A landslide has destroyed a car park and blocked the road in one of Yunnan's most popular tourist destinations. The entrance to Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡) near Qiaotou (桥头) is now closed until debris is cleared and the road repaired, Xinhua is reporting.
Heavy rains last week during Dragon Boat Festival soaked the gorge and caused a section of the cliffs above the roadway to collapse. Although park staff were nearby when the landslide occurred, no one was reported injured. Several buildings were destroyed by falling rocks.
The road through the gorge is now closed to all traffic while the unpaved foot trail — known as the high path — remains open to hikers. Tourists are still allowed to enter through the Lijiang side and can hike to Tiger Leaping Stone. There, legend has it, a tiger once jumped across the abyss to avoid pursuers.
The gorge has been carved out by the Jinsha River (金沙江) — the main headwaters of the Yangtze River. The Jinsha flows between the imposing massifs Jade Dragon (玉龙雪山) and Haba (哈巴雪山) snow mountains. Tiger Leaping Gorge is prone to landslides but this most recent one was larger than usual. The report by Xinhua estimated that some of the boulders dislodged were 30 cubic meters in size.
During the summer months, Tiger Leaping Gorge averages 6,000 visitors a day. That level of traffic has been severely restricted since the road was closed. Numbers are expected to rebound once cleanup efforts are concluded sometime next week.
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