Tiger Leaping Gorge (now there you have a name that literally jumps out at you) formed in the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Area, in southwestern China. This geological marvel comprises a deep canyon situated on the Jinsha River, which itself forms a principal tributary of the Yangtze River.
The gorge actually remains one of the deepest, not to mention incredibly beautiful, river gorges on earth.
Of significant interest; the canyon serves as home to a small indigenous population known as the Naxi. Their principal subsistence comes from serving as guides for hikers and tourists.
Tiger Leaping Gorge Geography and Geology
Tiger Leaping Gorge measures approximately 9.3 mi (15 km) in length. It also boasts a maximum depth of roughly 12,434 ft (3,790 m).
The width of both the river and the gorge varies greatly. At one point, Tiger Leaping Gorge narrows to a width of only 82 ft (35 m).
The gorge has a natural division into three separate sections. It also contains several small waterfalls, as well as a staggering 18 different sections of rapids.
Tiger Leaping Gorge Hazards and Concerns
Though its beauty cannot be denied, the terrain of Tiger Leaping Gorge remains extremely dangerous (no surprise, from looking at these photos).
The river itself usually appears unnavigable, with numerous deaths occurring among those who have attempted it. Officials have banned hiking in the area for all but the most experienced hikers.
Over the past 20 years, various groups proposed several extensive dam projects for Tiger Leaping Gorge. To date, however (and thankfully) these have been voted down. This occurred primarily because of concerns over environmental impact and the displacement of the indigenous peoples.