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Looking across the Mutianyu Great Wall
Departure date: Saturday, February 16

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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Showers of sparks during a performance of 'dashuhua'
Departure date: February 16–17 (Sat–Sun)

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

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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 the morning watching a rowdy and colourful 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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A view of the caves
Departure date: Saturday, February 16

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.

We’ll add on a visit to Yongning Town’s street fair on the way back to the city. The fair is held on the street in front of the town’s large tower, and features Spring Festival vendors selling lanterns and handcrafts amongst the regular sellers of knicknacks and small-town supplies.

The cost of the trip includes lunch at a restaurant out in the country.

(This trip has replaced our planned visit to the Longqingxia Ice Festival, which has been shut down after a rock fall.)

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Hiking down the frozen White River
Departure date: Sunday, February 17

White River Ice Hike

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Follow a trail that crosses 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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Hiking above the Huanghuacheng Reservoir
Departure date: Sunday, February 17

Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Explore an interesting stretch of Great Wall on this Huairou hike, visiting both restored and unrestored sections on the way from the Huanghuacheng Reservoir to a walled village that used to be a Ming Dynasty-era army barracks. The hike is moderately difficult, with a few quite steep climbs and some loose rocks and bricks. Price includes a late lunch of Chinese food after the hike.

Note: there’s some steep climbing on this hike, so we’re rating it a Level 3+ even though it’s quite a short hike.

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Hiking by a tower on the Great Wall at Gubeikou
Departure date: Wednesday, February 20

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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Hiking toward craggy peaks in the Yudu Mountains
Departure date: Saturday, February 23

Yinmeng Temple and Sujia River

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Almost 1,000m up into the Yudu Mountains, north of Yanqing City, is Yinmeng Temple. And if there’s a temple up in the mountains, there must also be a trail that goes up there!

We’ll hike up past the temple and cross the mountains at a 1,000m pass, then follow a scenic path through birch forests down into the Sujia River valley.

The trail follows the river, passing below tall cliffs and around bends in the valley. We finish with a slightly smaller climb to get back on to the Beijing city side of the mountains. Awesome views of mountains, cliffs, canyons, and the river.

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A view of a tower on the Longquanyu stretch of Great Wall
Departure date: Saturday, February 23

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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The Great Wall at Longquanyu follows a ridge surrounded by taller mountains, with views of peaks in the distance and canyons far below. We’ll hike a recently repaired stretch with some two very steep descents, and take a detour through chestnut orchards to find the last ‘wild’ stretch of wall in the area. The hike finishes with a walk out past the Little West Lake reservoir, a popular park with views of Great Wall dipping down into the water.

When we’re done walking we’ll head to a nearby restaurant for a late lunch of Chinese food.

Note: there are some very steep descents in the first section of the hike.

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A hiker using binoculars to get a closer look at a stretch of the Jiankou Great Wall
Departure date: Sunday, February 24

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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Hiking down from a tower on the Great Wall Spur
Departure date: Wednesday, February 27

Great Wall Spur

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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: tough climb at the start of the hike. While rated a 3+, this hike is sort of a tough 3+ because of the long climb at the beginning. We go up about 500m over 2km of trail, which is a climb worthy of a Level 4 hike.

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Chinese Knot
Departure date: Saturday, March 2

Chinese Knot Great Wall

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This tough Great Wall hike involves a lot of climbing and scrambling, and you’ll need strong legs and a good head for heights to make it to the end. Starting on the southern side of the mountains to the north of Beijing, we follow the Great Wall up and over two ridges, peaking just after the ‘Chinese Knot’ at 987m above sea level. 4–5 hours of hiking over 10km, with hiking boots and above-average level of fitness required. Note: if you’re not comfortable with making a short-but-steep climb on somewhat tricky terrain, you will probably not find this hike an enjoyable experience.

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A stretch of Great Wall
Departure date: Saturday, March 2

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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The top trail on the Rolling Hills hike
Departure date: Sunday, March 3

Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Autumn colours! Take a Miyun countryside ramble with us on a long walk through peaceful and sparsely populated hills, valleys, and forests. This walk is quite long, but it’s not difficult – there’s not a lot of climbing up and down. The countryside scenery is excellent and we’ll follow country trails and lanes through pine forests, cornfields, orchards, villages, and farmland.

