Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the most dramatic and arguably the most beautiful canyon in China. Carved by the Jinsha River, which feeds the Yangtze, it is flanked not merely by canyon walls but also by the nearby mountains, adding to the overall breathtaking vistas. Tiger Leaping Gorge is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.
The Jinsha River runs through one of China’s quieter quarters, and for much of its history the area around Tiger Leaping Gorge has only been populated by small villages of indigenous Nakhi peoples. The name of the gorge comes from a legend in which a tiger attempting to escape a hunter leapt more than eighty feet across the river. Despite the gorge’s beauty and cultural heritage, the area is under threat from the possible construction of a dam. At the moment this peroject is currently on hold.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is unlike many of its major rivals around the world, in part because it is not a desert canyon (much of it is heavily forested), and the canyon walls tend to slope more steeply to the bottom. In the areas which are not as steep, steppe farms, some dating back centuries, can be seen climbing up the walls.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is in a somewhat isolated area, but thanks to the development of new bridges, roads and tourist facilities in the last few decades, the area has opened wide up to tourism. The main road running along the gorge was designed to offer stunning views, which it does magnificently. This is generally the best and most popular way to see the canyon, as the river is considered to be completely unnavigable. Web: http://en.ynta.gov.cn (official tourism website of Yunnan Province).