getting the ticket in advance.

    I was a bit confused as to how to get to bus station as some guides said the north gate, another the express bus station, another said transport service centre, my map app showed a lot of different bus stations in Lijiang. To anyone else confused about this the coordinates of the bus station are 26°51′46.08″N 100°13′58.76″E

    • Also the bus to Qiaotao was 35 yuan.

      • Thanks for the info! I will be doing this solo in Oct and lots of anxiety trying to read up on all the advice and blogs! Were you travelling with a backpack or luggage? Did you leave luggage at Jane’s? I know it’s a weird qn but I will be with a luggage so seems weird that I will be pulling luggage in that kind of environment!

  13. Hey!
    This was super informative. Thank you 🙂 One quick question. Going to be in China in December with another friend. Do you think this is a workable plan?

    Day 1- 8.30 AM bus on from Lijiang to Quiaotao . Trek till Tibet Cafe and stay the night there.
    Day 2- Finish the trek and head to Lijiang to take the overnight train to Kunming

    Other questions-
    1. We are going to be doing this in December so let me know if you have any tips to tackle the cold weather.
    2. Can we leave our bags at Jade and get it back on the way? That is, when we check out from Tibet, finish the rest of the trek. I am assuming we go all the way down from where we started in a bus?

    • Definitely rug up. It will be a bit chilly then. Some walking sticks would help too. We left our luggage at Jade Guesthouse, so I am hoping it is still no worries. We picked it up on the way to Lijiang. Have a great time

  14. Great write up guys.
    I’m heading there in a month and am so grateful of all these helpful information!

    Keep going!

    • Glad we could help. Hope you had a great trip. This is a great part of China. Thanks so much

  15. Hi! I am planning my trip however starting from Kunming. I know many have posted about the bag collection from Jane’s. Is that the only option to leave bags/luggage? I intend to go to Shangri-La after TLG. Another silly question: Does this mean when I leave my bags at Jane’s, I naturally need to also have a night’s gear of clothes etc when I stay at the other guesthouse on day 2?

    • Hi Kelvin, We came from Kunming and continued on to Shangri La after. As of another baggage storage, not to sure. You can left your big bag at the storage place and take a little bag for the hike. It is a stunning hike and you will have a blast. 🙂

  16. Hello! Just a quick question 😉 If we leave our bags at Jane’s and at the end of the track we are heading to Shangri La and NOT Lijiang, will the bus still stop at Jane’s so we can pick our bags up? Thank you so much for your help

    • I am sure it will. There will be a lot of people leaving their bags there also. Just double check and ask at the reception where you get your bus ticket. 🙂 Have a great time

  17. We are just preparing our trip to China and have been researching about the Tiger Leaping Gorge- your Blog is amazing and super useful with all the little tips that make all the difference. We particularly love how you have suggestions on where to leave backpacks, great food, and the fees taken that eventually add up. Great work!

    • Thank you so much. We are so happy we could help. We try to make it as easy as possible for people so they don’t get stressed/worried and can just enjoy where they are. Have a great track. This was definitely a highlight for us in China. Happy travels.

  18. Thanks. I feel much happier now. I work in China and absolutely love it…people…landscape…beauty.

    • Thank you for sharing. China definitely has some beautiful landscape. 🙂

  19. Hi guys. I came across your blog looking for information about this trek. Great post. Thank you for describing in details. However, I just have one puzzled silly question, if you leave your luggage at Jane’s guest house in the beginning of the trek, how do you pick it up again after you finish? I kept reading your blog and other sites, but nothing mention about picking it back up. Pardon me if my common sense is not working at the moment. My plan is to start this trip from Shangri-La, then head to TLG > Lijiang > Dali > Kunming. I really appreciate your help.

    • That is no worries Edi. The transport we took from Tina’s know people leave their bags at Jane’s guest house and if you are going to Lijiang you go straight past it. They will stop for a minute so you can go and grab it. Let them know also when you book it at Tina’s place. Have fun and happy hiking.

