High altitudes—During this trip we’ll be at elevations between 2,000 and 3,500 metres above sea level. That‘s high enough that you might feel the effects of altitude sickness.
Day One main activities
Fly to Chengdu, visit Luding Bridge, overnight in Moxi.
Day Two main activities
Hiking in Hailuo Valley Scenic area, overnight in Kangding.
Day Three main activities
Hiking in Mugecuo Scenic Area, overnight in Jiaju Tibetan Village.
Day Four main activities
Hiking around Jiaju Tibetan Village, overnight in Danba County
Day Five main activities
Hiking in Changping Valley, visiting Chongjiao Waterfall, Kumuhai Lake, and Siguniang Base Camp. Overnight in Wolong.
Day Six main activities
Visit Qiang Village, back to Chengdu for flight to Beijing
Mount Siguniang: the ‘Four Sisters Peaks’
The Four Sisters Peaks (Mount Siguniang) are the highest peaks of Sichuan’s Qionglai mountain range. Curiously, it isn’t the ‘Big Sister’, ‘Second Sister’, or ‘Third Sister’ that is the tallest of the peaks—it’s ‘Little Sister’, who, at an elevation of 6,250m, is the second-highest peak in Sichuan Province.
Below the Four Sisters peaks are valleys and mountain foothills where you’ll find Tibetan villages, glaciers and frozen waterfalls, high altitude lakes, and forests filled with monkey tribes.
On this trip you'll do high-altitude hikes through Hailuo Valley, Muguecuo Scenic Area, and Changping Valley, three of the main scenic areas below the mountains. In between the hikes you'll explore and overnight in towns and villages, visiting Moxi, Kangding, Danba, and Jiaju.
Hailuo Valley Glacier and Forest Park
Glaciers, forests, springs, and the surrounding mountain peaks make Hailuo Valley a magical environment. Starting at an elevation of 2,850m, we’ll use the park cable car to get up to the 3,400m Camp 4 for views of the 7,566m tall peak of Mount Gongga. On the way back down we’ll stop by China’s largest icefall, and the forested foot of the valleys No. 1 Glacier.
Mugecuo Lake Scenic area
This park area is best known for alpine lakes filled with clear water. The largest of these lakes, Mugecuo, is at an elelvation of 3,500mas deep as 70m in places. We’ll take the park bus up to the lake and start our hike from there, walking through valleys, forests, and rivers, passing by several of the other lakes on the way down.
Our hike into Changping Valley will take us in the direction of the Four Sisters Peaks, passing by Chongjiao Waterfall and Kumu Lake. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch before hiking up to the base camp for views of the peaks.
Trading towns and surrounds
Moxi is a small town near the entrance to Hailuo Valley. Previously an important stop on an old trade route, it’s now more well-known for Luding Bridge, a site of famous battle between Nationalist and Communist troops in 1935. We’ll overnight in Moxi after taking a look at the bridge. Moxi is at an elevation of 1,600m.
Kangding was an old trading town on the road from Tibet to central China. The town is somewhat squashed into a valley where two large rivers combine, making the sound of water a constant presence. We’ll overnight in Kangding on the way from Hailuo Valley to Mugecuo. Kangding is at an elevation of 2,560m.
We’ll spend a night in the Tibetan village of Jiaju on the way from Mugecuo to Changping Valley. Voted ‘China’s Most Beautiful Ancient Village’ by China Geographic, the village features hillside stone houses built in a ‘blockhouse’ style for security. We’ll take a look around the village and take a hike in the fields and hills around the village before we head on to Danba.