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Tough treks and hikes in Beijing

Looking for a challenging hike? 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: Thursday, April 27

Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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This is a looping walk over steep and rocky terrain, with a lot of scrambling and climbing required to arrive at the highest point on the hike, the impressive Nine-Eyes Tower. On a clear day in this spot in the heart of the mountains it will be possible to see sections of Great Wall to the north, south, east, and west. Four hours of tough hiking with a lot of climbing, over approximately 10km.

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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: Thursday, May 4

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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For this moderately challenging hike we’ll travel into the far northeast of Beijing Municipality. We’ll walk along a stretch of the Gubeikou Great Wall and end up at the Jinshanling Great Wall park after a long detour through the farmland surrounding Hemp Village. After a late lunch at our favourite family restaurant at Jinshanling we’ll head back to Beijing. The cost of food, drinks, round-trip transportation, and park tickets is included in the price.

Regular hikers: this is the version where we walk the last section of the Great Wall at Gubeikou and all of the Jinshanling Great Wall.

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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: Sunday, May 7

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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This is a tough and challenging hike, suitable for fit hikers with a good head for heights. We’ll start off at Jiankou, following a zigzag hillside trail that rises quickly to a Great Wall tower that is almost 1,000 metres above sea level. From the tower we can see the Jiankou basin, as well as many other stretches of Great Wall in the area. From there we’ll head southeast, following the wall towards Mutianyu. The hike crosses unrestored and restored sections of wall, which makes it a good way to see the Great Wall as it is now, and how it might have looked when first built.

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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: Thursday, May 18

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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This is a tough and challenging hike, suitable for fit hikers with a good head for heights. We’ll start off at Jiankou, following a zigzag hillside trail that rises quickly to a Great Wall tower that is almost 1,000 metres above sea level. From the tower we can see the Jiankou basin, as well as many other stretches of Great Wall in the area. From there we’ll head southeast, following the wall towards Mutianyu. The hike crosses unrestored and restored sections of wall, which makes it a good way to see the Great Wall as it is now, and how it might have looked when first built.

Note: a bit of recent restoration work at the western end at Mutianyu means we’ll have to make a quick hop over the battlements to get on to the wall – much like the Mongolians did!

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Long views of Great Wall in Yanqing County, Beijing
Departure date: Saturday, May 20

Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge

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This hike combines our Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower routes into a challenging extended day hike in the mountains of Yanqing, way past touristy Badaling. We’ll follow a trail beside an isolated section of the Great Wall up, down, and over hills, peaking at 1,440m above sea level. The day promises to be a challenging one! Suitable for fit and experienced hikers, and you’ll need warm clothing in case it gets windy and cold up on the peak.

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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: Monday, May 29

Switchback Great Wall

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Travel right on past touristy Badaling on the way out to a difficult Great Wall hike in the mountains overlooking the Guanting Reservoir in Yanqing. The climbing is steep and tough and we’ll take 4–5 hours to complete the 8.5km walk. For much of the hike we’ll be quite high up, peaking at 1,200m near the midpoint where the wall curves in a sharp switchback.

We have a shorter version of this hike – on this trip we’ll do the tougher, longer route, and we’re going to do it backwards!

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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Sunset at the Great Wall Spur
Departure date: May 29–30 (Mon–Tue)

Camping Basics: Great Wall Spur

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On this two-day back-to-basics camping trip you’ll explore the ‘wild’ Great Wall, camping overnight on the Great Wall Spur and hiking over to Jiankou via the Chinese Knot on the second day.

This is a self-supported trip: we’ll supply the equipment – backpack, tent, sleeping bag – but it’s up to you to carry it! As well as the gear we supply water, snacks, paper plates and a pot, as well as a sandwich for lunch on the first day.

Group size 6–10 hikers.

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: Thursday, June 1

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Book your place

This is a tough and challenging hike, suitable for fit hikers with a good head for heights. We’ll start off at Jiankou, following a zigzag hillside trail that rises quickly to a Great Wall tower that is almost 1,000 metres above sea level. From the tower we can see the Jiankou basin, as well as many other stretches of Great Wall in the area. From there we’ll head southeast, following the wall towards Mutianyu. The hike crosses unrestored and restored sections of wall, which makes it a good way to see the Great Wall as it is now, and how it might have looked when first built.

Note: a bit of recent restoration work at the western end at Mutianyu means we’ll have to make a quick hop over the battlements to get on to the wall – much like the Mongolians did!

Read more about this hike »
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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All upcoming tough hikes in Beijing

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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: tough hikes

Departure date: Thursday, April 27
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, April 29
Book it

Vulture Rock Ridge and the old Pilgrim’s Trail

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, May 4
Book it

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, May 7
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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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: Thursday, May 18
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, May 20
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Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge

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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: Monday, May 29
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Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: May 29–30 (Mon–Tue)
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Camping Basics: Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, June 1
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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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: Thursday, June 8
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, June 10
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High Rise hike and Little West Lake Great Wall

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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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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Saturday, June 24
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Upcoming trips

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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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