The most celebrated of natural wonders in China, the Three Gorges include the Qutang Gorge (8 kilometers/5 miles), the Wu Gorge (46 kilometers/29 miles), and the Xiling Gorge (66 kilometers/41 miles). This region of towering slopes, swirling waters, and quaint villages is the quintessential image of China.
Smallest and narrowest of the gorges, the Qutang is renowned for its tortuous waters and towering cliffs. The “Kui Men” gate – two cliffs that mark its entrance – is an image known throughout China.
The magical Wu Gorgeis highlighted by the majestic peaks mantled in verdant forests. Legend has it that Yao Ji, a celestial being, loved this area so much that she and her 12 attendants were transformed in the peaks, which grace the landscape of the gorge. The Shennong Stream runs into the Yangtze at the Wu Gorge.
The longest of the gorges, the Xiling is celebrated for the many smaller gorges that mark its course. Historically, this was the most perilous part of any journey through the gorges, as boulders menaced ships making the trip up and down river. Today, the boulders are gone but the gorge is famous for the mighty Three Gorges Dam that lies near its entrance.