Yi Village Route (彝家村路线)
Region: Alpine Lakes Region
Itinerary: Haba Village—Yi Village—Jianshan Waterfall—Base Camp
Distance: 12 km one-way
Duration: 5 hours 10 minutes one-way
Altitude in Meters: Start 2,650. Max 4,100. End 4,100
Elevation Gain: 1,450 meters
Rating: Moderate (to Yi Village). Advanced (to Base Camp)
Hiking Times: Haba Snow Mountain Inn to Yi Village via shortcut 1:20 hrs. To the top of the village 1:35 hrs. To the end of the paved road 1:45 hrs. To Seji River crossing 2:25 hrs. To Jianshan Waterfall 3:10 hrs. To the viewpoint 3:55 hrs. To the hut ruins 4:10 hrs. To Base Camp 5:10 hrs.
Please read the explanation of hiking times, distances, altitudes and rating levels.
Yi Village, the highest hamlet in the Haba Village (哈巴村) valley, sits at an elevation of 3,050 meters. Village residents belong to the Yi (彝族) ethnic minority. Here you will find women in full ethnic dress, including the clan’s distinctive head covering.
The Yi Village Route extends beyond the village to the Jianshan Waterfall (尖山瀑布). Above the falls, the path ascends to the tree line and ends at Base Camp (大本营). Reliable water sources may be found below the waterfall, at hut ruins in the evergreen forest, and at Base Camp.
Haba Village to Yi Village
The paved access road to Yi Village is six kilometers long, one-lane wide, and has several blind curves. When two vehicles meet, one of them will have to backup, often for a considerable distance. You can hire a car to take you up (20 minutes), but expect to pay a premium due to the time and risk involved, perhaps 100 RMB.
Walking to the village is possible, and there are two alternatives. They match the same options available on the lower section of the Lan Hua Meadow Route (兰花坪路线).
Option 1: Paved road (1 hour 45 minutes)
For details, please see Road to Yi Village.
Option 2: Shortcut path (1 hour 20 minutes)
Local residents prefer this path to avoid most of the road walk. For details read Shortcut to Yi Village.
Yi Village to Jianshan Waterfall (1 hour 35 minutes)
At the lower edge of Yi Village, take the paved road on the right. Pass through to the top of the village. Here, look southwest for the sharp outline of Jianshan Mountain (尖山). The waterfall sits at the base of the mountain on the left, but is not visible from here.
From the top of the village, a road ascends west into the mountains for several kilometers. At the time of writing, the pavement extends roughly ½ kilometer above the village. At a point where the paved road turns abruptly left, a dirt road continues straight ahead. Ascend the dirt road for 100 meters, then turn left off the road onto a well-beaten track. This spot is about a 10-minute walk above the top of Yi Village.
Pass by a pond known locally by the Naxi name of Sheeba (石哈湖), where local residents trap frogs. Continue ascending through meadows and sparse forest, to a crude log bridge that spans an upper branch of the Seji River (色吉河). The river crossing is 40 minutes beyond the end of the paved road.
After a short ascent the path briefly plateaus, passes near corrals and buildings, then climbs over a low ridge. A short descent takes you to Jianshan Meadow (尖山坪), elevation 3,500 meters. Here there are huts and corrals. You’ll reach the meadow 45 minutes after crossing the Seji River.
The stream at the south end of the meadow is the outlet of Black Lake. Follow the stream uphill for 200 meters and around the bend where you will see the 40-meter high Jianshan Waterfall.
If the waterfall is your destination for the day, descend the way you came, or complete a loop by walking down the Jianshan Route.
Note on the descent from Jianshan Meadow
From Jianshan Meadow, the trail to Yi Village starts at the north end of the meadow, enters the forest and ascends a low ridge. From the top of the ridge it is downhill all the way to Yi village and Haba Village.
Jianshan Waterfall to Base Camp (2 hours)
From Jianshan Meadow, cross the stream below the falls and venture south into the woods, passing a couple of huts. The valley above leads to Base Camp. The path starts out on the right (west) side of the valley and passes through open, deciduous forest. It is a bit hard to follow at first but becomes well defined higher up.
45 minutes after leaving the meadow, reach a fine viewpoint with a distant view of the waterfall and the sharp peak of Jianshan. From this point on, the trail traverses evergreen forest. Cross a stream on a log bridge. 15 minutes above the viewpoint, pass by hut ruins deep within the evergreen forest. The stream runs nearby. The unusually large trees lend a primeval aura to these woods. Continue ascending for another hour through thick forest, finally reaching a meadow at the tree line. Just beyond you will find Base Camp.
Note on the descent from Base Camp
To find the start of the Yi Village Route, stand outside the main building where the caretaker lives. This building is the first encountered when ascending the Base Camp Route (大本营路线). Look northwest for the sharp peak of Jianshan. The trail starts at the edge of the meadow lower down, on a direct line with the peak. To reach that point, detour around a corral by following the fence line. The trail may be hard to track across the meadow but becomes well defined in the woods.