Trekking Options and Hiking Routes
The most common route people take is starting the trek from the town of Qiaotou and finishing in Walnut Garden. This walk is described in detail on the next page. From Walnut Garden you can take a minivan back to Qiaotou for ¥80 per car. Alternatively, you could take a car from Qiaotou to Walnut Garden and do the trek in reverse. The advantage of this is that you go downhill through the steepest part of the trek.
Some people also add on the four hour stretch from Walnut Garden to the town of Daju as part of the trek. The scenery in this stretch isn’t as dramatic, but you do get to cross the river by ferry. From Daju there is a daily bus back to Lijiang.
A more interesting extension is to the limestone terraces of Baishuitan via the village of Haba. This trek takes about 7 hours and most people do it in two days, staying overnight in Haba. From Baishuitan you can take a bus onwards to Zhongdian or back to Daju. Ask at Sean’s Guesthouse for more information on this route.
It is also possible to do an additional hiking circuit from the Walnut Garden area to the Haba Mountain peak or the bamboo forest. Seek good advice on this from somewhere like Sean’s Guesthouse before you set off as these trails are not marked as clearly. You might even need to hire a guide.
High Trail v Low Trail: In various literature about the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek, you’ll hear a lot of talk about a low trail. This is misleading as the ‘low trail’ is just a road. You can walk along it if you like, but walking along a road kind of defeats the point of hiking – you might as well just take a taxi. The ‘high trail’ is, in reality, the only hiking trail.