Lesser Three Gorges
The lesser Three Gorges, situated on a tributary of the Yangtze, are much smaller, narrower and also have some dramatic scenery to offer. Situated on a much smaller river only small passenger boats can make their way up the narrow gorges and winding river. On both sides impressive stone cliffs are interspersed with surrounding rural scenery and forested areas. Tourists and the China Tourism Commission selected it as one of the forty top tourist attractions in China in 1991, jointly.
The Lesser Three Gorges refers to the three separate valleys of the Daning River, "Dragon-Gate Gorge", "Misty Gorge" and "Emerald Gorge". Here sheer cliffs and steep mountains rise on either side, creating a natural fine arts gallery as a splendid scenic wonder unfolds on both banks of the river. Its subtle mountains, clear waters, pretty rocks, dangerous rapids, sharp turns, fantastic caves, and stalactites in various shapes characterize the natural landscape of the Lesser Three Gorges. Monkeys, mandarin ducks, water birds and fish can be seen in this area. In addition to the continuous natural scenery there are a number of historical places of interest along the way, such as the suspending coffin, boat coffin, and remains of an ancient plank walkway.
Dragon-Gate Gorge, 3 km long, is the shortest of the three, stretching from the Dragon-Gate Bridge to the Rapids of Silver Nest. It is spectacular due to the mountains on both sides that are so high that they seem to touch the sky. In the gorge, there are the remains of the longest ancient plank walkway in China and a number of scenic sights, such as the Dragon-Gate Spring, Gate Guarded by Lion, Nine Dragons Pillar, etc. Shooting through the Rapids of Silver Nest, the boats fly along like blazing arrows. The Daning then meanders through terraced hillsides before entering the Misty Gorge.
Misty Gorge, 10 km long, starts at the Tortoise Shoal and ends at Double-Dragon Town. Stalactites in numerous shapes and various sculptured groups have formed on both banks of the river. A good imagination is all your need to enjoy the sights and perhaps discover a few of your own. The traditionally seen shapes resemble the Monkey Fishing in the Air, Horse-Returning to Mountain, and many more. All are remarkably lifelike, and many scenes are related to wonderful fairy tales or touching legends.
Emerald Gorge, extends for 20 km from the Double-Dragon Town to Tujiaba. It is the longest and also gathers the beauty of the Lesser Three Gorges. On the banks, each peak seems more beautiful than the other does and the bamboo groves are luxuriantly verdant. No waterfall in not swift; no water is not green. Mandarin ducks swim in pairs in the river and monkeys leap from branch to branch. Other scenic spots include the Water Curtain Cave , Stalactitic Buddha on Cliff, the Dancing Rain from Heavenly Spring, Sheep Cliff, the Mini-Three Gorges on Madu River , Imitation Plank Paths, Steel Rope Bridge , Sky-Scraping Red Wall, Boat Coffin, Two Eagles Playing on Screen and Flying Clouds Cave .