Yi Village Route

Jianshan Waterfall



Yi Village (彝家村), 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.

Image credit: Zoharby, Yi Woman in Traditional Dressing, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Yi Village Route (彝家村路线) leads to the village and extends beyond to Jianshan Meadow (尖山坪) and Jianshan Waterfall (尖山瀑布). Above the falls, the path ascends to tree line and ends at Base Camp (大本营). Hiring a guide is recommended for the trek beyond the village.

Route Description

Route Description

Haba Village to Yi Village

Haba Village to Yi Village

Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes / 1 hour 45 minutes

You can drive a car or walk to Yi Village. The drive takes 20 minutes. If you hire a lift through a guest house, expect to pay a premium, perhaps 100rmb, due to the time and risk involved in negotiating blind curves. There are two walking alternatives. These are the same options available on the lower section of the Lanhua Meadow Route (兰花坪路线).

Option 1: Walk the paved road (1 hour 45 minutes)
Option 2: Walk the shortcut path (1 hour 20 minutes)

Yi Village to Jianshan Waterfall

Yi Village to Jianshan Waterfall

Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes

At the lower edge of Yi Village, take the paved road on the right. Pass through to the top of the village in 15 minutes. Here, look southwest for the sharp outline of Jianshan Peak (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. Follow the paved road for 10 minutes to a point where it turns abruptly left (elev. 3,150 m). Here, a dirt road continues straight ahead. Follow the dirt road passing occasional huts along the way.

Traverse two switchbacks on the road. Beyond them, look down on the left to a pond that goes by the Naxi name of Sheeba (石哈湖), where local residents trap frogs. Traverse another smaller switchback and arrive at a trail junction on the left (elev. ca. 3,300 m; 27° 22’47“N, 100°5’48“E). This point is about 30 minutes beyond the end of the paved road.

At the junction, a well-traveled path descends 100 meters to a crossing of the Seji River. During times of high water the crossing may be difficult or dangerous, as there is no bridge. Beyond the river, the route ascends through open forest where many trees have been cut down leaving stumps. Fifteen minutes past the river crossing, pass corrals and huts, the highest inhabited dwellings in this area.

The route swings left and ascends steeply to a ridge, 3,500 m., which you will reach some 35 minutes after crossing the Seji River. Cross over the ridge and make a short descent to Jianshan Meadow. 10 minutes later arrive at the south end of the meadow. Here there are huts and corrals and a log bridge over a brook, which is the outlet stream of Black Lake.

The Jianshan Route crosses the meadow, utilizing the log bridge on the descent east to Haba Village while ascending west to Black Lake on a path above the huts.

Jianshan Waterfall lies close by but is not visible from here. Follow the stream uphill for 200 meters and around the bend to see the 30-meter high falls.

If your destination is Black Lake, you can take a short cut instead of entering Jianshan Meadow. On top of he 3,500 m. ridge mentioned above, turn right and ascend in 10 minutes to an overhanging cliff. Immediately beyond, join the Jianshan Route and continue on to the 4,100-meter high lake. For details refer to the Jianshan Route.

If the waterfall is your destination for the day, descend the way you came, or complete a loop by walking down the Jianshan Route. For the latter, a guide is recommended due to the confusing proliferation of paths.

Note on the descent from Jianshan Meadow

To locate the path of the Yi Village Route, first walk to the north end of Jianshan Meadow. Here a path enters the forest and ascends a low ridge, elev. 3,500 m. From the top of the ridge it is downhill all the way to Yi village and Haba Village.

Jianshan Waterfall to Base Camp

Jianshan Waterfall to Base Camp

Duration: 2 hours

At Jianshan Meadow, cross the stream below the falls on a log bridge 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

At Base Camp, in order to locate the start of the Yi Village Route, stand outside the main building where the caretaker lives. (This building is the central one from which people begin the direct descent to Haba Village via 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.

Summary: Yi Village Route (彝家村路线)

Summary: Yi Village Route (彝家村路线)

Region: Alpine Lakes Region
Itinerary: Haba Village—Yi Village—Jianshan Waterfall—Base Camp
Duration: One-way: 1 hour 20 minutes to Yi Village; 5 hours to Base Camp
Distance: One-way: 5 km to Yi Village; 12 km to Base Camp
Altitude in Meters: Start 2,650. Max 4,100. End 4,100
Elevation Gain: 400 meters to Yi Village; 1,450 meters to Base Camp
Rating: Moderate (to Yi Village). Advanced (to Base Camp)
Water Sources: Seji River, Jianshan Meadow, evergreen forest hut ruins, Base Camp
Hiking Times: Haba Snow Mountain Inn to Yi Village via shortcut 1:20 hrs. Top of village 1:35. End of paved road 1:45. Seji River crossing 2:15. Jianshan Meadow 2:50. Stream crossing below waterfall 3:00. Viewpoint 3:45 hrs. Hut ruins 4:00. Base Camp 5:00.


Please read the explanation of hiking times, distances, altitudes and rating levels here.

Written by
Ken Krov