The Lesser Three Gorges are three valleys of the Daning River in
Wushan County. They are called Longmen (Dragon Gate) Gorge, Bawu
(Misty) Gorge, and Dicui (Emerald) Gorge. They are a destination of
some Yangtze River cruises, and you can book a trip that will take
you there. Now that the Three Gorges Dam is built, large cruise
ships can go in. The gorges are in a forest with wild animals, and
there are sheer cliffs and steep hillsides.
Before the construction of the new Three Gorges Dam, people used to
say that the scenery in the Lesser Three Gorges on the Daning River
was better than that in the Three Gorges on the Yangtze. Before,
only small motor boats could go in. It was known for rapids with
clear green water. Now large cruise ships can go in. However, the
area is still a highlight on a Yangtze River tour.
The three gorges are now on the Three Gorges Lake. They are three
successive gorges on the Daning near where it used to merge with
the Yangtze. The Lessor Three Gorges area is about 60 kilometers
long. The area around there is a natural preserve with monkeys and
other animals. The Lessor Three Gorges are north of the Wu Gorge of
Location: Wushan County, on the Daning and the Three Gorges Lake. The Lesser
Three Gorges are about 450 kilometers away from Chongqing. They are
in Wushan County that is the far northeastern tip of Chongqing
The Daning is a tributary of the Yangtze. In the past, merchandise
and passengers were ferried up and down the river in small boats.
The area was a coal mining area, and coal was one of the goods
Before the construction of the dam, people on the boats used long
poles to move and control their boats, pushing hard against the
river bottom and the cliffs. People would pull the boats with ropes
from the shore walking along ancient paths cut into the rocks. The
river gorges were known as a serene area without a lot of crowds.
There was an ancient city called Wushan on the northern bank of the
Yangtze near where the Daning and Yangtze merged. That is
destroyed, and a new town was built above the water level on the
- Gorges and forested area along the new Three Gorges Lake.
- Easy to see during a cruise.
- A natural preserve area.
- See monkeys and other animals.
- See the view from the boats.
- Shore excursions.
- Eating in the new Wushan Town that was built above the new lake.
To the east of the Lesser Three Gorges is the Three Gorges Dam. The
Daning River enters the Yangtze River in the big Wu Gorge that is
the middle of the Three Gorges of the Yangtze. These three gorges
are quite big compared to the Lesser Three Gorges and are probably
the main scenic highlight that can be seen on a cruise trip between
the Three Gorges Dam and Chongqing. The dam itself is interesting,
but not scenic. To the east of the Wu Gorge is the Xiling Gorge and
to the west is the Qutang Gorge. The Qutang, Wu, and Xiling Gorges
are the Three Gorges.
Traveling on the Yangtze to the east of the Lesser Three Gorges is
Shibaozhai Temple that looks like a pyramidal-shaped pagoda, and
further east is the Fengdu Ghost Temple. About 60 kilometers
directly south of Fengdu is the Wulong Karst area with good hiking
among spectacular natural karst scenery, natural bridges and big
caves and pits. The Wulong Karst area is a natural preserve area
with many endangered animals and plants. You can travel to Wulong
Karst overland or take a boat on the Wu River that is another
tributary of the Yangtze.