Daning River is a large Yangtze River tributary joining the Yangtze at the Wu Gorge's western end. Lesser Three Gorges stretch north-south approx 25 km (16 ml) in the lower Daning River. They are among the Yangtze River cruises' highlights (cruising upstream from Yangtze). Their names are Longmen Gorge, Bawu Gorge and Dicui Gorge. Cruise ship passengers are usually transfered to a smaller ship at the Daning River's mouth. Among the Lesser Three Gorges route's highlights are the mountinous scenery and historical sites, including Hanging Coffins and the plank road along the cliffs.
- Daning River entrance is at Wushan Town, at approx 500 km (300 ml) northeastfrom Chongqing and approx 200 km (130 ml) upriver from Yichang.
- The Longmen Gorge is the shortest (length 3 mk / 1,8 ml). Here can be seen the plank road along its cliffs.
- Bawu Gorge (length 10 km / 6,2 ml) is famous for its mountainous scenery and the Hanging Coffins (2000+ years-old). Hanging coffins were a local funeral customof the Bo people. The Hanging Coffins were made with one whole wood piece and sit on rocks in the mountains.
- Dicui Gorge is the longest (length 20 km / 12 ml) and with flourishing vegetation all around. Small-sized tourist ships are used for peaceful scenic sightseeing.
- At the end of Dicui Gorge, Yangtze cruise passengers enter Madu River (branch of Daning River) with another set of 3 (smaller) gorges called "Mini Three Gorges". They are named Sancheng Gorge, Qinwang Gorge and Changtan Gorge. These gorges are too narrow for a tourist ship, so passengers are embarked on small wooden boats to travel through them.