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Departure date: Saturday, January 31

Switchback Great Wall

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Travel right on past touristy Badaling on the way out to a difficult Great Wall hike in the mountains overlooking the Guanting Reservoir in Yanqing. The climbing is steep and tough and we’ll take 4–5 hours to complete the 8.5km walk. For much of the hike we’ll be quite high up, peaking at 1,200m near the midpoint where the wall curves in a sharp switchback.

We have a shorter version of this hike – on this trip we’ll do the tougher, longer route, and we’re going to do it backwards!

Trail conditions: snow or ice on the trail would make this hike rather unenjoyable. We’ll get an update from our local friends before the hike, and if it doesn’t look good we’ll switch to a different hike.

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Departure date: Saturday, January 31

White River Ice Hike

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Follow a trail down and over a frozen river in Miyun District, walking down a long canyon and passing below cliffs on the way to the end. We’ll cross the river about eight times, and when not slipping and sliding on the ice we’ll be admiring the excellent scenery.

Note: At this time of the year the river should be frozen thick, no problem to walk on. We’ll call our local contacts for an update in the week before the hike.

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Departure date: Sunday, February 1

War Tunnels and Yajishan Temple Loop

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On this hike we’ve joined two shorter trails to make a good long hill-walking trail that will show you both ancient and more recent history, and you’ll get a good workout along the way!

The more recent history comes first, with a visit to a restored tunnel warfare site, dug out in the late 1940’s. The ancient history comes at the end, with a look at the temples at Yajishan, some of which date back to the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD). In between: a good long walk through the hills with a few big climbs over ridges.

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Departure date: Sunday, February 1

Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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This hike is a shortened version of our Nine-Eyes Tower trail, made easier by skipping the tough climb up to the top. We’ll follow hill trails through leafy valleys to get to Jiankou’s ‘Big West Wall’, and then walk south along the wall towards the Chinese Knot. This hike will still be fairly tough if you’re not used to hiking, and there are some sections that are very steep and slippery.

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 4

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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Departure date: Saturday, February 7

Quarrymen’s Trail and the Sacred Way

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This is a long but not super-difficult hike in the Ming Tombs area in Changping District, with views of mountains, valleys, pine forests, rocky outcrops, and two of the closed Ming Tombs. We start with a long, gradual climb to to a ridge line saddle, descend into a long valley, walk for a short while up a quarry road, and then make another climb up through forest, reaching another saddle before walking out a valley that is flanked by two of the Yong Tomb and De Tomb. Approx. 4 hours of hiking over 14km with two good climbs up hill trails.

We’ll finish the day with a stroll up the Sacred Way, the official entrance to the tombs in times gone by.

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Departure date: Saturday, February 7

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall, Hot Springs

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Hike the Huanghuacheng Great Wall in Beijing’s Huairou District, starting off on an unrestored stretch and following it over the hills to a restored section and then up, over, and down a mountain to finish at a countryside restaurant near a scenic reservoir. Not recommended for those who are not good with heights; some steep sections both up and down.

Regular hikers: this is the longer version that we do of this hike.

Our drive back to the city takes us past a hot springs resort attached to a 5-star hotel hidden in Shunyi, where we’ll stop for a soak before returning home – the cost of the hot springs is included in the price of the hike.

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Departure date: Sunday, February 8

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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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.

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Departure date: Sunday, February 8

Longyunshan ‘Dragon Cloud’ Mountain

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UPDATE 2015/1/23: Changed the departure time to 9:00am from Lido; 8:30am from the subway. Enjoy the extra half-hour in bed!

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, and we’ll cross the frozen ice if it’s still solid enough! 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.

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A hiker using binoculars to get a closer look at a stretch of Great Wall
Departure date: Wednesday, February 11

Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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This hike is a shortened version of our Nine-Eyes Tower trail, made easier by skipping the tough climb up to the top. We’ll follow hill trails through leafy valleys to get to Jiankou’s ‘Big West Wall’, and then walk south along the wall towards the Chinese Knot. There are some sections that are very steep and slippery, but the views of mountains and Great Wall are definitely worth it.

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Departure date: Saturday, February 14

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall

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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 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 second-longest version of this route, where we walk all of the Great Wall at Gubeikou and just the first part of Jinshanling. Extremely fit regular hikers: we’ll give you the option to extend the hike!

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Departure date: Saturday, February 14

White River Ice Hike

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Follow a trail down and over a frozen river in Miyun District, walking down a long canyon and passing below cliffs on the way to the end. We’ll cross the river about eight times, and when not slipping and sliding on the ice we’ll be admiring the excellent scenery.

Note: At this time of the year the river should be frozen thick, no problem to walk on. We’ll call our local contacts for an update in the week before the hike.

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, February 15

Spring Valley Super Loop (shorter)

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Stretch the legs with a good hill-walking hike, crossing 13km of hills and valleys, with more than 1,000m of ascent and descent over the full trail. Along the way we’ll walk by fields, terraces, abandoned settlements, and we’ll spot a short stretch of very old Great Wall.

We’ve reworked this hike to make it a little shorter, and the plan is to go at a steady pace and spend a little extra time out in the hills. And we’re trying to be nice to our local guide, who can’t walk as fast as he used to!

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A stretch of Great Wall descends from a tower
Departure date: Sunday, February 15

Moyashike Valley and the Great Wall Spur

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The Great Wall Spur hike has us visiting a very nice stretch of unrestored Great Wall, but it’s quite a tough climb up a big hill before we set foot on top.

On this version of the hike, getting up on to the wall is a little easier, and we spread out the climb to the high point over a longer distance. We also walk a short stretch of wall that we pretty much only visit as part of our steep and difficult Chinese Knot hike.

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Towers on the ridgeline on the wild Great Wall on the way to the Little West Lake
Departure date: Wednesday, February 18

Great Wall: Walled Village to the Little West Lake

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Chinese New Year’s Eve! 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.

Tomorrow is the start of Chinese New Year, so we chosen a hike that’s not super long, meaning that you can get back to Beijing in time for dinner with friends and family, as well as the fireworks!

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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, January 31
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Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, January 31
Standby

White River Ice Hike

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Departure date: Sunday, February 1
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War Tunnels and Yajishan Temple Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, February 1
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Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 4
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, February 7
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Quarrymen’s Trail and the Sacred Way

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Departure date: Saturday, February 7
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall, Hot Springs

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Departure date: Sunday, February 8
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, February 8
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Longyunshan ‘Dragon Cloud’ Mountain

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 11
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Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, February 14
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, February 14
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White River Ice Hike

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Departure date: Sunday, February 15
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Spring Valley Super Loop (shorter)

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Departure date: Sunday, February 15
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Moyashike Valley and the Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 18
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Great Wall: Walled Village to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Friday, February 20
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: February 21–22 (Sat–Sun)
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CNY Overnight: Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron

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Departure date: Saturday, February 21
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, February 21
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Longqingxia Ice Festival and Tang Dynasty Caves

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Departure date: Sunday, February 22
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, February 22
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall and Hot Springs

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Departure date: February 22–23 (Sunday–Monday)
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CNY Overnight: Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron (#2)

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Departure date: Tuesday, February 24
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, February 26
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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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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