8 Best Hiking Trails in Yunnan China

Arguably Yunnan is one of best destinations in China for hikers and trekkers. Here is a list of the 8 best hikes in Yunnan, ranging from big mountains and forests to valleys, gorges and rivers, traversing remote villages, ancient shrines, waterfalls and those untouched areas. Why don’t you put these amazing hikes on your budget list and someday you may be able to enjoy the tranquility, authenticity and sheer natural beauty of Yunnan on foot.

Yubeng Hiking Trail

Location: Deqin, Shangri-La, Yunnan

Physical grading: 4 - demanding

How many days needed: 4 to 5 days

Best time to hike: April to June, September to November

Suggested hiking route: Feilai Temple – Langcang River Bridge - Fir Forest Temple – Xidang Village – Xidang Hot Spring – Shangnazongla Pass – Upper Yubeng Village – Ice Lake – Lower Yubeng Village – Sacred Waterfall River – Lotus Buddhist Cave - Sacred Waterfall River – Sacred Lake – Nilong Grand Canyon – Feilai Temple

The unexplored Yubeng Village in Shangrila is accessible only by mule and by foot. Try to travel light since it will be a difficult journey. You will hike 3900m above sea level and find no paved but very steep mountainous paths. However, the payoff is huge – you can walk through the gorgeous Nilong Grand Canyon, see the Sacred Waterfall, Ice Lake and visit Meili Snow Mountain (Kawagarbo) Camp Base and the legendary Feilai Temple.

>> Recommended 8 Days Yubeng Trekking Tour

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Location: between Lijiang and Shangri-la

Physical grading: 4 - demanding

How many days needed: 3 days

Best time to hike: September - June

Suggested hiking route: Qiaotou Town – Changcheng Village – 28 Bends – Liangjiaren Village - Bendiwan Village – Zhongxia River - Walnut Garden Village – Huashiban – the Old Ferry – Daju Village

Famous for its ruggedness and majesty, Tiger Leaping Gorge is regarded as one of the four greatest gorges in the world. Furthermore, it is a hikers’ paradise and one of the iconic treks in Yunnan and beyond. It normally takes 3 days to finish hiking the complete Tiger Leaping Gorge that are divided into the upper, middle and lower parts. Along the way, you will be rewarded with breathtaking sceneries: the First Bend of Yangtze River, roaring JInsha River, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Haba Snow Mountain…

>> Recommended 3 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Tour

Balagezong Grand Canyon

Location: Nixi, Shangri-La, Yunnan

Physical grading: 4 - demanding

How many days needed: 3 days

Best time to hike: September to May

Suggested hiking route: Bala Village – Huahaitang – Qudeng Sacred Mountain – Huahaitang – Bala Village

Balagezong Grand Canyon is favorably located at the border of Yunnan, Tibet and Sichuan, and along with Birang Grand Canyon, constitutes the Shangri-La Grand Canyon. When hiking Balagezong Grand Canyon, you can see the magnificent Balagezong Mountain, one of the three holy mountains in Kangba District, and Qudeng Sacred Mountain, known among locals as the “Natural Buddhist Pagoda”.

Qiunatong - Bingzhongluo Hiking Trail

Location: Nixi, Shangri-La

Physical grading: 2 - light

How many days needed: 1 day (7 to 8 hours)

Best time to hike: May – November

Suggested hiking route: Qiuyetong Village – Tea-horse Trading Route – Chaohong Bridge – Sijitong Village – Shimen Pass – Zhongding Catholic Church – Bingzhongluo

A relatively lower-impact and classic trek in Yunnan, it is suitable for all. Hike along Nujiang River and Nujiang Grand Canyon from Qiuyetong to Bingzhongluo (vice versa), and you will cross the picturesque Qiuyetong Village and trek on the authentic ancient Tea-horse Trading Route.

Nanzhai Gongfang Ancient Road

Location: Goligong Mountain, Baoshan City, Yunnan

Physical grading: 2 - light

How many days needed: 1 day (about 10 hours)

Best time to hike: September to May

Suggested hiking route: Baihualing – Huangzhu River - Yongding Bridge – Huangxinshu Village - Nanzhai Gongfang – Xuechong Pass – Bandeng Cliff – Gangfang – Huajuan Stone – Linjia Pu

Located on the primeval Gaoligong Mountain, 3150 meters above sea level, Nanzhai Gongfang was named after a Buddhist volunteer who came here to provide accommodation for former merchants, and was one of the three ancient roads of South Silk Road (Baoshan to Tengchong Section).In nowadays it has become a classic hiking trail in Yunnan.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces Hiking

Location: Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan

Physical grading: 3 – average

How many days needed: 2 days

Best time to hike: November to April

Suggested hiking route: Duoyisishu Rice Terraces – Aichun – Laohuzui Rice Terraces – Duoyishu Rice Terraces– Huangcaoling – Shengcun Village – Malizhai Village – Mailizhai Tea Factory – Quanfuzhuang Village – Jingkou Hani Ethnic Village – Longshuba Rice Terraces

Especially suitable for cameraman hikers, the Yuanyang Rice Terraces hiking trail will allow you to walk amidst endless terraced fields, pass by primitive villages and get endless opportunities for landscape and humanity photos. Make sure you won’t miss the sunrise, sunset, seas of clouds and local people’s traditional dwellings.

Xishuangbanna Menghun to Menghai Hiking

Physical grading: 3 – average

How many days needed: 2 days

Best time to hike: October to May

Suggested hiking route: Menghun – tea plantation village – Noya Village of Bulang –Aini Village - Mengzhe Town

Trek mainly along the mountain paths to cross Xishuangbanna’s tropical rain forest, ancient tea plantation farms, waterfalls, lakes… And get to the tranquil remote villages to discover local traditional dwellings and experience the varied ethnic minority culture of Dai, Aini, Bulang, Hani…

Kunming Changchong Mountain to Moutianling Mountain Hiking

Physical grading: 2 – light

How many days needed: 1 day (12 hours)

Best time to hike: all year round

Suggested hiking route: Changchong Mountain – Dajiaojing Mountain – Toudao Liangzi – Jiguan

Starting from Changchong Mountain (Long Worm Mountain) in the northern suburb of Kunming, very popular among local outdoor enthusiasts, you will hike on the big mountains all the way. Discover Kunming’s rarely-seen wilderness. Enjoy yourself the beautiful natural scenery and see the city from the air.

>> Recommended 10 Days Yunnan Hiking Tour with Cultural Exploration

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