Qutang Gorge, the shortest and most spectacular of China’s Three Gorges, winds five miles from Baidi City in Fengjie County to Daxi Town in Wushan County. It is also the narrowest of the Three Gorges, with its widest point measuring only 500 feet wide. The mountains on either side of Qutang Gorge reach as high as 4,000 feet, and numerous scenic attractions can be found on the two banks.
Southwest of the Qutang Gorge is the Kui Gate, also called the Qutang Pass. Two peaks, Mt. Baiyan in the south and Mt. Chijia in the north soar above the horizon. The point where the river passes between these mountains is called the Kui Gate. Kui Gate is the entrance to Qutang Gorge - the first one of the Three Gorges, followed by Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge. The cliffs on both banks are perpendicular as if they have been hewn with an axe, so the Yangtze River looks like a narrow belt winding its way through the deep canyons, presenting a marvelous natural scene.
Baidi City (White Emperor City)
Also called "White Emperor City," Baidi City is a place full of poetic sense, which is located on forest-covered hills near the Kui Gate. The City was said to be built by Gongsun Shu, an official soldier during the end of the Western Han Dynasty. Surrounded by the river on three sides and backed by a mountain, the ancient city is actually a mini city scattered with temples and gates. Climbing over 500 steps, you will reach the top and have a wonderful view of the entrance of Three Gorges.
The Chalk Wall is a stretch of white cliff on the northern side of Kui Gate. Since the Song Dynasty, it has become a place where the famous calligraphers of China leaving their works on. There are about a thousand characters carved into the Chalk Wall, and the largest of which measures approximately 1.7 meters in width.
Ancient Plank Roads
Cruising through the Qutang Gorge, visitors will notice some narrow meandering paths hung on the cliffs about 33 feet above the river. They are the ancient plank roads - the typical ancient Chinese mountainous roads that are mostly seen on the borders of Shaanxi, Sichuan, Chongqing and Hubei Provinces.