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Yunnan Trekking: Tiger Leaping Gorge & Haba Mountain Hiking 5 days
A 5-day journey through the world’s deepest river canyon, pass the ancient white water terraces, walk over the Haba Snow Mountain and Black Sea Lake filled with flowers. It’s a fantastic way to meet the ethnic minorities that have been living in this stunning natural environment while walking through the beautiful landscapes.
Day 1: Transfer from Lijiang/Shangri La and hike the upper trail of the Tiger Leaping Gorge
Day 2: Hike the down trail of the Tiger Leaping Gorge
Day 3. The natural mineral terraces of Baishuitai (White Water River) Terraces and Naxi villages
Day 4: Hike up to the Haba Snow Mountain and camp at the Black Sea Lake
Day 5: Hike down the Haba Snow Mountain and transfer to Lijiang/Dali
Day 1: The upper Tiger Leaping Gorge (4 to 5 hours hiking)
You will be picked up by a private car from your hotel in beautiful Lijiang at 8am. t’s a 3-hour drive from Lijiang to the Tiger Leaping Gorge where we start with a lunch with a local Naxi Family. The Naxi are the biggest ethnic minority living in the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Our Naxi friends have been living here for many generations and made their home into a guest house with beautiful view (see pic below). They serve nice variety of Chinese and Western food.
After lunch, we start trekking up to the famous 28 bends for 2 hours till we reach the highest point of today’s hike, an excellent viewpoint over the Jinsha river flowing through the Tiger Leaping Gorge towards the Yangtze River. We follow the upper trail for 2 hours passing 2 waterfalls and a birds-eye view point of the famous Tiger Leaping Rock. Legend says that to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river over this rock, hence the name. By 5pm we reach at our guest house for the night. There are plenty of dishes to choose from and beers are available to put us all in a good mood.
Day 2: The Tiger Leaping Gorge Down Trail (6 -7 hours hiking)
We start off the day with breakfast and a cup of coffee. Yes, they have coffee machine;-) and hike down for 2 to 3 hours. You can take a natural shower under one of the waterfalls after 1 hour of the hike. By 11.30, we will reach at the middle part of the Tiger Leaping Gorge and have a big lunch. We will have a tougher hike later but it will be absolute stunning experience.
We follow a small trail through the yard, climb down the steep cliff side staircases and walk through a narrow pathway that is cut into the mountain. The river shows its immense strength as it rushes down between Haba Snow Mountain and the Jade Dragon Mountain. The 3-hour hike that follows is beautiful and mostly flat. The last part of the trail we will go uphill through the Walnut Grove to our Tibetan friends who run a small but very nice guesthouse on the Tiger Leaping Gorge. The rooms are very comfortable and have excellent showers. Don’t miss out their fantastic Tibetan Yak butter tea!
Day 3: The Natural Mineral Terraces of Baishuitai (White Water River) Terraces and Naxi Villages
Our van takes us for a 2-hour drive through the dense forest to Baishuitai. The crystal-clear terraces have been formed over a period of 250.000 years. According to the legend, the first saint Dingbashiluo in the Dongba culture was so impressed by the beauty of Baishuitai that he settled here to pray Buddhist sutra. Each year, on the eighth day of the second lunar month, the Naxi people will gather here to celebrate their traditional festival by singing and dancing all day and night.
Every day, the local people still come to burn incense and pray at this holy place. They burn incense provided by 2 elderly men who they chant mantras for their good fortune. The terraces cover an area of about 3 square kilometers. We are going to have a relaxing time and enjoy the naturefor about 2 hours before we head back down for lunch. We spend the afternoon hiking from village to village through the terraced fields and drive up to Haba village. Here we relax our muscles in preparation of tomorrows up to the Haba Snow Mountain.
