Of all the side trips available when cruising the Three Gorges, a trip through the Three Little Gorges along the Daning River (the largest tributary of the Yangtze) offers the most impressive scenery. From the entrance of the Wu Gorge, the river winds 31 miles (50 kilometers) through Wushan County passing through the Dragon Gate, Misty and Emerald Gorges along the way.
These three gorges, called the Three Little Gorges, may not be as tall or as long as the Yangtze’s Three Gorges, but they offer a scenic experience all their own. Passing through the Dragon Gate Gorge, the first of the three, you’ll see the remnants of an ancient plank road that once extended 249 miles (400.7 kilometers) along the length of the Daning River. In a crevice along the sheer cliffs of the Misty Gorge hangs a black wooden coffin suspended over the river by members of the ancient Bo minority group. The Emerald Gorge, the longest of the three at 12 miles (19.3 kilometers), is named for the gently sloping verdant mountains to each side where it’s not unusual to spot Rhesus monkeys calling to each other through the canopies.