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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.

Departure date: Sunday, May 28

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.

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

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 know for sure in the week before the hike.

Holiday hike! It’s the Dragon Boat Festival holiday weekend, and we might get stuck in traffic at some point on the way to or from the hike. There’s also a reasonable chance we’ll bump into other groups hiking along the way.

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A Great Wall tower on a bluff
Departure date: June 3–4 (Sat–Sun)

Yellow Grass Plateau Mini-Overnight

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The Yellow Grass Plateau to Dragon Gate Gorge trail is one of our best hikes, and it’s the longest one we’ve got in our repertoire.

We’ll head out west on Saturday afternoon and set up in a village nearby the trail head, and on Sunday morning we’ll set the alarms for an early start on our 27km hike through the hills and varied scenery of west Beijing’s Mentougou District.

We think this is one of the best hikes in Beijing, and if you can handle a long day in the hills then don’t miss this one!

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Departure date: Sunday, June 4

White River hike

Book your place

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 know for sure in the week before the hike.

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, June 17

Hillwalking Challenge: Flower Wood to East Water Valley

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For this countryside expedition we’re joining two nice hillwalking hikes to make an 20km trail—good and long, with not too much climbing. We start with the Flower Wood hike – a good long ramble through the countryside – and then hop over on to a little bit of the Silver Pagoda hike trail before taking the fork that leads over to East Water Valley. An excellent opportunity to stretch the legs!

We’re going to keep a fairly steady pace on this hike to make sure we finish before it gets dark. That means we won’t stop too long for our mid-hike lunch break either.

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Departure date: Sunday, June 25

Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

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Follow the steps of pilgrims on this hike, starting close to the temple at Miaofengshan in Beijing’s western mountains, and hiking an old pilgrims’ trail through forested hills and along ridges on the way to Dajuesi, a beautiful temple built in the Liao Dynasty. Aside from a bit of climbing at the start, this hike follows a trail that is mostly flat, until we start walking down the paved trail that leads to Dajue Temple. During this hike we’ll get great views of mountains, and will pass through a pine forest where we often see people hunting for mushrooms and medicinal herbs. The cost of the hike includes entrance to Dajue Temple.

Note: Bring your own lunch, please! We’ll set up our picnic tables with beer and snacks after the hike.

Easy 3+: this hike almost rates a Level 3, but the 7km descent down to the temple is pretty tough on the knees.

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Departure date: Sunday, July 2

Cypress Wells Canyon and Yongning Town

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Visit Yanqing Country to find a short stretch of ‘Warring States’ era Great Wall and an old village amidst the mountainous landscapes. The hike begins with a nice long, flat walk along the floor of the canyon. Mid-way, we’ll stop for a break at a small and interesting mostly-abandoned village before following a trail up through a pine forest to take a look at a very old section of Great Wall. We’ll finish the hike by following a hill trail down and out to the nearest road.

After the hike we’ll take a stroll through the streets of Yongning Town, a countryside town with a long history, a big tower in the middle of town, and a street market in the town square.

Because this hike is mostly flat it’s fine for fairly active kids. If you’re not sure about the suitability, please get in touch with us.

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Hills and mountains on the Incense Trail hike
Departure date: Saturday, July 8

Walk Like A Pilgrim

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On this hike we’ll make an arduous climb up a pilgrims’ trail that leads from temple to temple, starting on the Beijing side of the West Mountains and finishing at Miaofengshan. The trail leads past ruined Qing Dynasty-era teahouses and crosses the ridge at about 1,060m above sea level. On a clear day we’ll be able to see a long way, with views of mountains and the outskirts of Beijing City.

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Departure date: Saturday, July 15

Shuitou Village Loop hike

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This trail follows short sections of a few of our Zhenbiancheng area hikes, but adds a big extra section that takes us back in time with a hike over to the left-in-the-80s village of Shuitou. 16km in the hills and valleys, with a good 952m of ascent over the course of the hike.

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Departure date: Saturday, July 29

The Great Flood

Book your place

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: Sunday, July 30

Dragon Cloud Mountain

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Once upon a time, Dragon Cloud Mountain was one of the many scenic areas hidden away in Beijing’s mountains. Now, with the park entrance boarded up, the views of the surrounding cliffs, canyons, and boulders are more or less forgotten. But not by us!

We’ll ford the White River and pass through a cave to find the stairs that lead up to the top, climbing up on to a massive slab of sandstone. Once up there, we’ll take a look at what’s left of the ‘ghost house’ and will make a circuit of an old reservoir before following a gravel road down the other side of the mountain to finish.

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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, May 28
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The Great Flood

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Departure date: Tuesday, May 30
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White River hike

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Departure date: June 3–4 (Sat–Sun)
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Yellow Grass Plateau Mini-Overnight

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Departure date: Sunday, June 4
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White River hike

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Departure date: Sunday, June 11
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Yunmeng Gorge Swim or Explore

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Departure date: Saturday, June 17
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Hillwalking Challenge: Flower Wood to East Water Valley

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Departure date: Sunday, June 18
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Down the White River

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Departure date: Sunday, June 25
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Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

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Departure date: Sunday, July 2
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Cypress Wells Canyon and Yongning Town

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Departure date: Saturday, July 8
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Walk Like A Pilgrim

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Departure date: Sunday, July 9
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White River hike and rafting

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Departure date: Saturday, July 15
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Shuitou Village Loop hike

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Departure date: Sunday, July 16
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Yunmeng Gorge Swim or Explore

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Departure date: Sunday, July 23
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Down the White River

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Departure date: Saturday, July 29
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The Great Flood

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Departure date: Sunday, July 30
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Dragon Cloud Mountain

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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

Huts below the Gangshika Snow Mountain
Trip dates: May 26–30, 2017

Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province

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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