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Home > Hike in Beijing

Departure date: Saturday, February 28

Great Wall: The Pinnacle Tower

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This stretch of the Great Wall sits atop the “Big East Mountain” in Huairou, and it’s a hike we don’t do frequently. The view from the top of the Pinnacle Tower is stunning and well worth the tough climb. We’ll make two big hill climbs on the way to the top, where we’ll stop to enjoy the views before heading down to one of the local villages for light snacks and drinks.

NOTES: Balancing skills and a good head for heights will be required. Snow or ice would make this hike dangerous, in which case we’d change to a different Great Wall trail.

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Departure date: Saturday, February 28

Yajishan Temple Circuit

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On this trip we’re going to add a little extra hiking to our usual inspection of the temples at Yajishan, starting with the short-but-steep stair climb to the top of Yaji Mountain. On the way up to the top, we’ll catch our breath by stopping to look about the various temples and shrines either side of the stairs. After a look about the temple right at the top, we’ll take a walk through the hills behind the temples to complete the circuit.

Old favourite! We had to stop doing this version of the hike while a big hotel was under construction behind the mountain.

Note: in some of the photos you’ll see shots from the temple fair. The fair is only once a year … and it’s not happening until later in spring.

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Departure date: Sunday, March 1

Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop Hike

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On this hike we’ll head out to the border of Beijing Municipality and Hebei Province for a moderately difficult walk through peach orchards, up valleys, and along the Great Wall. We’ll have views of the distinctive peaks of nearby ‘Brush-rest’ Mountain as we walk, and we think this remote area is a great spot for a walk.

Today will be a working day for many, which means that once we get out of the city the roads will be clear and fast.

Weather warning: Snow or ice on the mountain roads would mean we couldn’t safely get to the hiking trail, in which case we’d switch to a different Great Wall hike. We’d make the decision about that based on the weather conditions of the week before the hike.

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Towers of the Gubeikou Great Wall
Departure date: Sunday, March 1

Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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To begin the hike, we’ll walk in to Hemp Village, a tiny settlement hidden at the end of a long valley. From Hemp Village, we’ll climb into the hills, first following a trail through fields with views of the Great Wall to the side and front, and then getting on to the Great Wall at Gubeikou to walk a 6km stretch of pretty, unrestored wall.

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Departure date: March 4–5 (Weds-Thurs)

Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron

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Lantern Festival March 5 is the last day of the Chinese New Year, and there are extra-special activities to see in the streets of old Yuxian Town.

Almost four hours’ drive northwest of Beijing city is Yu County, home to ancient pagodas, temples, pavilions, and large gates and plaques inside fortified walled towns that preserve traces of the Zhou, Liao, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties.

On this two-day trip to the area you’ll walk the streets of well-preserved Yuxian Ancient City, visiting the pavilions and pagodas, as well as visiting Jimingyi, the remnants of a Ming Dynasty postal relay center. And, on the first evening, we’ll take in a performance that includes Da Shu Hua, a 300-year old local tradition that translates as ‘Beating Trees into Flowers’ and results in molten iron being flung against the city walls in lieu of a fireworks display!

On the second day of the trip we’ll spend a little extra time watching a street parade before picking up on our regular itinerary.

Note: we’ll be outside quite a bit, and the weather is sure to be freezing – bring all the warm clothes you’ve got, and then bring a few extra layers just in case!

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 4

Immortal Valley Loop

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This loop walk follows a park trail, passing frozen streams, pools, waterfalls, and big boulders and caves on the way to an almost-800-metre peak. From the peak we’ll get a good view of the surrounding hills and valleys, and should be able to spot the Miyun Reservoir. On the way back down we’ll follow a scenic ridgeline trail through pines and impressive rocky outcrops. The full loop is around 14km, and will take 4–5 hours to complete.

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Departure date: Thursday, March 5

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Take a stroll through valleys and past villages on the way to a seldom-visited stretch of Great Wall nestled in the hills north of the Ming Tombs. We’ll follow the wall up and along a ridge, detouring through orchards to get around a cliff face before rejoining the wall and following it on to make a circuit of the frozen Little West Lake. When we’re done walking we’ll head to a nearby restaurant for a late lunch of Chinese food.

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Departure date: Saturday, March 7

Quarrymen’s Trail to the Heavenly Lake

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First Level 5 hike of 2015! This is a good long hike in the Ming Tombs area in Changping District and we’re going to make it extra tough by tacking on the big climb up to the local Heavenly Lake, a reservoir built on top of a big hill. Your legs may not thank you the next day, but your effort will have been rewarded with with views of mountains, valleys, pine forests, rocky outcrops, and a picnic by the strangely-sited reservoir.

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Towers on the ridgeline on the wild Great Wall at Huanghuacheng
Departure date: Saturday, March 7

Great Wall: Walled Village to the Little West Lake

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After a quick look at the thick walls of what was once a Ming Dynasty-era barracks, we’ll take an easy stroll through chestnut orchards on the way to a stretch of the nearby Huanghuacheng Great Wall.

