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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.

Hikers crossing a river
Departure date: Sunday, July 29

White River hike

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On this slightly different 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.

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The view from Vulture Rock Ridge
Departure date: Saturday, August 4

Vulture Rock Ridge loop hike

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Get some 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. From the highest point on the hike we follow part of a pilgrims’ path through forest, eventually arriving back where we began.

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Hikers crossing a river
Departure date: Saturday, August 11

White River hike

Book your place

On this slightly different 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 »
A crossing on the White River
Departure date: Saturday, August 18

Dragon Cloud Mountain and White River

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A fresh take on our White River hike: We skip the commercial end of the White River for a hike over Dragon Cloud Mountain, before joining the river at the big bend that marks the start of the quietest and most scenic part of the trail. We’ll hike up Dragon Cloud Mountain and join on to the narrow concrete road that is the only access to a tiny village, and follow an old road from the village down to the river side. We’ll then begin the river hike, fording 4-5 times on the way to the end.

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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Views of mountains and valleys on the Big Camp Plate trail
Departure date: Saturday, August 25

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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Hikers crossing a river
Departure date: Sunday, August 26

White River hike

Book your place

On this slightly different 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 »
Hiking up a ridgeline on the west side of Gubeikou
Departure date: Saturday, September 1

Gubeikou West Circuit (Route 2)

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Make a circuit of the west side of Gubeikou to check out some of the more obscure Great Wall in the area, including a rough line of rocks that is said be Great Wall from the Northern Qi Dynasty.

This hike gives both long- and mid-range views of the line of Great Wall on Wohu Mountain, and you’ll see in a few places that there is an older wall encased within the wall – evidence of later dynasties using the older line of wall as a base for further construction.

A lot of this hike is fairly gentle, but we’re rating it a Level 4 because there are a few steep sections where the wall is narrow and tricky.

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Hikers walking through chestnut orchards
Departure date: Sunday, September 2

Big Black Mountain to the Walled Village

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Stretch your legs on this nice hill walking hike, starting off through orchards and fields on a long gradual climb to a ridgeline lookout, then descending a zig-zagging dirt trail to walk through a few valley villages before climbing up to a pretty stretch of Great Wall and heading down through more farmland to the Walled Village. Points of interest include a wartime tunnel system, the 300-year old “Dragon and Phoenix” pines, a look at a stretch of Great Wall, as well as the Walled Village, converted from an army barracks that used to house soldiers tasked with guarding the Great Wall in the Ming Dynasty.

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Hiking down through the forest to Dajue Temple
Departure date: Sunday, September 9

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.

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Hiking on the ridges above the Yellow Grass Plateau
Departure date: Saturday, September 15

Yellow Grass Plateau and Seven Towers

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A tough two-hour climb gets us up on to the Yellow Grass Plateau, high in the mountains of Mentougou. We’ll take a break on the high altitude meadows before hiking on over the plateau to the Seven Towers hill, the highest Great Wall in Beijing Municipality. After a look about at the towers we head back to the start point, following a slightly different trail on the way down.

Extra early start This hike is way out to the west of Beijing, and the drive time could be around three hours. We’re leaving early to get ahead of any traffic, and to be sure we have enough time to complete the hike.

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A view of a temple high on a hill, with mountains behind
Departure date: Sunday, September 16

Shunyi Hikers: Yajishan Temple Circuit

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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 a visit to the temples today, we can still make it work – write us a note when you make your booking.

On this trip we’re going to add a little extra hiking to our usual inspection of the temples at Yajishan, starting with the short-but-steep stair climb to the top of Yaji Mountain. 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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Hiking in the hills above Dajue Temple
Departure date: Saturday, September 22

Over the Hills to Dajuesi

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On this hike we’ll make an arduous climb up a an old pilgrims’ trail that leads over the mountains, starting near a tiny temple on the Beijing side of the West Mountains and finishing near Dajue Temple. On a clear day we’ll be able to see a long way, with views of mountains and the outskirts of Beijing City.

