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Tough treks and hikes in Beijing

Looking for a challenging hike? Here's what we have coming up!

If you'd like to see all the other hikes and trips we have scheduled, click here for the list of all our upcoming hikes and trips in Beijing.

Departure date: Saturday, July 29

The Great Flood

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We almost named this hike “The Goat’s Trail” after the many herds of goats we saw while scouting the route. Along the way we will pick a path up a bouldery canyon, follow rivers, climb a steep valley, walk through grassy meadows, and see a village that was abandoned after a particularly large flood and is now being resettled. Bring something to eat for lunch – we’ll supply water and snacks.

If there’s any water in the pools on the second half of the hike we might be able to stop and have a little paddle. Bring your swimsuit, just in case!

Early departure! We’re leaving extra early so we can do the big climb before it gets too hot.

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Departure date: Saturday, August 5

Zhuangdaokou to Moss Mountain

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This hike is a combination of two shorter trails: the Zhuangdaokou and Walled Village hike, and the Moss Mountain hike.

We first climb up a valley to get to the Zhuangdaokou Great Wall, and after a short look we head on through the fields towards the Walled Village. Then we’re on to farm roads and hill trails on the way towards Moss Mountain.

This could almost be rated a Level 3+ hike but there is a deceptive amount of uphill.

Brushy trail! Part of the middle section could turn into a bit of a jungle adventure. Most of the trail is nice and clear.

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Departure date: Saturday, August 5

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.

Note: a bit of recent restoration work at the western end at Mutianyu means we’ll have to make a quick hop over the battlements to get on to the wall – much like the Mongolians did!

Weather note: if rain or thunder is forecast we might not be able to hike. We have another Great Wall hike the next day, just in case.

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Departure date: Saturday, August 12

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 walking out to the road to meet our bus.

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

Weather note: if rain or thunder is forecast we might not be able to hike. We have another Great Wall hike the next day, just in case.

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Departure date: Sunday, August 13

Immortal Valley Loop

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This loop walk follows a park trail, passing streams, pools, waterfalls, 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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Hiking up the Vulture Rock Ridge trail
Departure date: Saturday, August 19

Miaofengshan Super Loop

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Get good exercise with great views on this loop hike in the mountains west of Beijing, following hill trails up to a broad plateau before walking along high-up Vulture Rock Ridge and then on to the peak of Miaofengshan.

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Departure date: Saturday, August 26

Big Camp Plate Great Wall

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This stretch of Great Wall sits on the boundary of Yanqing District and Hebei province, west of the Badaling section of the Great Wall, and to the south of the Guanting Reservoir. The hike follows the Great Wall in a loop around an isolated village called ‘Big Plate.’ It’s a tough walk, and if you are not scared of heights, clambering up and down slippery and narrow paths, and walking over loose rocks, then this will be a great hike for you! The scenery is well worth the trip, but only if you’ve got strong legs and a good head for heights.

Weather note: if rain or thunder is forecast we might not be able to hike. We have more hikes the next day, just in case.

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Departure date: Wednesday, August 30

Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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This is a looping walk over steep and rocky terrain, with a lot of scrambling and climbing required to arrive at the highest point on the hike, the impressive Nine-Eyes Tower. On a clear day in this spot in the heart of the mountains it will be possible to see sections of Great Wall to the north, south, east, and west. Four hours of tough hiking with a lot of climbing, over approximately 10km.

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A Great Wall tower on a bluff
Departure date: Saturday, September 2

Yellow Grass Plateau and Seven Towers

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A tough two-hour climb gets us up on to the Yellow Grass Plateau, high in the mountains of Mentougou. We’ll take a break on the high altitude meadows before hiking on over the plateau to the Seven Towers hill, the highest Great Wall in Beijing Municipality. After a look about at the towers we head back to the start point, following a slightly different trail on the way down.

Extra early start This hike is way out to the west of Beijing, and the drive time could be around three hours. We’re leaving early to get ahead of any traffic, and to be sure we have enough time to complete the hike.

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Hike Fest 2017  - The Challenge
Departure date: Saturday, September 9

2017 Hiking Festival: The Challenge (24km+)

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The Challenge: a mountain-walking half-marathon of 24km, with more than 1,000m of uphill. How fast can you finish it?

