Situated to the northwest of the town of Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge with a splendid view of the swift turbulent current of the Golden River is created through constant cutting by the waters between Jade Dragon Mountain and Haba Mountain. 17 kilometers long, the gorge drops about 300 meters in a series of 18 rapids, and is divided into the Upper Gorge, the Middle Gorge and the Lower Gorge. The Lower Gorge is the most awe - inspiring part of all. The gorge, in which the Golden Sand River pounds furiously at its rocky shores in an awesome fashion, sending up skyfuls of white froth, is a dream place for adventurers.
The Tiger-Jump Gorges of the Jinsha River lie at the meeting place of the Haba snow mountains in Zhongdian County and the Yulong Snow Mountains in Lijiang County in China's southwestern Yunnan Province. With a total length of 17 kilometers, it consists of three sections-the upper, middle and lower tiger jumps. It drops to a depth of 213 meters while its width at the narrowest point is 20 meters. The water's surface is 1,800 meters above sea level and the snow mountains on both sides soar as high as 5,600 meters above sea level.
The road leading to the gorges for tourists is built in Zhongdian County at the side of the Haba Snow Mountains and ascends at a 30 to 50 degree angle. Actually, one has the best view of the gorges from the side of the Jade Dragon snow mountains. Its steep mountains with sides at an angle of 70 to 90 degrees prevent locals from constructing a direct road to the gorges.
The Jinsha River is 150 to 350 meters wide at the area of Shigu, the first section of the Yangtze River. The water flows very gently from Shigu to Xiaqiaotou, the town of the Tiger-Jump Gorges, allowing 30-ton ships to pass without any problem. However, the six-kilometer section from xiaqiaotou downstream has a swift current because the snow mountains make the river only 30 meters in width and the river is further blocked by the Tiger-Jump Rocks. The water here makes violent whirlpools and hits the banks so powerfully that soaring breakers are created. The high waves, soaring water and the mountains shrouded with clouds and mist constitute the most magnificent scene of the gorges.
The principal scenic spot Mautianxin (Stars All over the Sky) in the section of Middle Tiger Jump is only six kilometers away from the Upper Tiger Jump. The water here is about 100 meters lower than the upper stretch but jumps back and forth among a huge rock forest.
The Feixing( Flying) Rapids scenic spot belongs to the section of the Lower Tiger Jump. When climbing up Wangxia (viewing the Gorge) Terrace you will find that the river becomes narrower and the cliffs on both sides and the Haba Snow Mountains become more precipitous, forming various natural boulders. The water surges vigorously forward as it makes its way through the dangerous rocks.