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1 Day Hikes, Cangshan Mountain, Dali, Yunnan Province
Cangshan Mountain River Gorge Hike (1 Day):
An 8 km hike from a small, quiet farming village at the foot of Cangshan Mountain through terraced fields, tea plantations and deep into a scenic river gorge with towering cliffs. This is the perfect hike for people who love to explore gorges!
From our meeting point in front of the West Gate of Dali Old Town (大理古城西门) our van takes us 9 km north to a small farming village at the foot of Cangshan Mountain called Heyang Cun (literally “Sun Crane Village”). The hike begins at the top of Heyang Village at an elevation of approximately 2050 metres. From our drop off point, it’s a short walk past scenic terraced fields, up into the foothills of Cangshan Mountain. Once in the hills, we meander through a tea plantation overlooking Heyang Village and are afforded panoramic views of Erhai Lake.
After walking steadily uphill for about an hour, we come to the entrance of the gorge. We continue along a small trail that traverses the side of the gorge for another 30 minutes before finally coming to the river.
On arriving at the river, we stop for a snack break and refill our water bottles with crystal clear, pure spring water that comes rushing down this narrow gorge from high up the mountain. From this point we start working our way further up the gorge by rock-hopping alongside the river and scrambling up a few large boulders.
After hiking a short distance up the gorge alongside the river, we come to the first of many small but majestic waterfalls with crystal clear pools that are perfect for cooling off in during summer.
After hiking up the river past a series of waterfalls for about an hour, we come to the most spectacular part of the entire gorge, a narrow channel with high cliffs nicknamed the “Cathedral”. The walls of the cliffs are smooth, undulating and completely vertical. Much like a typical “slot canyon”, they were worn smooth over eons by rushing water, which gives them a very interesting appearance. This is the narrowest part of the entire gorge (only a few metres wide at its narrowest point), and the cliffs are at least 20 metres high, so the view is quite stunning.
Although only about 30 metres deep, the shape of the cliffs makes this part of the gorge very difficult and potentially dangerous to pass through, so we stop here for lunch and enjoy the unique scenery. Though not very far from the nearest village, this place feels extremely remote and there is no sign of human activity anywhere in sight. We are totally surrounded by wilderness, which offers a very nice feeling of peace and tranquility. After lunch we turn around and retrace our route back down the gorge, which actually looks quite different in reverse.
Note: While this hike does not require a great deal of stamina, it does involve some scrambling up and down boulders, so decent physical strength and flexibility is required. Proper hiking footwear and clothing is also recommended.
Are you planning far ahead but your favorite trip is not on our schedule at the time you’re coming to China? Are you an indepentdant traveler that wants to keep the costs as low as possible? Just let us know your favorite trip and starting date at least 6 weeks in advance and we will add your trip to our hiking agenda. As soon as we have 6 people joining the trip we are good to go!
Are you planning far ahead but your favorite trip is not on our schedule at the time you’re coming to China?
Are you an independent traveler that wants to keep the costs as low as possible?
Just let us know your favorite trip and starting date at least 6 weeks in advance and we will add your trip to our hiking agenda.
As soon as we have 6 people joining the trip we are good to go!
Private tours are great ways to travel if you have a group of friends, family or colleagues ready to explore nature together.
Also for school trips or company team building activities, a private tour is the way to go.
We have experience guiding trips with up to 60 people from international schools and companies.
Price for private tours will vary depending on the number of people, the chosen transportation and accommodation.
Let us know your desires and we will customize a trip for you.