Video: Tiger Leaping Gorge: Hiking the Extraordinary

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Tiger Leaping Gorge: Hiking the Extraordinary

Spectacular. Wild. Breathtaking. These are some of the typical superlatives associated with a trip to Yunnan's Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡). The grandeur comes not only from the absolutely massive mountains forming the sheer walls of the chasm, but also the unrestrained and furious whitewater rapids of the Yangtze River pounding relentlessly through the canyon.

Nearing the end of his month-long journey through the province's northwest, Yunnan: The China You Never Knew host Jordan Porter finally reaches the holy grail of hiking South of the Clouds.

This fantastic landscape is known to many who have hiked it simply as 'the gorge'. While there, Jordan sets about exploring it from top to bottom, trekking alone and with a guide, speaking with long-time residents and people visiting from overseas, to try and take in the grandeur and immensity of one of China's most awe-inspiring places.

See the entire episode of Tiger Leaping Gorge: Hiking the Extraordinary on YouTube!

Catch up on everything from Yunnan: The China You Never Knew

To watch the entire Tiger Leaping Gorge episode, head over to our YouTube channel, Destination China, where you can also catch the nine other episodes of the travel show Yunnan: The China You Never Knew.

The first of these centers on the provincial capital, Kunming, while the second through eighth find Jordan in the charming old towns of Weishan, Donglianhua, Dali, Heshun and then amongst the volcanic splendor of Tengchong. Just before heading to Tiger Leaping Gorge, he also visits Shaxi, rock climbs the cliffs around Laojun Mountain and experiences everything on offer in Yunnan's own Shangri-la. Enjoy!

See the entire episode of Tiger Leaping Gorge: Hiking the Extraordinary on YouTube!

Getting to know Yunnan's best trek

In and of itself, Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the most spectacular hiking destinations in all of China. Besides the otherworldly surroundings and views, other factors also work to make trekking there one of the most worthwhile trips in the country for outdoor enthusiasts.

While the trails snaking through Tiger Leaping Gorge are never crowded, they are also only about two hours from Sanyi International Airport in Lijiang (丽江). Basically, you could step off the plane in the morning and be at the trailhead by noon. Once there, Tiger Leaping Gorge's trails wind their way through alpine villages and feature world-class views of stunning Himalayan peaks. And unlike soaring hikes deep in the mountains of Nepal and northern India, Tiger Leaping Gorge can be hiked year-round. In fact, the dead of winter is often one of the best times to go.

The gorge has been carved out by the raging rapids of the Jinsha River (金沙江) — the main headwaters of the Yangtze. As it pours through the gorge, the Jinsha is flanked by the imposing Jade Dragon (玉龙雪山) and Haba (哈巴雪山) snow mountains. Both of these ranges soar to more than 5,000 meters above sea level and provide the extraordinary vistas that make Tiger Leaping Gorge such a rewarding hiking destination.

Hiking through this stunning chasm is also quite flexible in terms of possible itineraries, with different ways of stringing together trips that last anywhere from a single day, to add-on destinations that could keep you occupied for more than a week. If you come to Yunnan, it is, simply put, a can't miss destination.

See the entire episode of Tiger Leaping Gorge: Hiking the Extraordinary on YouTube!

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I love the gorge trek, such a beautiful place!

4.9 earthquake just shook Lijiang. Hope everyone is okay.

Another 4.9 aftershock.

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