Note: the trail could get rather brushy in places – we recommend you wear trousers to protect your legs.

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The General's Tower on the Stone Valley Great Wall
Departure date: Sunday, March 3

Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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On this hike we begin at Stone Valley Village and hike the same line of wall as our Middle Route of the Switchback Great Wall hike. Starting at Stone Valley Village gives us a longer hike and some different angles for our views of the Great Wall, and we’ll also cross the tumbled-down and much older line of Northern Qi Dynasty Great Wall that was used as part of Ming Dynasty wall here.

The first quarter of the hike features two hill climbs, and then we’re up on to the Ming-era Great Wall. We follow the wall up to the General’s Tower – the tallest on this line of wall – and then follow it down the other side, passing some superb spots for photos along the way.

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Towers on the Gubeikou Great Wall
Departure date: Wednesday, March 6

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

Hike in Beijing calendar

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All upcoming hikes in Beijing

Departure date: Saturday, February 16
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: February 16–17 (Sat–Sun)
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Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron

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Departure date: Saturday, February 16
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Tang Dynasty Cave Dwellings and Yongning Town

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Departure date: Sunday, February 17
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White River Ice Hike

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Departure date: Sunday, February 17
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 20
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, February 23
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Yinmeng Temple and Sujia River

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Departure date: Saturday, February 23
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, February 24
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 27
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, March 2
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Chinese Knot Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 2
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, March 3
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Sunday, March 3
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 6
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Thursday, March 7
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, March 9
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Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 9
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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

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Departure date: Sunday, March 10
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Big Black Mountain to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 13
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, March 14
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, March 16
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, March 16
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Longevity Village to the Ming Tombs (Route Two)

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Departure date: Sunday, March 17
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, March 17
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Tomb Raiders hike and Ding Tomb’s ‘Underground Palace’

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 20
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Thursday, March 21
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Saturday, March 23
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Heituo Mountain Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, March 23
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, March 24
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 24
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Kids Club: Zhuangdaokou to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 27
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, March 28
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 30
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, March 30
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Great Flood hike

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Departure date: March 30–31 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 31
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 31
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Silver Pagoda Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 3
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Thursday, April 4
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Friday, April 5
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Thursday, April 5
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War Tunnels and the old Gold Mines

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Departure date: Saturday, April 6
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: April 6–7 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, April 6
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Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 7
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, April 7
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 10
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, April 11
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, April 13
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Over the Hills to Dajue Temple

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Departure date: Saturday, April 13
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, April 14
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 14
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Kids Club: Gubeikou Wall and adventure playground

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 17
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, April 18
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, April 21
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall and Big Camp Plate Challenge

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Departure date: Saturday, April 20
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: April 20–21 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 21
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 24
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, April 25
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, April 27
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Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: April 27–28 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 28
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, April 28
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Shuiquan Canyon

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Departure date: Monday, April 29
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Tuesday, April 30
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Vulture Rock Ridge and the old Pilgrim’s Trail

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Departure date: Tuesday, April 30
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Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, May 1
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Great Wall Spur

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Explore China

See more of China on a multi-day trip—travel to famous scenic areas, or choose to visit somewhere obscure and less well-known.

Upcoming trips

Monks unveiling a huge cloth thangka
Trip dates: February 16–19, 2019

Labrang Monastery’s ‘Unveiling the Buddha’ Ceremony, Xiahe, Gansu Province

In Brief: Visit Xiahe to witness a giant Buddha tapestry being unveiled on the hillside above Labrang Monastery and to join the crowds watching the lively performances in the town square. Trip also includes hikes and walks in nearby grassland areas.

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Hiking through fields of flowers near a village
Trip dates: March 14–17, 2019

Wuyuan ‘Fields of Flowers’, Jiangxi Province

In Brief: See fields of yellow flowers and ancient river towns in southern China. Cultural focus, nothing too strenuous.

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A traditional welcome to a Miao village
Trip dates: April 3–7, 2019

Guizhou: Miao and Dong culture in the mountains (5 days)

In Brief: Hike between villages and enclaves in the mountains of Guizhou Province to get a up-close look at the well-preserved rituals, traditions, and architecture of the Miao and Dong (and more) ethnic groups.

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