For several years there was talk of Yunnan's famous Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hǔtiào Xiá, 虎跳峡) facing the same fate as the still magnificent (but less so than before) Three Gorges after the water levels rose following the completion of the Three Gorges Dam. Plans were afoot to dam the Jinsha River (Jīnshā Jiāng, 金沙江; as the Yangtze River is known through this stretch), whose rushing waters have carved out this 17 km (11 mi) long wonder over millenia until the project was terminated in 2007.
Despite its proximity to tourist-favorite Lijiang, the high trail winding up onto the steep sides of the Haba Xue Shan (Hābāxuě Shān, 哈巴雪山) range is much less welcoming to tourist groups than Lijiang Old Town's stone streets. There were once two trails through the middle part of the gorge, but the low trail has since been paved and is the road that takes tourists less inclined to hike into the gorge to take pictures of the three Tiger Leaping Stones (Hǔtiào Shí, 虎跳石) or to spend the night at a guesthouse. To hike the high trail takes least two days at a moderate to steady pace to complete. Many hikers linger in the gorge, taking advantage of the charming accommodations available in the village of Walnut Garden (Hétao Yuán, 核桃园) situated between Daju (Dàjù, 大具) southeast of the river and Qiaotou (Qiáotóu, 桥头) to the northwest. There are a handful of other small towns as well which all make for good resting points, with a number of small guesthouses scattered between them. See Stay for more details.
Buses and vans heading to the hiking trails on through the gorge will be stopped to pay the RMB 50 per person fee. Students under the age of 24 can get half price tickets.