Hike country roads and hill trails up past the High Tower, then through valleys and over ridges to Stone Valley Village. A mountain-walking half marathon! For full information please visit our hiking festival event mini-site, and then come back here to sign up!

Extra: if you’re fast enough, you’ll be able to access an extended section that makes the trail 30km long.

Registration closes September 1; sign up and make your payment before then.

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Departure date: Sunday, September 10

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.

Note: a bit of recent restoration work at the western end at Mutianyu means we’ll have to make a quick hop over the battlements to get on to the wall – much like the Mongolians did!

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, September 14

Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall Extra

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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. We’ll extend the hike from Gubeikou along a few more towers, and then down a nice hill trail to finish. If you’re interested, you can buy a ticket and take a quick look inside the memorial to see historical photos and artifacts from the 1930’s battle for Gubeikou between the Chinese and Japanese armies. (Ticket cost approx. 20 RMB, if they’re open – at the time of publication, they’re closed for renovation.)

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The Great Wall crossing hills and mountains in Huailai District
Departure date: Saturday, September 16

Zhenbiancheng Great Wall and Big Camp Plate Challenge

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This Great Wall hike is one of our most challenging treks, covering a long section of wild wall in Beijing’s northwest. We’re leaving at the extra early time of 7:30am for this hike to try and avoid traffic on the Badaling Expressway.

This hike is definitely not suitable for those who are not physically fit, are afraid of heights, or lack proper clothing and footwear, and we’re going to ask you some questions about your hiking experience as part of the reservation for this hike.

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Departure date: Saturday, September 23

Heituo Mountain Loop

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Hike up to the craggy peak of Heituo Mountain, and then down and out below the tall cliffs on the Nine-Eyes Tower side of the mountain. (On this version of the trail we skip the brushy areas of the Valley of the Pigs as well as the gruelling climb up through the forest at the other end of the valley.)

This is a fairly rough hike and part of the track is rather wild, so we’re limiting the number of participants to only fifteen tough trekkers. Because of the steep ascents and descents on this hike we wouldn’t be able to do it in or after rain.

You’ll need to be in good shape and have a good head for heights to enjoy this hike, and we’ll ask you about that as part of the sign up process.

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Departure date: Thursday, September 28

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Book your place

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.

Note: a bit of recent restoration work at the western end at Mutianyu means we’ll have to make a quick hop over the battlements to get on to the wall – much like the Mongolians did!

Read more about this hike »

All upcoming tough hikes in Beijing

You're viewing all our tough hikes. We've got many more hikes for you to try, though!


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, use our contact form to let us know and we'll send you a quick email when the schedule is online.

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Hike schedule: tough hikes

Departure date: Saturday, July 29
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The Great Flood

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 5
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Zhuangdaokou to Moss Mountain

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 5
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, August 12
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The Pinnacle Tower

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Departure date: Sunday, August 13
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Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, August 19
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Miaofengshan Super Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, August 26
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Big Camp Plate Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, August 30
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Saturday, September 2
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Yellow Grass Plateau and Seven Towers

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Departure date: Saturday, September 9
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2017 Hiking Festival: The Challenge (24km+)

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Departure date: Sunday, September 10
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, September 14
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall Extra

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Departure date: Saturday, September 16
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall and Big Camp Plate Challenge

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Departure date: Saturday, September 23
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Heituo Mountain Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, September 28
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, October 1
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Prove Your Loyalty

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Departure date: Monday, October 2
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The Pinnacle Tower

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

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Departure date: Saturday, October 7
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Trip dates: August 11–13, 2017

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A desert lake, seen from the peak of a tall dune in the Badain Jaran Desert, Inner Mongolia
Trip dates: August 16–20, 2017

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Mountains of Zhagana, Gansu Province
Trip dates: September 13–17, 2017

Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, Zhagana Tibetan area, Gansu Province

In Brief: See the Labrang Monastery, Tibetan Buddhist temples, and super high mountain scenery on this trip to the largely Tibetan remote area of Gansu Province. A similar feel to Tibet, without the hassle of getting the official permit.

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