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How difficult are the hikes?

In Brief: Read a rundown of our rating system to find out which hikes are most suitable for you.

We rate our hikes from Level 1 to Level 5, with Level 5 hikes being the toughest and Level 1 hikes being the easiest. And we've tried to base the system on an average person, so if you've got an average level of fitness, a Level 3 hike should be just right.

But! The differences between the levels are very indistinct, and the hikes themselves can be more or less difficult depending on the weather. For example, if it's summer, many of the hikes are much more difficult because of the heat and humidity. Other hikes are steep but short, and therefore not rated as tough overall—but the climbing might feel like extremely hard work.

How to tell where you fit on our scale? Read the descriptions below for a rough idea, contact us if you'd like further advice, and, if you're still not sure, try an easy hike first.

Level 1

Level 1 hikes are very easy, with not much climbing—more like a stroll than a hike. We don’t do many of this type—they’re too easy!

Level 2

Level 2 hikes are not too tough: maybe a bit hilly, but no very long climbs. This type of hike will usually be suitable for children – but please check with us if you're not sure. A Level 2+ hike is a bit more difficult than a regular level 2 hike, but less difficult than a level 3: maybe a bit hilly, and perhaps with a bit of hill climbing. Level 2 hikes are usually 5–8km long.

Level 3

Level 3 hikes are the type we do most often. Level 3 hikes will take around 3 hours, and can be either reasonably easy, or challenging, depending on how often you exercise. Level 3+ is a ‘tougher’ moderate hike. There may be long climbs up hills, and there may be steep sections.

Level 4

Level 4 hikes will usually take 4 hours to complete, and will be difficult for people who are not used to hiking or are out of shape. Some level 4+ hikes are shorter, but very steep.

Level 5

Level 5 hikes are physically challenging, and suitable for experienced hikers in good shape. Level 5+ hikes are the most difficult hikes we do: long, with tough ascents and descents. They are physically challenging, and suitable for experienced hikers in good shape.


We emphasise that the ratings we assign to hikes can only be approximate, and that weather conditions can make any hike a lot tougher than expected. As well as that, it's not possible for us to objectively know how fit you are, which makes it tough to give a conclusive recommendation on the suitability of a hike for you.

If you have any health conditions, or reason to think you may have a pre-existing condition, seek professional advice from a doctor before undertaking any physical activity.

Getting more information

In this section of the website you’ll find answers to commonly asked questions about hiking with us.

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Hikes and trips

Hike in Beijing: Join-in hikes and trips to the Great Wall, hills, mountains, forests, and village around Beijing, every week. We have a range of difficulty levels, with hikes that are suitable for casual walkers as well as the super-fit. View the full schedule of hikes in Beijing »

Trips around China: Multi-day trips around China — visits to famous scenic areas, as well as those obscure and less well-known. View the full schedule of our trips around China »