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Tiger leaping gorge hike with kids

Sunrise2012 (18 posts) • 0

Hi all, hubby and I hiked tiger leaping gorge in 1997, want to do now with our kids (10 and 12) this time in our upcoming Yunnan trip in Jan. They are used to extended overland hikes in Australia, fit and high level of endurance on rugged terrain etc.

used to traveling china etc it's our third exploration of Yunnan together with the kids.

But I've had this little wave of doubt whether the hike is not safe enough for the kids...reading about how the track is narrow in spots etc...has anyone recently done hike to give me an update of how they feel would be for kids (not fitness side....my kids are Duracell batteries who can walk for days with packs on :-) just 'safety' wise.

It's been 20 yrs since hubby and I did it ...I think I am over worrying, but I can't seem to find any blog diary of anyone doing with kids.....any input for me? We are going in Jan, so should be dry track. Any helpful suggestions welcome :-)

lemon lover (891 posts) • +2

My advice: don’t do it.
In 1997 doing the trek was something special. A narrow path through a remote area where hardly anybody ever came. It had a magic spell and would give a sense of achievement.
Since then a lot of things have changed. Viewing platforms on both sides of the river. A big parking lot to accommodate all the private cars and tour busses which got there on the especially build highway to the gorge. A constant stream of selfy taking tourist (Many on high heels) being pushed in a one direction flow through the thing. (January is a bit more quiet but at top days more than 5000 people visit the place daily).
I know walking the trail is still something different but it lost the spell.
You have a good memory of the experience. Preserve that, don’t come back.

AlexKMG (2361 posts) • 0

I think they're trying to give their kids a memorable experience so it's probably ok to go back. But lemon lover is right, you're in for a let down compared to 1997. But your kids will have a great time and ace the trail.

Make sure to NOT go during dry season, or your kids will be the ones let down as the gorge water is a shallow tame river, and not the rapids worthy of the name Tiger Leaping. Weather is unpredictable in the gorge as it has its own quick changing microclimates, but as experienced hikers, you'll be fine and have the kit for it.

Edit. Just read your going in Jan. Don't bother, that's low dry season. Your kids will just be bored in there.

kc430kc430 (71 posts) • 0

It depends on how your kids react to high-exposure situations, and only you can be the judge of that. I would like to take my wife on the trek and have concerns about how she will react, as she is an eager flat-ground walker but not an experienced hiker in rugged terrain. I believe I can walk her through any sections where she feels scared.

I do recommend staying on the standard path from Qiaotou to Tina's. The Bamboo Forest Path, from just above Tina's to Walnut Garden Youth Hostel, is a couple degrees more serious than the standard path, not one I would recommend for your kids.

Lemon Lover makes a valid point. I have hiked the trail twice, October 2014 and mid-November 2017. I noticed significant changes to the trail over the intervening three years, making for less of a trekking experience and more of an "urban" experience.

More paving, whether for autos or for the footpath itself, specifically, a long portion of the footpath below the 28 Bends. Construction of a new bridge over a stream will permit autos to pass directly on the trail not far from one of the main guest houses (Halfway House if I remember correctly).

About water level, I noticed the river in November was indeed low. Not a complaint for me as my goals were of a different sort: training for mountain climbing (carrying a relatively heavy pack), meeting interesting folks from all over the world. My progress speaking Chinese with guest house staff was especially encouraging, compared with my feeble efforts of three years ago. Now I can hold a meaningful and rewarding conversation--usually.

colinflahive (167 posts) • +1

We just took our staff of 40 there (with one employee's 3 year old daughter who hiked most of it herself and loved it) and we had some of the same concerns. Things have changed but the high road is still well worth it and the hike down from Tina's to the middle gorge rapid is too. Guesthouses have turned into proper hotels which sucks from the side of seeing a beautiful place go through dramatic change but really convenient if you have kids and crave internet and hot water showers. Still one of Yunnan's highlights. I just hope you get some sunshine as it's not nearly as nice in the clouds

Sunrise2012 (18 posts) • 0

Thanks all, AlexKMG...I think I am actually happier going in driest month...track has got to be safer than if its been raining for days :-)

kc430 we come to China for a cultural experience for our kids too, our Mandarin has gotten to a good level over the years and chatting to locals and staff is all part of the experience for the kids.

China is China, with a lot of people...I suppose if we wanted to relax we would have chosen to go to a nice mountain resort somewhere in New Zealand (sounds tempting :-) But learning how to 'be in China' is all part of our experience and real life learning for the kids...I suppose we are part of the '5000' tourists and we have no more right to an unspoilt wilderness as anybody else.

Even though the nostalgic memory of Tiger Leaping Gorge 20 yrs ago would be nice to keep...our adventure this time is in the 'now' and whatever comes with it :-)

colinflahive....thanks... it gives me confidence the kids will be fine on the track, I think I know they will be fine...just those parental worries creeping in :-)

lemon lover (891 posts) • +3

@Sunrise
Looks like you know what you are doing and have been back since so know about all the changes and will not fall for the memory trap. Well have fun and give the kids a great experience.

Sunrise2012 (18 posts) • +3

Thanks again guys, we just finished the hike...can't deny hubby was a bit anxious with the kids near those sheer drops :-) But we made it and it was not disappointing even 20 years on.

If anyone else thinking of doing it with kids just ask any questions :-) We found it hard to find info about doing the trek with kids, so our kids are actually going to do a blog when they get back to Australia 'Tiger Leaping Gorge: A kids' perspective' , hopefully it will help some families plan their trip :-) Will post the link when they have done it.

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