  20. Just stumbled onto your site and read about your experience at Tiger Leaping Gorge. Sounds fantastic and now added to my list of places to to experience. Any complaints about feeling unwell due to altitude or was it a non-factor?

    • Hi Jason, We had no problem with the altitude at all and we didn’t hear of anyone else either. We think you’ll be fine. Have fun. It really is a beautiful hike and take your time, don’t rush. 🙂

  21. Thanks for the informative run-through of the hike! I can’t wait to do it this coming spring. How did you guys go back to Qiaotou from the end of the trail? I’ve read on other pages about getting a (paid) ride from Tina’s to Qiaotou but I’m not planning to stay at Tina’s so I’m looking for alternative to get back to Qiaotou (planning to store my luggage there) before heading up to Shangrila.

    • We booked the bus back to Qiaotou even though we weren’t staying at Tina’s. Another option would be to hitchhike 🙂

  22. Brilliant. Is it easy to get back to Lijiang from the end of the hike?

    • Absolutely Chris, shouldn’t be a problem. Just jump on a bus from town 🙂

  23. How did you book the Naxi Family Guesthouse? I can’t seem to book online or find contact details.

    • We just showed up at Naxi Family Guesthouse and grabbed a room (I don’t think you can book them online). It shouldn’t be a problem to be hosted there. Happy hiking 🙂

  24. Hey, I think I worked with you at Pali Mountain… I am ole 🙂 We are headed to do the tiger leaping gorge on the 8th of this month. Thanks for the tips!

    • What a small world. Sorry Heather I just saw this. So crazy. We hope you had a great hike. 🙂

  25. wow! really i like your article. i studied this article after the long time. i enjoyed this article and image. thanks for sharing with us.

    • Thank you so much. We are so happy it come in handy for you. 🙂

  26. This is very helpful – makes me eager to make this dream a reality! Were there many/any solo travelers doing the hike?

    • Thanks Audrey! Yes we met a few solo travellers on the trail. 🙂

  27. hello ! planning on going from lijiang to the start the TLG hike at Qiaotou and then finishing the hike and going to shangri la. is it possible to get our big luggage transported from qiaotou to the finish or to pick it up along the way on the bus to shangri la, or are we just going to have to carry it with us on the hike ?,
    any information on what we can do with our heavy luggage would be awesome ! thanks !

    • You can leave your luggage at a guesthouse in Qiaotou and have the bus stop off on your way to Shangri La so you can grab it 🙂

  28. Thanks for sharing your experience to to Tiger Leaping Gorge!
    I hope to visit Tiger Leaping Gorge from Lijiang in mid-June..but only have 1 day to spare to visit.
    Not super fit and not a lot of time – is there a tour or private drivers for hire if we only stayed a few hours to hike? If we were to take a bus out to Tiger Leaping Gorge, is it quite easy to bus back on the same day?

    • Hi Cari, We hope you got to hike a bit around the TLG. We did meet some people along the way that were photographers for an event that was on at the time. They had a driver and were getting from place to place. I know they wouldn’t have seen the high points but they would have seen a bit. My advice would be hiring a personal driver and going out to the boardwalk area. You can see the gorge and from there do a little bit of hiking around there. Unfortunately i would say one day is not enough time. All the best and we hope you had a good time.

  29. We only did the 2 day trek and loved it!! Although we totally missed those boardwalks which is unfortunate. Not sure if they just weren’t there then ( 2014 ) or we missed them. Either way, they look cool! I think we stayed at the same guesthouse as you too, at least it looks similar lol. Great times!

    • Hi Hali, I think you did the best part of the area anyway. We got lucky with a lift there and back to the boardwalks thats why we went. It was nice but crowded. The hike was a lot more peaceful and beautiful. We loved the guesthouses we stayed at. Nice people. We are glad you had a great time.

