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Great Wall hikes and trips in Beijing

Interested in a hike to the Great Wall? 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: Thursday, May 25

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: Saturday, May 27

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.

Working day: most Beijing residents will be working today so they can have Monday and Tuesday off as part of the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.

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Departure date: Sunday May 28

Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Make a mid-afternoon visit to Huanghuacheng for a walk on the wall, followed by a big dinner at one of our favourite countryside restaurants. After dinner, climb up on to another stretch of wall to watch the sun go down.

The hiking trail is the same as our popular Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall walk, a great combination of unrestored and restored Great Wall that offers superb views of hills, mountains, and reservoirs.

Rain date: if rain (or thunder/lightning) is forecast for the evening then we’ll postpone this trip to Monday, May 29. (In 2016 we had to do postpone due to lightning, and the weather the next day was perfect.)

Dragon Boat Festival holiday hikes—leaving at midday means we should avoid the worst of the traffic, but we still may get stuck in a jam at some stage. Bring a book or something else to keep yourself entertained, just in case!

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Departure date: Monday, May 29

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!

Dragon Boat Festival holiday hikes—We’re leaving early to get ahead of the holiday traffic, but we still may get stuck in a jam at some stage. Bring a book or something else to keep yourself entertained, just in case!

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Sunset at the Great Wall Spur
Departure date: May 29–30 (Mon–Tue)

Camping Basics: Great Wall Spur

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On this two-day back-to-basics camping trip you’ll explore the ‘wild’ Great Wall, camping overnight on the Great Wall Spur and hiking over to Jiankou via the Chinese Knot on the second day.

This is a self-supported trip: we’ll supply the equipment – backpack, tent, sleeping bag – but it’s up to you to carry it! As well as the gear we supply water, snacks, paper plates and a pot, as well as a sandwich for lunch on the first day.

Group size 6–10 hikers.

Dragon Boat Festival holiday hikes—We’re leaving early to get ahead of the holiday traffic, but we still may get stuck in a jam at some stage. Bring a book or something else to keep yourself entertained, just in case!

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Departure date: Tuesday, May 30

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.

Dragon Boat Festival holiday hikes—We’re leaving early to get ahead of the holiday traffic, but we still may get stuck in a jam at some stage. Bring a book or something else to keep yourself entertained, just in case!

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Departure date: Thursday, June 1

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!

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Departure date: Saturday, June 3

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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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.

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.

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, June 4

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. The Great Wall out here is rough and seldom-visited—choose this hike if you’re interested in a visit to a section of wall very different to what you’ve seen on postcards.

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Departure date: Wednesday, June 7

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.

Bring your passport / ID card (or a copy) with you on this hike in case the border crossing guards decide they want to check us on the way out.

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: Thursday, June 8

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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UPDATE 2017/5/23: This hike has replaced our planned Gubeikou to Jinshanling visit, as the Jinshanling Great Wall will be closed until the end of summer.

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: Saturday, June 10

High Rise hike and Little West Lake Great Wall

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This 16km trail joins two of our Level 3+ hikes to make a tough hike through the hills of Changping District and Huairou District, following hill trails, country lanes, and Great Wall on the way to the end.

The first part of the hike is our High Rise trail, an old mining track from a small village that goes up and over a tall hill and then down past a few more valley villages. The second part of the hike goes through the Little West Lake Park, and then up on to more Great Wall on the way to the Walled Village.

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Departure date: Saturday, June 10

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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Departure date: June 10–11 (Sat–Sun)

Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Take a relatively relaxed hike along the wild Great Wall and camp in a scenic spot on the wall on this Great Wall overnighter. We’ll take care of the heavy lifting and have things delivered direct to our campsite; you’ll be free to enjoy the scenery, sunset, stars, and sunrise without all the sweat involved in a full-on camping expedition – on this trip we’ll be taking it slow and easy.

We’ll organise delivery of tents and sleeping bags direct to our campsite; you’ll just need to carry your clothes, water, and food and snacks.

Weather warning: If lightning or heavy rain is forecast for the weekend we will need to make a change to the plan.

Maximum group size of 12 hikers; book early to make sure you get a spot!

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Departure date: Sunday, June 11

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Book your place

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.

Read more about this hike »

All upcoming Great Wall hikes in Beijing

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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: Great Wall hikes

Departure date: Thursday, May 25
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, May 27
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday May 28
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Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Monday, May 29
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Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: May 29–30 (Mon–Tue)
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Camping Basics: Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Tuesday, May 30
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, June 1
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, June 3
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, June 4
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop Hike

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Departure date: Wednesday, June 7
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, June 8
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, June 10
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High Rise hike and Little West Lake Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, June 10
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: June 10–11 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, June 11
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Wednesday, June 14
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Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, June 15
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, June 17
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, June 18
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Wednesday, June 21
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, June 22
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Saturday, June 24
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, June 24
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, June 25
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, June 28
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, June 29
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, July 1
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Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, July 1
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Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: July 1–2 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Hemp Village and Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, July 2
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Wednesday, July 5
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, July 6
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop Hike

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Departure date: Saturday, July 8
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, July 9
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, July 12
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, July 13
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, July 15
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, July 16
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Wednesday, July 19
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, July 20
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Saturday, July 22
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall Extra

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Departure date: Saturday, July 22
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, July 23
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, July 26
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, July 27
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Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, July 29
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, July 30
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Trip dates: May 26–30, 2017

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In Brief: Take a hike near the shores of Qinghai Lake; join the pilgrims visiting Kumbum Monastery; camp out at high altitude on Gangshika Mountain and hike up to a glacier.

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Clouds over the green rolling hills of the Bashang Grasslands, Hebei Province
Trip dates: June 16–18, 2017

Bashang Grasslands, Hebei Province

In Brief: Clean and cool grasslands near the border of Hebei and Inner Mongolia: hikes, BBQ lamb, and more.

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Mountains and rivers in Xinjiang
Trip dates: June 20–25, 2017

Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang Province (6 days)

In Brief: Camp out overnight in the beautiful high-altitude scenery of the Bayinbuluke Grasslands in northwestern Xinjiang; see Silk Road sights, big mountains, and desert while on the road to and from the grasslands.

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