Day 4: Climb up Haba Snow Mountain (6-7 hours hiking)
The tale told us that Haba Snow Mountain and the Jade Dragon Mountain are two brothers fighting over their girlfriend Jinsha river. Haba Snow Mountain’s peak is about 5396 meters above sea level. The Jade Dragon Mountain boasts with wild fauna, such as monkeys, boars and even snow leopards. The younger brother accused Haba Snow Mountain for letting Jinsha escaped.
On the 4th day, we make our way to Haba’s most beautiful spot, Heihai lake (black Sea). It’s a 6 to 7-hour hike in fantastic landscapes. We hike through a dense forest, cross mountain rivers and pass waterfalls. You will meet local people who are still roaming in the mountain trails and looking for Chinese Medicine herbs.
During this hike, we ascend about 1500 meters, so you need a good physical condition to hike all the way to the top. Luckily the mules will carry our camping gear and if you’re tired they can carry you for a while as well.
The campsite at the Black Sea is absolute stunning. You can see the snowcapped summit of Haba mountain all year around. During May and June, the mountain is filled with Orchids and Lilies. With its magical views and stunning flora, these 4200-meter high mountain lakes are probably the most fairytale like campsite in Yunnan.
Day 5: Hike Down Haba Mountain and Transfer to Lijiang/Shangrila
After a simple breakfast and a hot coffee or tea, we pack up our camp and hike down again through the magical forest. Hiking down is much easier at this altitude so after about 3 hours we will be sipping tea and enjoying the great food at a local Muslim restaurant.
We rate this 5-day Yunnan trek a level 4, as the hike includes 3 days of strong hiking. Especially the hike up to Huba mountain will take a good effort as we hike from about 3000 meters above sea level to 4200 meters above sea level. You need to have a good physical condition to fully enjoy this trip. But don’t worry too much. If you feel like you are not able to make it by yourself, there are mules available to bring you up.
Trip and booking information
Pick up time – Luggage transport and packing – What’s included – What’s not included –Booking and Payment info – Cancelation policy
Pick up time:
Hotel pick up in Lijiang between 7.30am and 8.30 am.
Luggage transport and packing:
Luggage will be transferred to the hotel at the end of the Tiger leaping Gorge where we spend the second night.
Hike with a daypack with:
Camera, toilet paper, flashlight, light jacket, toothbrush, sun lotion, hat, fresh shirt and socks, water bottle
Some cash for snacks and meals on the way
Transfer to Haba with luggage and store luggage at hotel.
Hike with a daypack with:
Camera, light jacket, sun lotion, hat, water bottle
Some cash for snacks and meals on the way
Climb Haba Mountain with daypack with:
Camera, toilet paper, flashlight, warm jacket, gloves, toothbrush, sun lotion, hat, fresh shirt and socks, water bottle.
All camping gear will be delivered to the campsite by mountain horses.
Pick up luggage and transfer to Lijiang / Shangrila
Included in the price:
- English speaking guide
- All transport and accommodation.
- All camping gear (back packs, tent, mats, sleeping bags) and delivery by horses to the campsite.
- English speaking guide, entrance tickets.
- Lunch /dinner / breakfast for the Haba mountain camping trip.
Not included in the price:
- Meals and drinks (except lunch/dinner breakfast on the Haba mountain camping trip)
Booking and Payment
You can reserve your place for the trip by clicking on “join this trip” and filling out our online booking form. You will receive an automatic reply with an overview of your reservation and a link to PayPal. You can follow the PayPal link and instructions and make your online payment.
Kids younger than 18 receive 10% discount.
Cancelation made by the participant more than 3 weeks before the trip will entitle the participant 100% refund.
In case of cancelation by the participant 3 weeks or less before the trip there is no refund but you can reschedule your trip to another date.
If a trip gets canceled due to unforeseen circumstances (very bad weather, closed trails, heavy pollution, not enough people signed up for a trip or other acts of god) you will of course get a 100% refund.
3 to 4 days before the trip we will send you an email with trip updates and the phone number of the guide. You can also contact us for a trip update at any time.
If you don’t have insurance yet you can ask a quote form Worldnomads, our insurance partner.
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.