Please read the explanation of hiking times, distances, altitudes and rating levels here.
Rising 5,396 meters above sea level, Haba Snow Mountain (哈巴雪山) lies between the cities of Lijiang and Shangri-La, in southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Drawn by the region’s natural beauty, travelers from throughout China and around the globe come to experience its lofty heights, its profound valleys, and the breathtaking vistas.
The Haba Snow Mountain area offers many natural attractions. These range from deep virgin forests to showy alpine flowers, from plunging waterfalls to serene alpine lakes, and from meadows of grazing yaks to ethnic villages steeped in tradition. The renowned Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges on earth, embraces the entire southeast side of the mountain. The glacier-clad peak overlooks them all.
For an update on road access to Haba Snow Mountain, please read the Transport In and Out page.
Continue reading for an overview of each one.
The high country north of Haba Snow Mountain cradles several alpine lakes, all near the tree line or above. The crown jewel and by far the largest is Black Lake (黑海). Situated at 4,100 meters, it offers magnificent views with the glacial Haba peak as backdrop. Four trekking routes are available: Lanhua Meadow (兰花坪), Yi Village (彝家村), Jianshan (尖山), and Base Camp Route (大本营路线). Combine two, for a scenic multiday loop. Mountain climbers overnight at Base Camp, primitive lodging at treeline, elevation 4,100 meters. After one ot two nights here, climbers make a pre-dawn start for the 5,396-meter summit. Trekkers are welcome to stay at Base Camp. The Alpine Lakes Region can be accessed from Haba Village (哈巴村).
Seldom visited by trekkers, the Jizhi Valley (鸡枝山谷) offers spectacular views of Haba Snow Mountain’s west flank and the impressively long South Ridge. From the 4,330-meter Jizhi Pass (鸡枝垭口), just west of Haba’s summit, the valley extends a dozen kilometers south to the Chong River (冲江河) and beyond to Qiaotou Town (桥头镇), situated near the start of Tiger Leaping Gorge. Lisu and Yi ethnic minorities inhabit lower parts of the valley. There is one trekking path here—the Jizhi Pass Route (鸡枝垭口路线) affords a three-day trek from Haba Village to Qiaotou Town.
On the east side of Haba Snow Mountain lie several moderately high summits. The highest is East Peak (东边山峰), reaching 4,500 meters. Trekking routes on the lower slopes connect Tiger Leaping Gorge with the rural villages of Ennu (恩努村) and Haba. The main Luke-Haba Route (栌克-哈巴路线) takes two days to complete, with an overnight stay at Ennu. The Haba-Benxi Route (哈巴-本习路线) also links the villages with the gorge.
The famous Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges on earth, covers the entire southeast side of the Haba massif. Inaccessible peaks form an impressive rampart, soaring 3,500 meters above the churning Jinsha (金沙江) or upper Yangtze River (长江). A two or three-day trek through the gorge provides a wonderous and awe-inspiring experience. The classic trekking path starts at Qiaotou Town and extends northeast for twenty-three kilometers to the terminus at Tina’s Guest House (中峰国际青年旅舍). While some people traverse the gorge in a single day, most opt for a slower pace. You can overnight at one of several guest houses, spaced conveniently along the trail. Shorter day hikes are available within the gorge, including the unforgettable descent to the Jinsha River. The extremely rugged Bamboo Forest Path (竹林小路) passes waterfalls and cascades while ascending a wild canyon with splendid views. Empty Glad Platform (空欢喜观景台) permits a striking view down the entire length of the gorge.
Ringed on three sides by towering peaks, this hidden and seldom visited valley sits beneath Haba’s savage East Face. Dashengou Canyon (大深沟) drains Haba Muru Sanctuary into Tiger Leaping Gorge. Alpine passes provide access from Haba Village and Bendiwan Village (本地湾村). A one-day hike to Miner’s Pass (矿工垭口) allows a partial glimpse of the bowl-shaped Sanctuary. Accessing the interior requires a strenuous trek of several days.