Bamboo Forest Path (竹林小路) Region: Tiger Leaping Gorge Itinerary: Tina’s Guest House—Dashengou Canyon—Ravine Stairway—Luke’s Hostel Distance: 4 km one-way Duration: 2½ hours one-way Altitude in Meters: Start 2,200. Max 2,360. End 2,360 Elevation Gain: 400 meters Rating: Easy (very rugged trail in spots)
Please read the explanation of hiking times, distances, altitudes and rating levels.
View from the path to Shenchuan Bridge (神川大桥) and Tina's Guest House
The Bamboo Forest Path offers a short extension of the classic trek through Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡). From a trail junction a short distance above Tina’s Guest House (中峡国际青年旅舍), pass through whispering bamboo and clamber up Dashengou Canyon (大深沟) past cascades and waterfalls. A picturesque stairway bridges the ravine halfway up.
If you are hiking the gorge from Qiaotou (桥头镇), you don’t have to descend all the way down to Tina’s, the normal terminus for most trekkers. A short distance above Tina’s, the Bamboo Forest Path branches off. The spot is marked by prominent signs. If you are starting from Tina’s, simply walk up the regular trekking path for 20 minutes until you reach the fork in the trail.
When I hiked Bamboo Forest Path for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. Almost immediately I met a hiker coming down, who summed up the trail in one word: weixian (危险, dangerous). As I climbed higher, I had to agree. I felt as if I were balancing on a ribbon hung on a precipice. Weighed down by a heavy pack that threw me off balance, I tried to phone my wife for prayer, but there was no signal.
Happy to say, the path is safer now. Zhao Yin (赵银), owner of Luke's Hostel, is the designer and builder of the path since 2010. In recent years he widened the narrow sections and installed cables to assist passage over the tricky parts. Metal steps replaced the aging wooden ladder that bridges the ravine. He also installed signs and green arrows pointing the way. Above the stairway, he marked a side path which leads to a series of cascades higher up, where the canyon walls narrow down into a slot.
Despite the improvements, inexperienced hikers should consider hiring a guide in these wild surroundings. For information about Luke’s Hostel, the end point of the Bamboo Forest Path, see here. The Luke-Haba Route, a two-day trek to Haba Village (哈巴村), starts at the hostel.