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Hillwalking and non-Great Wall hikes and trips in Beijing

The Great Wall is obviously great, but there's more to hiking in Beijing than the Great Wall. Interested in non-Great Wall hikes, level 3 and up? 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.

Autumn colours in the hills above the canyon
Departure date: Sunday, April 28

Shuiquan Canyon

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Hike hill trails and valley paths to on the way to Shuiquan Canyon, a bouldery valley in the Longquanyu area. The route through the canyon takes us around and over several large pools as we walk below cliffs and over rickety bridges, hiking over and around boulders on the way to the end.

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Views from the ridge above Vulture Rock park
Departure date: Thursday, May 2

Vulture Rock Ridge and the old Pilgrim’s Trail

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Changed the date: on March 22 the government changed the Labour Day holiday dates, and we’ve changed the date of this hike to match the new holidays.

This is a variation of our regular Vulture Rock Ridge Loop hike where we follow an old pilgrim’s trail down the Beijing to finish the hike. We’ll walk all of Vulture Rock Ridge and then following what’s left of the old paved path through the forested hills on the Beijing side of the ridge.

Holiday traffic: There’s a chance we’ll get stuck in bad traffic at some point during the drive, and we might be back to Beijing later than estimated. We’d recommend not making fixed plans for the evening, just in case!

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The descent from the Pinnacle Tower
Departure date: Saturday, May 4

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.

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The Silver Pagodas stand on the site of a temple first built during the Tang Dynasty
Departure date: Sunday, May 5

Silver Pagoda Loop

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For this hike we will follow a seldom-used trail to get to the Silver Pagodas, a set of five well-preserved 600-year-old pagodas that are all that remains of a big Buddhist temple. On the way to the pagoda site we will take a long walk through the countryside, passing a village, quarries, and a local shrine, before a steep climb to the 720m peak of Holly Mountain. From the top we can look down on the pagodas and large swathes of the surrounding countryside, and as we follow the path down we will pass large bells, “North Beijing’s Number One Waterfall,” and plenty of other interesting local landmarks.

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Views of mountains from the Miaofengshan trail
Departure date: Saturday, May 11

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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The two temples on the peak of Yajishan, seen from the entrance of the middle temple
Departure date: Sunday, May 12

Yajishan Temple Fair, Pinggu District

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The temples at Yajishan are locally famous, and every year on the lunar calendar there’s a big temple fair. We’ll spend the day having a look at what’s going on – fortune telling, street food and snacks, fireworks and incense burning, various performers – before climbing up to the temples on top.

On the way up to the top, we’ll catch our breath by stopping to look about the various temples and shrines either side of the stairs. After a look about the temple right at the top, we’ll take a walk through the hills behind the temples to complete the circuit.

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A craggy ridge near the peak of Heituo Mountain
Departure date: Saturday, May 25

Heituo Mountain Crossing

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Hike the long way 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 we hike up to the peak from where we finish the Level 5+ Heituo Moutain hike, and skip the brushy areas of the ‘Valley of the Pigs’.)

This is a fairly rough hike and parts of the track are very steep, so we’ll be limiting the number of participants. 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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Hiking toward craggy peaks in the Yudu Mountains
Departure date: Sunday, June 2

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 Stonewall Village, nestled in the rolling hills of Miyun District
Departure date: Saturday, June 8

Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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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.

Holiday hike! It’s the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, and we might get stuck in traffic at some point on the way to or from the hike. We recommend you don’t make fixed plans for the evening, just in case.

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Fording the White River
Departure date: Sunday, June 9

White River hike

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Ford rivers on this long and level canyon hike in Miyun District, passing beneath tall cliffs and following the path of the river as it winds through the mountains. The area is relatively unpopulated, making this an excellent scenic hike that will fill your lungs with fresh air. Four or so hours of reasonably easy hiking over approximately 12km, and you’ll get your feet wet crossing the river!

Note: If the river level is raised because of rain we might not be able to hike. We’ll check in with our local contacts on the Friday before the hike. There are now a few trails around the deepest crossings, so we should be good to go. There is one deep pool to wade through, and the shallowest part is about 70-80cm deep.

Holiday hike! It’s the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, and we might get stuck in traffic at some point on the way to or from the hike. We recommend you don’t make fixed plans for the evening, just in case.

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Hikers on the way up the Immortal Valley park trails
Departure date: Sunday, June 16

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.

Regular hikers may have noticed we’re doing this hike a lot this year. That’s because it’s such a nice hike in the different seasons—on this visit we’ll see the hills all green, with perhaps some of wildflowers blooming.

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Hikers crossing a river
Departure date: Saturday, June 22

White River hike

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On this version of our White River hike we skip the commercial end of the river and start instead with a walk down to the river via a scenic area, joining the trail at the ‘big bend’ in the river.

Ford rivers on this long and level canyon hike in Miyun District, passing beneath tall cliffs and following the path of the river as it winds through the mountains. The area is relatively unpopulated, making this an excellent scenic hike that will fill your lungs with fresh air. Four or so hours of reasonably easy hiking over approximately 12km, and you’ll get your feet wet crossing the river!

Note: If the river level is raised because of rain we might not be able to hike. We’ll check in with our local contacts on the Friday before the hike. There are now a few trails around the deepest crossings, so we should be good to go. There is one deep pool to wade through, and the shallowest part is about 70-80cm deep.

Read more about this hike »

All upcoming hillwalking hikes in Beijing

You're viewing all our hillwalking 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.

Hike in Beijing calendar

See the Hike in Beijing schedule in our calendar


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Hike schedule: hillwalking hikes

Departure date: Sunday, April 28
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Shuiquan Canyon

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, May 2
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Vulture Rock Ridge and the old Pilgrim’s Trail

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, May 4
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The Pinnacle Tower

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Departure date: Sunday, May 5
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Silver Pagoda Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, May 11
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Miaofengshan Super Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, May 12
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Yajishan Temple Fair, Pinggu District

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Departure date: Sunday, May 19
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Cuandixia ‘Ming Village’ day trip

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Departure date: Saturday, May 25
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Heituo Mountain Crossing

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Departure date: Sunday, May 26
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Kids Club: Yunmeng Gorge play and picnic

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Departure date: Sunday, June 2
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Yinmeng Temple and Sujia River

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Departure date: Saturday, June 8
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Sunday, June 9
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White River hike

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Departure date: Sunday, June 16
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Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, June 22
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White River hike

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Departure date: Sunday, June 23
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Kids Club: The Silver Pagodas

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Departure date: Sunday, June 30
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Yunmeng Gorge Swim or Explore

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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

Hiking through the huge dunes of the Tengger Desert in Inner Mongolia
Trip dates: April 28–May 1, 2019

Tengger Desert Lakes, Inner Mongolia (4 days)

In Brief: Travel by foot and jeep through the desert, visit desert lakes, ride camels, camp in the desert, and more.

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The coloured hills of the Zhangye Danxia Landform
Trip dates: June 5–9, 2019

Zhangye Danxia Landform, Gansu Province (5 days)

In Brief: See the fantastically-coloured mountains and cliffs in an all-but unexplored area of Gansu; visit Horse Hoofprint Temple, Jiayuguan Fortress, and more.

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Hiking down from a peak
Trip dates: June 14–16, 2019

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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