Qutang Gorge runs eight kilometers from Baidi city in Fengjie County in the west to Daxizhen in Wushan County, Chongqng City. The shortest among the Three Gorges, it is the most spectacular. As soon as the roaring Yangtze River rushes into the gorge, it meets head-on with the imposing Kuimen Gate. Rocky mountains rise perpendicularly like walls on both sides of the river squeezing the broad river into a narrow ribbon threading its way in the gorge. Here the width of the river is reduced to 100-200 meters and the narrowest places are no more than a few dozen meters while the principal peaks on the banks are as high as 1,000-1,500 meters. The turbulent waters flowing in the deep gorge along a continuous line of peaks make a most magnificent picture.
When the river flows out of Qutang Gorge and passes the broad valley of the Daning River, it enters the scenic Wuxia Gorge. Wuxia Gorge is 45 kilometers long, extending west to east from the mouth of the Danning River in Wushan County to Guandukou in Badong County, Hubei Province.Noted for its deep and serene scenes, Wuxia Gorge is full of zigzag, weird peaks, rising mists and beautiful sights. The famous Twelve Peaks on both banks of the river, in particular, are the most spectacular. These strange-looking peaks are like a fairy maid dancing.
The longest among the Yangtze's Gorges, Xiling Gorge stretches west to east for 76 kilometers from the mouth of the Xiangxi River at Zigui in Hubei Province to Nanjing Pass near the city of Yichang in Hubei. It is divided into two sections -- the west section consists of the Military Book and Sword Gorge, the Bull's Liver and Horse's Lung Gorge and Kongling Play Gorge, while the east section features the Shadow Play Gorge and the Yellow Cat Gorge, otherwise known as Yichang Gorge. Xiling Gorge is known for dangerous rapids and numerous shoals, the latter including the Qingtan, Kongling and Xietan shoals. These shoals were formed out of fallen and rock from banks, boulders and sands washed down from the upper reaches, veins protruding from the riverbanks, or reefs jutting out of the riverbed. At some points there are treacherous whirlpools and the waters are extraordinarily turbulent.