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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.

The view from Vulture Rock Ridge
Departure date: Saturday, April 29

Vulture Rock Ridge and the old Pilgrim’s Trail

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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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Departure date: Monday, May 1

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.

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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Departure date: Saturday, May 6

Big Camp Plate Village and Hengling Valley

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Stretch the legs with a hike up into the mountains in a remote area just outside the border of Beijing.

We walk up the road into tiny Big Camp Plate Village, then hike through fields, a narrow gully, and then up a rough and tricky stretch of Great Wall. The hike finishes with a walk down and out a long and quiet valley on a newly-scouted trail.

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Departure date: Saturday, May 13

The Pinnacle Tower Plus

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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’re taking a slightly different route on this hike that includes an extra steep ascent and descent on a nearby line of wall to finish, so you’ll need to be fit and up for it.

NOTES: Balancing skills and a good head for heights will be required. Rain would make this hike dangerous, in which case we’d make a few changes to the hiking route.

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Departure date: Sunday, May 14

Train Tracks and Chestnut Orchards

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Take a good long walk in the countryside, starting close by to the Ming Tombs in Changping, and finishing over the ranges near Huairou District. We’ll walk on old service roads and terrace trails beside the train tracks, pay a brief visit to a tiny village, and finish up with a long walk through the orchards that fill the slopes of the hills opposite the Big Black Mountain. Around 13km of mostly moderately difficult walking, with a few quick scrambles up and down hill trails.

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Departure date: Sunday, May 21

Shunyi Hikers: 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.

Shunyi Hikers: We’ll be picking up people from the Starbucks at Pinnacle Plaza in Shunyi for this hike. If you’re not based in Shunyi but fancy trying this hike today, we can still make it work – write us a note when you make

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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.

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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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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.

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Hike schedule: hillwalking hikes

Departure date: Saturday, April 29
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Vulture Rock Ridge and the old Pilgrim’s Trail

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Monday, May 1
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Yajishan Temple Fair, Pinggu District

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, May 6
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Big Camp Plate Village and Hengling Valley

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Departure date: Sunday, May 7
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Ming Village day trip

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Departure date: Saturday, May 13
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The Pinnacle Tower Plus

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Departure date: Sunday, May 14
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Train Tracks and Chestnut Orchards

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Departure date: Sunday, May 21
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Shunyi Hikers: Immortal Valley Loop

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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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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

A person walks through the sandy dunes of the Tengger Desert
Trip dates: April 28–May 1, 2017

Tengger Desert Lakes, Inner Mongolia

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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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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