On this hike we’ll head out to a beautiful section of the Great Wall that is further outside the city than the crowded main tourist sites, and much quieter. You’ll have a chance to hike along an unrestored section of the Great Wall that grants magnificent views of the Great Wall stretching beyond the horizon in the east and west. As we follow the wall, we’ll pass through restored and unrestored sections, as well as taking a nice detour through pines on a hillside trail.
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. We rate this a Level 4, but if it’s a hot day it will feel much tougher.
Stretch your legs on this nice hill walking hike, starting off through orchards and fields on a long gradual climb to a ridgeline lookout, then descending a zig-zagging dirt trail to walk through a few valley villages before climbing up to a pretty stretch of Great Wall and heading down through more farmland to the Walled Village. Points of interest include a wartime tunnel system, the 300-year old “Dragon and Phoenix” pines, a look at a stretch of Great Wall, as well as the Walled Village, converted from an army barracks that used to house soldiers tasked with guarding the Great Wall in the Ming Dynasty.
Note: We rate this hike a Level 3+, but if it is a hot day it will feel a lot tougher.
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 Little West Lake. When we’re done walking we’ll head to a nearby restaurant for a late lunch of Chinese food, and will have the option to take a quick look at a different section of Great Wall before heading back to the city.
On this nice and easy hike we take a different trail than usual to get to the Silver Pagodas, walking from Longevity Village up a long, mostly flat, valley and stopping for a look at a few countryside landmarks before taking our shortcut into the pagodas – no need for any of the steep climbing we usually do getting to the pagodas!
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 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.
Take a long-distance sightseeing trip to the Eastern Qing Tombs, a hard-to-find but very scenic spot east of Beijing. In contrast to the Ming Tombs in Changping, the Eastern Qing Tombs are concentrated in a relatively small area, which means the highlights are all within easy walking distance. The tombs include those of historical figures such as Shun Zhi (first emperor of the Qing Dynasty), Empress Dowager Cixi, and Qian Long (the seventh and longest-reigning emperor of the Qing Dynasty). Price includes transport, guide, information and translation of park expert, through tickets for the tombs, and a tasty meal of Chinese food after we’ve finished looking around. Please note, no hiking involved!
This trip is so far out of Beijing it almost qualifies as one of our special long-distance trips, and we’ve organised plenty of interesting activities to make the travel worthwhile.
The Western Qing Tombs necropolis is one of the two main burial sites for the emperors of the Qing Dynasty. Located in the foothills of Yongning Mountain, more than 130km southwest of Beijing, the area is rustic yet beautiful. On the first day, we’ll be visiting the tombs of important historical figures like Emperor Yongzheng and Emperor Daoguang, as well as hiking up Wolong Mountain, which affords a view of the entire tomb complex. On the second day we’ll take a boat tour to enjoy the scenery of Yishui Lake, visiting one of the filming locations for John Woo’s blockbuster movie, “Red Cliff” before doing some hiking around the lake. (Minimum group size of 10 required.)
On this version of our Longevity Village to the Ming Tombs hike we will avoid a recently re-opened mine and quarry site by looping to the west instead of going around the east side. We will still get some good hill walking done, climbing up and over a ridge, descending into a deep valley, and then making another climb to a high lookout on the way to the end. We’ll cover 10-11km, with about 520m of total ascent and 740m of total descent, passing through a small village and peaceful, green valleys on the way. Warning: sections of the trail are quite brushy.
On this hike we will visit a remote stretch of the Great Wall that was ‘completed’ around 1580 AD, during the reign of Emperor Wan Li. After a good long (some say tough) climb up a hillside trail we’ll follow the Great Wall along a ridge, enjoying great views the whole way. There is plenty of Great Wall in this area, and on a clear day it is extremely picturesque. Price includes lunch after the hike.
Note: While rated a 3+, this hike is sort of a tough 3+ because of the long climb at the beginning, and it will feel a lot tougher if it’s a hot day.
This hike starts off behind a small village where we’ll take a look at the 300-year old ‘Phoenix and Dragon’ pine trees before hiking up to the Zhuangdaokou Great Wall. From the wall, we have the option to make things a little more difficult by taking a climb up to some of the towers. We’ll end up at the Walled Village, a settlement that has grown up inside and around an old army barracks that used to house soldiers tasked with guarding the Great Wall. 2–3 hours of relaxed walking, price includes lunch at a restaurant at the foot of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall. Hikers with extra energy have the option to finish lunch early and take a short climb up.
The Great Wall at Jinshanling is the type often seen on postcards: large, intact towers, and impressive stretches of wall that climb steep ridgelines. Parts of the Jinshanling Great Wall have been reconstructed and see quite a few visitors, but with a bit of hiking it’s possible to explore sections that are unrestored and not quite so commonly visited by tour groups.
On this hike, we’ll walk all of the eastern section of Jinshanling; hike a few towers of Simatai and maybe get a little look at what they’re doing over there (still not open!); and follow a paved park trail through the hills to finish.
There’s no guarantee of meeting a tiger on this hike—most likely a good thing. We start off at the Tiger Valley park in Changping, and then follow a mountain trail up and over a ridge. From the ridge, we follow a good trail down a shady valley, and will walk out to finish at one of the smaller Ming Tombs, stopping for a visit. Note: This hike has one tricky climb over rocks. If you’re good with heights, no problem!
On this relatively relaxed hike we’ll take a stroll about scenic Longyunshan, walking along a trail that leads up the steep hills beside the river canyon aiming for the local ‘Heavenly Lake.’ The area is surrounded by mountains, and contains the largest river canyon in Beijing – as we climb into the hills we will get great views of both. We’ll finish the hike with a stroll up the river. This hike is suitable for families with teenagers, with 3 hours of hiking over approximately 6km. We’ll get a big meal of country-style Chinese food after the hike, included in the price.
Enjoy 4–5 hours of tough hiking and a visit to one of Beijing’s highest Great Wall towers on this challenging hike in Yanqing District. Starting from a small Ming Dynasty-era village, we’ll follow a paved path up to the Beijing-Hebei border before starting the ascent to a tower situated 1,440m above sea level, crossing a wide plateau on the way. After a lunch break at the tower, we’ll head downhill, passing fragments of Great Wall on the way to the valley trail that will take us to the end.
Note: We’re rating this a 4+ because it’s a tough hike in hot weather.