Yunnan: Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge     Photo: Wikipedia

Don't want to wait a year to raft the Yangtze? Then hike above it, at Tiger Leaping Gorge, a ten-mile-long black-rock canyon in northwestern Yunnan. Start in Qiaotou village, where a trail spirals over the two-mile-deep gorge and the camera-toting tourists below. Tibetan hamlets in the high meadows above hold backpackers' digs if you want to stop for fried rice or noodles. Press on for 14 miles and you'll wind up back at river level, in the village of Walnut Garden, where you'll find the best meat pies in the gorge at Sean's Guesthouse (doubles, $30; tigerleapinggorge.com). Sean's also offers taxi service back to Qiaotou ($12).
GET THERE: Buses leave the tourist hub of Lijiang, 45 miles away, for Qiaotou every hour; China Southern flies from Beijing to Lijiang via Kunming (from $750; csair.us).

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