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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: Saturday, March 25

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: Sunday, April 2

Bricks In The Wall hike

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Tomb-Sweeping 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!

We’ll follow roads and hill trails in and around tiny villages northwest of Beijing, making easy climbs on hill trails and a really steep and tough climb on a rather rundown stretch of Great Wall, with fine views the whole way.

Most of this hike is easy, but we’ve rated it as a Level 4 because the section of the Great Wall we’ll climb is really steep and tricky.

Note: the Great Wall part of this hike will not be much fun if you are not good with heights or not confident in your balancing ability.

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Departure date: Monday, April 3

Silver Pagoda Loop

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Tomb-Sweeping 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!

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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Departure date: Sunday, April 9

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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Departure date: Saturday, April 15

Heituo Mountain

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Head up to the craggy peak of the big mountain behind Nine-Eyes Tower at Jiankou, and then down into the wild valleys and hills on the other side. Finish the hike with a big slog up to a ridgeline before walking down and out to a small village.

This is a fairly rough hike and part of the track is rather wild, so we’re limiting the number of participants to only fifteen tough trekkers.

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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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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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: Saturday, March 25
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Shuitou Village Loop hike

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Departure date: Sunday, March 26
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Zhuangdaokou to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Sunday, April 2
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Bricks In The Wall hike

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Departure date: Monday, April 3
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Silver Pagoda Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, April 9
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Cypress Wells Canyon and Yongning Town

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Departure date: Saturday, April 15
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Heituo Mountain

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Departure date: Sunday, April 16
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Tanzhe Temple and the Abandoned Village

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

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Departure date: Monday, May 1
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Yajishan Temple Fair, Pinggu District

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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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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

Colourful costumes of the Zhuang ethnic group
Trip dates: April 1–5, 2017

Guizhou: Miao and Dong culture in the mountains (5 days)

In Brief: Hike between villages and enclaves in the mountains of Guizhou Province to get a up-close look at the well-preserved rituals, traditions, and architecture of the Miao and Dong (and more) ethnic groups.

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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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