Top 10 China tours 2024/2025 for first visits and returns: embark on a lifetime experience. Learn more
 Qutang Gorge

Qutang Gorge

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Feb. 4, 2021
Yangtze River Gorge

Qutang Gorge is the spectacular first of the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River. It is the shortest, but loftiest of the Three Gorges, in comparison to the gracefulness of Wu Gorge and the treacherousness of Xiling Gorge. It is considered as the gateway of the Yangtze River.


Qutang Gorge is about 500 km (300 miles) northeast, down the Yangtze, from Chongqing City and about 200 km (130 miles) upriver from Yichang, in Central China. The gorge stretches 8 kilometers (5 miles) downstream from Baidicheng (White Emperor City), Fengjie County, Chongqing,


Kuimen (Kui Gate)

There are two bluffs, located at the western end of Qutang Gorge, rising up steeply to over 1300 meters (4300 feet) on either side of the Yangtze River. The Yangtze River is only 100 meters (328 feet) to 200 meters (656 feet) wide here and the narrowest point is only about 50 meters (164 feet) wide. The two bluffs by the Yangtze River are like a slightly open gate, which is hence called Kuimen, or Kui Gate (Fengjie County was called Kui in ancient time.).

Yangtze River Gorge

Kuimen is a major landmark of the Yangtze River. Therefore Qutang Gorge is also called Kui Gorge. If you travel downstream, it is “the gate to the Three Gorges”. Kui Gate is very steep as if cleaved by a huge and sharp ax, forming a nearly 90 degree angle. It is really breathtaking to witness.

The mighty Yangtze River becomes a small belt when passing Kuimen and winding through Qutang Gorge. After the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the water level at Kuimen Gate rose about 130 meters (430 feet). However, the peaks forming the gate are still about 1100 meters (3608 feet) above river level.

Rhinoceros Viewing the Moon

On the north bank of Qutang Gorge, there is a big stone on top of a mountain. It looks like a rhinoceros facing Kuimen to the west. When the moon is in the west at night, the stone is looks like a rhinoceros viewing the moon. It has become one of the famous sights of Qutang Gorge called Rhinoceros Viewing the Moon.

There are a lot of cultural and historical sites along Qutang Gorge, including Baidicheng (White Emperor City), which is known as "the Poet City", where many famous Chinese poets have lived; cliff inscriptions of the past dynasties and the former residence of famous Chinese poet, Dufu.

Tourist Activities

  • 1. Many Yangtze River Cruise routes include a shore excursion to White Emperor City.
  • 2. Photography. Qutang Gorge is the shortest of the Three Gorge, so your photo time will be very limited. You should take time to prepare in advance to avoid missing the highlights of Qutang Gorge, such as Kui Gate and Rhinoceros Viewing the Moon.

Travel Information

Nearby Attractions

Popular tours
Make the most of your time
Choose the best time to visit
Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

The China Highlights Experience

1-to-1 Expert Planning

1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made by your personal travel advisor — a destination expert. Every reply will be within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy your personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have unparalleled flexibility, which is impossible on a group tour.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Discover the hidden gems. Experience local culture by practicing it. Try new and exciting activities, and unveil the stories behind the sights and people.

Well-Selected Local Guides

Well-Selected Local Guides

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and attentive — your personal local guides will share interesting stories, insider information, and even create unexpected highlights!

China Highlights tailor-makes China tours to help travelers discover China their way. We're a passionate team of one hundred avid travelers who love to share our knowledge of China with those looking for a more authentic travel experience, more ...
China Highlights International Travel Service Co., LTD
Corporate Number: 914503003486045699
Featured on