China (People's Republic of China)

Languages: Chinese

Currencies: CNY · Chinese yuan (¥)

Capitol: Beijing

Continents: Asia

Borders: Russia, Tajikistan, Laos, North Korea, Bhutan, India, Macau, Nepal, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Mongolia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan

More useful information

Area: 9,706,961km2

Population: 1,402,112,000

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +86

Timezones: UTC+08:00

Last updated on June 8, 2024

For any adventurous hiker Tiger Leaping Gorge will be an exceptional experience! A hiking path leads through an unspoilt terrain of the world’s deepest canyons with magnificent dramatic mountain views, lovely guesthouses on the way and some challenging hiking sections.

This guide will lead you with number of trail options for hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge– depending on the time you have and difficulty level you want to approach. There are few guesthouses on the way, which are a beautiful stopover for trekkers who are aiming for a 2-day mountain adventure.

Complete guide on hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge – a gateway to the Tibetan plateau -

Is it safe hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge?

Tiger Leaping Gorge can be easily accomplished without a tour guide, even in winter months. The trail is well maintained and safe – but not perfectly safe as some sources say – this is still a mountain trail in one of the world’s deepest canyons, with few sections where the path narrows to 0.5 metres near the edge.

Tiger Leaping Gorge drops 3790 metres from the highest peak Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. I did the trail in February, there was no snow, moderately cold and a bit windy, but I can honestly say it was really safe along the whole hike. Just be careful on the exposed windy sections.

How to get to Tiger Leaping Gorge?

There are many options to get to Tiger Leaping Gorge (TLG) from Lijiang including, public bus, taxi or private transport (that’s a good option if you want to be more flexible with time – Didi is very popular).

PUBLIC BUSES: If you are aiming for a public transport, there are few buses from Lijiang Bus Station to Hutiaoxia Town. The bus will stop on the way at the TLG Ticket Office. Make sure you buy bus tickets at least a day before – otherwise no chance getting a seat! I went to the bus station a day before in the morning hours and tickets for the first two buses for 7.30am and 8am were already SOLD OUT. Shocking! I got the last ticket for the 9am bus 😉 which put me under huge time pressure in terms of executing my 1-day hiking plan, including getting the last return bus at 3.30pm.

Bus drive from Lijiang Bus Station to Hutiaoxia Town takes 1.5-2h and first drops you at the TLG Ticket counter (above) and then drops you at the final bus stop/parking place – see below. From this parking place you can get a taxi/private transport to any major point of the hiking trail.

Entry ticket to Tiger Leaping Gorge cost ¥45.

Once the bus arrives at Hutiaoxia Town – it is common for people to take a short taxi ride to the start of the hiking trail – TLG Ticket Office in Qiaotou. The fare should not be more than 50-80Y. TLG starting point is located 12 kilometres from Hutaoxia Town. Some people decide to walk, but apparently it’s extremely boring and unpleasant distance. Take a taxi or get Didi and specify you want to get to the beginning of the hiking trail. 

Once the driver stops near this car parking you can ask him for taxi or driver to take you to the starting point, if you are not hiking from here (it’s a steep road going up, so be prepared). Bus drivers are usually very helpful and help people arrange transportation. Also ask him to put you on a list for the last returning bus from Tina’s Guesthouse at 3.30pm – I left him ¥50 and my name on a piece of paper and took a photo. He told me to be in Tina’s Guesthouse at 3pm. 

Tiger Leaping Gorge hiking route.

Complete guide on hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge – a gateway to the Tibetan plateau -

It is a maintained hike all the way with few challenging sections. There are few crossroads but if you are unsure just ask local people or other hikers for directions (there are many hikers – all locals).

Additionally, there are red arrows on the way pointing the hiking route and directions toward number of guesthouses located on the way. Those 3 have been most famous till now but for the last few years other guesthouses have been built to accommodate all visitors.

Most importantly – you can get by car to every guesthouse on the hiking way! I needed that information, as I couldn’t do 2-day trekking due to limited time. So basically if you are short with time, you can get a lift to any of the guesthouses on the hiking trail and continue from there till Tina’s Guesthouse (the final point of the High Trail Hike). 

2 days hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge.

