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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.

Views of Great Wall and mountains, near the high point of the Switchback Great Wall
Departure date: Saturday, July 28

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!

Weather note There’s not a lot of shade on this hike, and if it’s a hot day it will feel extra tough. We can’t do this hike in a thunderstorm either! In the days before the hike we’ll be keeping an eye on the weather forecast, and we’ll change the plan if necessary.

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Looking out over the Jinshanling Great Wall
Departure date: Wednesday, August 1

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.

Weather note: if rain or thunder is forecast we might not be able to hike. We have another Great Wall hike the next day, just in case.

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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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On the repaired Great Wall at Mutianyu
Departure date: Wednesday, August 8

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 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!

Weather note: if rain or thunder is forecast we might not be able to hike. We have another Great Wall hike the next day, just in case.

Read more about this hike »
Looking out over the Jinshanling Great Wall
Departure date: Saturday, August 18

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Book your place

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.

Read more about this hike »
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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Views of the Great Wall at Mutianyu
Departure date: Sunday, August 26

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.

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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Long views of Great Wall in Yanqing County, Beijing
Departure date: Saturday, September 8

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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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall | On the top section of the Great Wall at Mutianyu
Departure date: Wednesday, September 12

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 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 »
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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Approaching the Jinshanling Great Wall
Departure date: Thursday, September 20

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Book your place

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.

Read more about this hike »
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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Climbing up to a peak on the Great Wall
Departure date: Sunday, September 23

Chinese Knot Great Wall

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This tough Great Wall hike involves a lot of climbing and scrambling, and you’ll need strong legs and a good head for heights to make it to the end. Starting on the southern side of the mountains to the north of Beijing, we follow the Great Wall up and over two ridges, peaking just after the ‘Chinese Knot’ at 987m above sea level. 4–5 hours of hiking over 10km, with hiking boots and above-average level of fitness required. Note: if you’re not comfortable with making a short-but-steep climb on somewhat tricky terrain, you will probably not find this hike an enjoyable experience.

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.

Read more about this hike »
The General’s Tower at Jiankou
Departure date: Monday, September 24

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 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!

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!

Read more about this hike »

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.

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Hike schedule: tough hikes

Departure date: Saturday, July 28
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Switchback Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, August 1
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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: Wednesday, August 8
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, August 18
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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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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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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

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Departure date: Saturday, September 8
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Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge

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Departure date: Wednesday, September 12
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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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: Thursday, September 20
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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

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Departure date: Sunday, September 23
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Chinese Knot Great Wall

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Departure date: Monday, September 24
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, September 29
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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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: Saturday, October 6
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The High Tower Loop hike

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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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