This hike finishes with a long descent which will be tough on your knees. On a hot day, the climb up to the peak will be taxing.

Note – regular hikers will have done many of these trails already – but perhaps not this way!

Early start! We’re leaving extra early to avoid the worst of the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday traffic. We may still get stuck in a traffic jam at some point. Bring a book to read, just in case, and we’d advise that you don’t make any fixed plans for the evening.

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Hikers on a trail through chestnut orchards
Departure date: Monday, September 24

Triangle Hike

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See the sights of the countryside on this nice-and-easy hike. The hike starts off with a stroll down a valley, and then we head into the rolling hills of Huairou District. We follow farm trails and roads through valleys and orchards before heading up a rocky trail to an old pine tree that is a local landmark. From the pine we continue, passing through a small village and up a road that leads past reservoirs and chestnut orchards on the way out to the main road. Suitable for children over 8 years old.

Mid-Autumn Festival Holiday traffic It’s the last day of the holiday and we don’t think the traffic will be too bad. We may still get stuck in a traffic jam at some point. Bring a book or something to keep yourself entertained, just in case!

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Shuitou Village | Taking a break high up in the hills behind Shuitou Village
Departure date: Saturday, September 29

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.

Work day If you work in Beijing you might be expected to show up at the office today, as it’s a make-up work day for the big holiday next week.

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A view from the hills on the way to Yaji Mountain
Departure date: Monday, October 1

Over the Hills to Yaji Mountain

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Take a long walk through the Pinggu District countryside, hiking the hills and valleys on the way to Yaji Mountain. Save some energy for the end, though! We’re going to climb up the steep stairway to the temples atop Yaji Mountain!

Early start! We’re leaving early to avoid the worst of the holiday traffic. We may still get stuck in a traffic jam at some point, and we recommend you don’t make fixed plans for the evening. Bring a book or something to keep yourself entertained, just in case!

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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, July 29
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White River hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 4
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Vulture Rock Ridge loop hike

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Departure date: Sunday, August 5
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Yunmeng Gorge Swim or Explore

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Departure date: Saturday, August 11
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White River hike

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Departure date: Saturday, August 18
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Dragon Cloud Mountain and White River

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Departure date: Saturday, August 25
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Big Camp Plate Village and Hengling Valley

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Departure date: Sunday, August 26
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White River hike

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Departure date: Saturday, September 1
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Gubeikou West Circuit (Route 2)

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, September 2
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Big Black Mountain to the Walled Village

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, September 9
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Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

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Departure date: Saturday, September 15
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Yellow Grass Plateau and Seven Towers

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Departure date: Sunday, September 16
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Shunyi Hikers: Yajishan Temple Circuit

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Departure date: Saturday, September 22
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Over the Hills to Dajuesi

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Departure date: Monday, September 24
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Triangle Hike

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Departure date: Saturday, September 29
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Shuitou Village Loop hike

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Departure date: Monday, October 1
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Over the Hills to Yaji Mountain

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Departure date: Tuesday, October 2
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The Pinnacle Tower

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Departure date: Wednesday, October 3
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Zhuangdaokou to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Saturday, October 6
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The High Tower Loop hike

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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

The green rolling hills of the Bashang Grasslands, Hebei Province
Trip dates: August 10–12, 2018

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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The coloured hills of the Zhangye Danxia Landform
Trip dates: August 15–19, 2018

Zhangye Danxia Landform, Gansu Province

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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Trekking on the Tea and Horse Trail near Dali, Yunnan Province
Trip dates: September 20–24, 2018

Dali’s Old Towns, Cang Mountain, and Erhai Lake, Yunnan (5 days)

In Brief: See the Southern Silk Road sights of Dali and its surrounds, travelling by foot, bicycle, and as part of a mule train as we visit ancient towns and temples on the ancient Tea and Horse Trail and camp out on Cang Mountain.

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