A day hike into Haba Muru Sanctuary (哈巴雪山庇护所) lies beyond the reach of most trekkers, because of the distance and the elevation gain. However, a day hike to Miner’s Pass (矿工垭口) offers a glimpse. The route coincides with a portion of the Haba-Bendiwan Route (哈巴-本地湾路线). In fact, the view of Haba Snow Mountain’s rugged East Face is nearly as fine as that from the Haba-Bendiwan high point. I call it Miner’s Pass for convenience because I am unaware of a local name. It is possible to ride a horse up the trail, but coming down you must dismount and walk because of the vertical grade. Be sure to carry water from town for this hike. Mine tailings contaminate streams in the area. Hiring a guide is strongly recommended.
Miner’s Pass Route (矿工垭口路线)
Miner’s Pass Route (矿工垭口路线)
|Region: Tiger Leaping Gorge|
|Itinerary: Mining Area—Yak Meadow—Miner’s Pass|
|Duration: 4½ hours round-trip|
|Distance: 8 km round-trip|
|Altitude in Meters: Start 3,000. Max 3,870. Destination 3,870|
|Elevation Gain: 870 meters|
Mining Road Access
A mining road begins two kilometers southwest of Halfway Guest House (中途客栈) in Bendiwan Village (本地湾村). Look for a sign indicating On the Clouds Manor Guest House (云上庄园客栈). Miner’s Pass is not visible from the village, but you can pick it out from where the mining road starts or in that general vicinity. Look for a tell-tale sign, the white water-pipe that stretches over the pass.
By hiring a car and driver/guide from Halfway Guest House to take you up the mining road, you can reduce the total elevation gain of this hike. The round-trip drive time is 1 hour. The road begins as 10 kilometers of narrow, twisty pavement, then continues for 5 kilometers along a very rough and rocky track. It ends at a cluster of mining buildings at around 3,000 meters elevation. Here the hike begins.
The route crosses a stream, ascends through forest, and passes through a portion of the abandoned mining area. The entire tungsten mine (钨矿) was reportedly shut down for good in 2019 after fifty years in operation. Streams in the area bear milky white coloration from mine tailings. Not suitable for drinking.
Above the mining area, the path makes a gradual traverse to Yak Meadow, elevation about 3,600 meters, named for the hairy bovine that congregate nearby. From the meadow there is a clear view of the final steep ascent to the pass.
Beyond Miner’s Pass, the trail descends north to another mining district before ascending to Pass 3770, which marks the entrance of Haba Muru Sanctuary. The hiking distance between the passes is 2 kilometers. Unlike Miner’s Pass with its unlimited views, Pass 3770 is heavily wooded and finding a good viewpoint may prove challenging. A day hike to the pass would be long indeed—round trip distance 12 km, elevation gain 1,200 meters, and duration 8½ hours including drive time to the trailhead, but excluding rest breaks.