The High Trail Hike is the most popular route, leading from Qiaotou to Tina’s Guesthouse – and requires 1.5 days to accomplish. You will start in Qiaotou (where the ticket office for the trail is located). You will trek toward Naxi Family Guesthouse, climb 28 Bends (which is considered as most strenuous part of the whole trail), reach Tea Horse Guesthouse (where you can stay overnight) or continue for the next 2h to most lovely place I’ve seen on the way – Halfway Guesthouse. Nothing can compare to this place when it comes to guesthouse arrangement, atmosphere and panoramic mountain views from the terrace. The trek ends in Tina’s Guesthouse, which is also a parking for all buses going back to Lijiang. Tina’s Guesthouse is a huge place and seems less cosy than mountain guesthouses along the way. But it is very popular and the hospitality is great (I had my after hike dinner there).

DAY 1: Start at the TLG Ticket Office in Qiaotou. 

From Qiaotou to Naxi Family Guesthouse: 5km/2h. This part is said to be the least interesting and lots of people say it’s hard to call it pleasurable due to lots of construction works on the way.

Go up 28 Bends: From Naxi Family Guesthouse to Tea Horse Guesthouse: 5km/3h.

You can either do a stopover in Tea Horse Guesthouse (below) or Halfway Guesthouse.

DAY 2: From Tea Horse Guesthouse to Halfway Guesthouse: 5km/1.5-2h

You’ll be amazed by the views of the mountain range and Haba peak.

Halfway Guesthouse is just stunning. It’s really a pleasure to spend a night in such place. If you are only passing by, step in for an unforgettable terrace view and definitely – toilets are worth paying a visit! I won’t spoil the surprise. 

Halfway Guesthouse to Tina’s Guesthouse: 5km/1.5-2h

The trail from Tea Horse Guesthouse to Halfway Guesthouse starts with an asphalt road with lots of direction signs toward Halfway. It quickly turns into a stunning mountain path uncovering the dept of the gorge and dramatic mountain landscape. On the way you’ll find tiny stands with snacks, drinks and fruits run by locals.

The last stage of the trail ahead of Halfway Guesthouse, it is again a convenient asphalt road. Halfway Guesthouse is one of the kind. There is a lovely coffee place at the main terrace. 

The last section leads from Halfway Guesthouse to Tina’s Guesthouse. This is probably one of the most challenging sections of hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge – as the path really narrows few times, there are some exposed sections of the trail and might get really windy. 

If you are unsure if you want to do this alone, you can book 2Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour with Tripadvisor.

Booking a guesthouse in Tiger Leaping Gorge.

If you are planning to stay overnight in one of the guesthouses – you need to book your room in advance! These three guesthouses are the most popular due to fabulous location, views and facilities but in low season not all might be opened. All stays offer different accommodation options – from comfy dorms or lovely double rooms for around $15-$20 per night. Check availability and book:

1-day hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Since I had only one day I wanted to cover the most beautiful part of the whole trail, which leads from Tea Horse to Tina’s Guesthouse. It’s a 10 kilometres trail, which can be easily accomplished within 4 hours (including lots of photos 😉). I took a morning bus from Lijiang Bus Station, which drives through the Tiger Leaping Gorge ticket office – where everyone gets off and needs to buy entry ticket for 45 RMB. The driver will check your ticket before you get in the bus.

Then the bus drives toward the start of the trail – Qiaotou. From here you have an option to take a car to Naxi Guesthouse or even Tea Horse Guesthouse and start your hike from there – just like I did.

Return buses from Tiger Leaping Gorge to Lijiang

  • You need to tell the driver you are taking the last bus back to Lijiang. I wrote down my name and paid 50 RMB in advance (the price for the return bus) – he told me to be at Tina’s Guesthouse at 3pm and indeed he was waiting to give me a high five 😉 The bus left at 3pm from Tina’s Guesthouse to have another stop at the lower level – marked here on google maps – Zhanglaoshi Inn.
  • It is said the last bus leaves at 3.30pm from Tina’s Guesthouse – but mine left at 3pm!
  • When I finished my trail at Tina’s Guesthouse, I saw many buses to Lijiang, one leaving at 2.30pm (although the internet says there are only two return buses at 1.30pm and 3.30pm). There were tickets available for the 2.30pm bus.
  • At the bus parking in front of Tina’s Guesthouse, there is a bus coordinator who was very helpful and was arranging buses for people who were coming down from hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge.
  • If you are staying overnight at Tea Horse or Halfway Guesthouse – they can organize a bus ticket for you from Tina’s to Lijiang if you ask them or gove them a call from the hike. Phone numbers are written on direction signs.
Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!