Lijiang – Baoshan Stone City – Lugu Lake 5 days trek

Lugu lake Stone city trek

This 5 day trek sees few travellers and is an authentic and beautiful experience. The hike explores the unknown but stunning mountainous area in the remote north east of Yunnan. You’ll hike on small mountain paths and halfway you cross the Yangtse river. You stay in small farmer’s villages with local families like the Pumi, Mosuo and Naxi in their homes. Nature is impressive and ever changing and the people are genuinely friendly and welcoming.

You can start the trek in Baoshan Stone City, a small village perched on a giant rock in a deep valley. Traditionally, the stone was carved to form benches, beds and stoves inside the homes. Today the stones serve as steps and alleyways that connect the families. From here you trek for 5 days through magnificent rugged mountain landscapes where every bit of suitable land has been cultivated. Colours are changing from brown and yellow high up in the mountains to a fresh green down in the valleys. The traditional villages are surrounded by steep terraced fields. During the trek you pass occasional villages where all people live off the land. Local people also walk the mountain paths to get from one place to the other as there are hardly any motorroads. Somewhere in the afternoons you will arrive in the villages to stay the night. The houses are built in courtyard style and rooms are basic. There are no daily showers and toilets are sometimes outside. Electricity can be unstable. The next day you will be woken up by the roosters, have a healthy breakfast and get ready for another day of beautiful hiking.

At the last day you’ll catch a glimpse of your final destination: Lugu Lake. Its altitude at 2,685 m makes it Yunnan’s highest lake. The village close by is actually quite small but it feels big after so many days of hiking in the mountains. We’re back in ‘civilization’. The drive from Lugu lake to Lijiang takes you through a beautiful mountainous area called ‘the lesser cooler mountains’. It’s a sparsely inhabited area with small villages, home to mostly Yi and Mosuo peoples. On the way you’ll see Yi-people walking alongside the road. The women wear spectacular huge black hats and colourfully striped long skirts. With a bit of luck you will meet them in one of the markets on the road.

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The ride from Lijiang to Stone City takes you through a high mountainous area with spectacular views on the Haba and Jade Dragon Snow mountains. The trek can be done either way, starting in Stone City or Lugu lake.

  • day 1 public bus from Lijiang to Baoshan Stone City or Lugu lake
  • day 2-6 trekking for 5 days in the mountains
  • day 7 public bus back to Lijiang

The trek is moderate and anybody in good shape can do it, you’ll walk 5-6 hours a day. The average height is around 2500 m. If you have less time the trek can be shortened. The hike can be extended with the 2 day trek through the Tiger Leaping gorge.

Price: 2 people- 4050 Chinese RMB per person

Price in other currencies

Included: during the trek- 6 nights in basic accomodation and basic meals, English speaking guide, public busses from Lijiang to Stone city and Lugu lake to Lijiang
Excluded: entrance fees (Lugu lake 100 rmb p.p.), all other meals, horses to carry luggage, accomodation in Lijiang

Optional/ extra costs: horses to carry your luggage, private car from Lijiang to Stone city and Lugu lake to Lijiang

Tip: if you start and finish in Lijiang, only take the things you need during the trek and leave your other things in your hotel in Lijiang. You can either carry your own backpack or have it transported by horses (extra costs).

More time? Go to Dali and do an interesting daytrip to a non-touristy area visiting Yi people. On the way you can stop off in Shaxi, an authentic Bai village with beautifully preserved traditional houses. Or take a small boat across Xihu, a peaceful lake on the road to Dali.

Other (non-touristy) (day)trips:
Dali trip to Yi market
Dali – Lijiang – Shuhe car via Shaxi & Shibaoshan temple
dali: car around Erhai
Dali: car to Yi market
Lijiang bike trip
South China
China highlights
Yunnan trekkings
Family trips
Non touristy daytrips
Dali: Jim’s Tibetan hotel
City tours
Tibet tours

Stone city yellow tree

Stone city riceterraces

Lugu lake riding horseman