  30. I am a 68 year old but I hike regularly. I wouldn’t say that I am very fit but I am much fitter than the average person in their 60s. I find uphill climbs the most challenging. All the information that I have picked up on this hike indicates that it is the first part that is the hardest. What is the increase in elevation over this section and over what distance? Do you think that I would have any difficulty in completing the hike, especially taking into account the overall elevation.

    • Hi Alistair, I am just guessing maybe 30%. There was two section, one the went up for about 40 minutes which we thought was the switch back area, but it wasn’t. The next section was the bit people take about and it had 29 switch backs. Maybe this took us an hour and a bit. Maybe longer. Take your time and rest when you need. Once this bit is done it is all flat or down from there. There are guesthouse all along the way. We turned it into a 3 day trek but it could be done in longer time or shorter. Good luck.

  31. I’ve added this to my long list of hikes! I love the name of the hike- great spot to Roar!:) Thank you for the detailed guide!

    • Glad we could help/ We are glad you had a great time. It really is a beautiful hike.

  32. Thanks for the great information. Most of the other info out there is rather confusing so this has been a huge help. We are headed to TLG in a few weeks and I am a little concerned about the temperature drop at night. Do you know if any of the places you stayed at have hot water and heating or at least a fire going in the evenings? Any advice would be much appreciated and many thanks. I can’t wait to read the rest of your China blogs.

    • Hi Melany, So happy we could help. We hope you had a blast hiking TLG. Most of the accommodation along the hike has hot water and provide warm blankets. If you are unsure just ask. All the people we came across were very lovely. Sorry about the late reply. Hope it all went well.

  33. Great info and thanks! We family is planning an longer excursion from the Stone Forest to Shangri-la in early April and are thinking of adding this to the longer trip. I’m wondering if you think this is an appropriate trail for a 7 and 11 year old? BTW, we are form Colorado and hike frequently but not climbers. The adults have hiked all our lives and the kids for have all done a 14er every summer for the past 2 years. Your thoughts are most appreciated!

    • Hey Wendy, I think your kids will be more than fine hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge. It is far from being a technical trek, and if the kids have at least a bit of experience they will do great on this one. Definitely don’t miss it! Happy travels 🙂

  34. Informative! Helps me a lot. I can’t wait to go to tiger lepaing gorge. I booked a roo at Tibet GH too :). But, unfortunately I will not do the hiking since my friend’s condition is not that good. Is it possible for me to a solo and light hiking from Tibet GH to the gorge? How long does it takes and is the trail dangerous?

    • If you have a day you will definitely be able to get from the Tibet GH to the Gorge. It’s not too strenuous, but take your time if your friend has a condition which may hinder her ability to trek. Happy travels 🙂

  35. super awesome….very informative. will be in Lijiang on 18 October then continue to TLG and Shangrila. I assume walk-in and book the homestay once we arrive should be okay. As I am not sure how long I would be in Lijiang. and yes, entrance fee to National Parks are very expensive.
    cant wait to do the TLG!

    • No need to book ahead Dewi. Just wander on in 🙂

  36. What spectacular views! Such a great guide for anyone that wants to visit Tiger Leaping Gorge – I’m now definitely putting myself in that category! Sounds like hard work, but totally worth it!

    • It’s definitely worth the effort to get there, Karianne. We’ll keep an eye out for your own photos 😉

  37. Guys this is a great guide! We never ended up doing the Tiger Leaping Gorge, but I did look up directions and this is by far the best guide I’ve seen 🙂

    • Thanks so much Jenia! Glad the guide is useful 🙂

  38. Wow, I’ve heard so much about Tiger Leaping Gorge- I would absolutely love to hike there one day. Your photos are incredible. Jinsha at the Upper Gorge looks like an awesome sight!

    • Thank you so much Katie. We hope you get there one day to hike the gorge. It was very beautiful.

  39. Great post of Tiger Leaping Gorge! I just looked through your other articles from China and they’re all very informative. I traveled through China for 3 months back in 2006 and loved the country. Would love to return someday.

    • Thanks very much Miriam! Any places you would say are a must-see in China?

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