We’ll stop for a rest there and will have time to climb a few towers of a restored section before reversing direction and following a line of unrestored ‘wild’ Great Wall up and along a big ridge, finishing up with a stunning bird’s-eye view of the Little West Lake.

Regular hikers: our trails in this area overlap quite a bit, and if you’ve done any of our Zhuangdaokou or Huanghuacheng hikes you may already have walked a lot of this trail.

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Departure date: Sunday, March 8

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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For this moderately challenging hike we’ll travel into the far northeast of Beijing Municipality. We’ll walk along a stretch of the Gubeikou Great Wall and end up at the Jinshanling Great Wall park after a long detour through the farmland surrounding Hemp Village. After a late lunch at our favourite family restaurant at Jinshanling we’ll head back to Beijing. The cost of food, drinks, round-trip transportation, and park tickets is included in the price.

Regular hikers: this is the version where we walk the last section of the Great Wall at Gubeikou and all of the Jinshanling Great Wall.

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Departure date: Sunday, March 8

Tang Dynasty Cave Dwellings and Yongning Town

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For this very easy stroll we will travel to Yanqing County to visit the valley where we’ll find an ancient inter-connected series of cave dwellings. This trip is suitable for children (no pushchairs, though) – it’s very easy, and the sight of the cave dwellings is sure to spark the imagination.

It’s a fairly long drive for not too much walking about, but it’s certainly an interesting place to visit. We’ll add on a visit to Yongning Town on the way back, and will take a look at a large tower mid-town as well as a beautiful Catholic church in an interesting location. The cost includes lunch at a restaurant out in the country.

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 11

Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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This stretch of Great Wall in Yanqing County is extremely picturesque, and seldom visited, but its steepness can prove difficult for casual hikers. On this visit we’ll do the ‘middle route,’ cutting out the toughest parts to make it a little easier. There are still some steep climbs to do, but overall this hike isn’t long enough to rate as difficult – we’ll take our time climbing up and down and make sure that we have a relaxed and enjoyable visit.

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Departure date: Thursday, March 12

The Round Tower

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This short-but-steep hike leads up to a round tower high in the hills above the Miyun Reservoir. From the top we will enjoy amazing views in almost every direction: a deep canyon on one side, mountains on the other, and a broad view of the Miyun reservoir and our path up and down the mountain. Note: this is quite a short hike, but it’s steep, and for most of the hike we’re either climbing up or down.

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Departure date: Saturday, March 14

Hillwalking Challenge: Flower Wood to West Water Valley

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For this countryside expedition we’re joining two nice hillwalking hikes to make an 20km trail—good and long, with not too much climbing. We start with the Flower Wood hike – a good long ramble through the countryside – and then hop over on to a little bit of the Silver Pagoda hike trail before taking the fork that leads over to West Water Valley. An excellent opportunity to stretch the legs!

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Departure date: Saturday, March 14

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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This is a tough and challenging hike, suitable for fit hikers with a good head for heights. We’ll start off at Jiankou, following a zigzag hillside trail that rises quickly to a Great Wall tower that is almost 1,000 metres above sea level. From the tower we can see the Jiankou basin, as well as many other stretches of Great Wall in the area. From there we’ll head southeast, following the wall towards Mutianyu. The hike crosses unrestored and restored sections of wall, which makes it a good way to see the Great Wall as it is now, and how it might have looked when first built.

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Hikes in Beijing

We publish our hike schedule month by month, with updates around the 10th of each month. If you're interested in hikes and trips during a month that's not yet listed, email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and we'll let you know when the schedule is online.


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All upcoming hikes in Beijing

Departure date: Saturday, February 28
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Great Wall: The Pinnacle Tower

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Departure date: Saturday, February 28
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Yajishan Temple Circuit

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Departure date: Sunday, March 1
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop Hike

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Departure date: Sunday, March 1
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: March 4–5 (Weds-Thurs)
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Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 4
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Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, March 5
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, March 7
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Quarrymen’s Trail to the Heavenly Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, March 7
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Great Wall: Walled Village to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, March 8
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Sunday, March 8
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Tang Dynasty Cave Dwellings and Yongning Town

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 11
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, March 12
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The Round Tower

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Departure date: Saturday, March 14
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Hillwalking Challenge: Flower Wood to West Water Valley

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Departure date: Saturday, March 14
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 15
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Longquanyu Loop and Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 15
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Tomb Raiders and the Sacred Way

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 18
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Cypress Wells Canyon and Yongning Town

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Departure date: Thursday, March 19
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 21
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Chinese Knot Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 21
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Zhuangdaokou to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Sunday, March 22
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Walk Down the Pilgrims’ Trail

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Departure date: Sunday, March 22
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 25
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Silver Pagoda Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, March 26
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 28
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Yanqing Great Wall and Long Valley City

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Departure date: Saturday, March 28
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Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 29
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Long Dark Valley hike

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Departure date: Sunday, March 29
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Great Wall Spur

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