The 38-km-long (23.6-mile-long) eastern half of Xiling Xia Gorge will remain unflooded. The first 24.1 km (15 mile) section of this gorge includes, in the following order, the three lesser gorges of Yellow Cat Gorge (Huang Mao Xia), Lamp Shadow Gorge (Deng Ying Xia), and Yellow Ox Gorge (Huang Niu Xia).

At 26.2 km (16.3 miles) is the beginning of Lamp Shadow Gorge (Deng Ying Xia), which ends at the village of Nan Tao (Nan Tuo) on the north bank. Here you can see, on the south bank, an ancient road chiseled into the cliff face. Other sights in this section include Bright Moon Bay (Ming Yue Gang), sometimes known as Bright Moon Gorge (Ming Yue Xia), a 32-m-high (105-ft-high) Stone Tablet (Shi Bei) surrounded by waterfalls and caves, and the Long Jin River Valley where you can experience the Tu Jia ethnic minority culture.

After passing through this first 24.1-km (15-mile) section of Three Gorges, you enter the 54-km-long (33.6-mile-long) Miao Nan Gu broad valley. Watch to your left to see the Yellow Ox Temple (Huang Ling Miao) on the south bank. This temple is also best reached by road from Yichang city. Looming over the temple from behind it is Yellow Ox Mountain (Huang Niu Shan) rising 1,048 m (3,438.3 ft) above the river.