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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: Saturday, August 26

Big Camp Plate Great Wall

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This stretch of Great Wall sits on the boundary of Yanqing District and Hebei province, west of the Badaling section of the Great Wall, and to the south of the Guanting Reservoir. The hike follows the Great Wall in a loop around an isolated village called ‘Big Plate.’ It’s a tough walk, and if you are not scared of heights, clambering up and down slippery and narrow paths, and walking over loose rocks, then this will be a great hike for you! The scenery is well worth the trip, but only if you’ve got strong legs and a good head for heights.

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

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Departure date: Wednesday, August 30

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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A Great Wall tower on a bluff
Departure date: Saturday, September 2

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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Hike Fest 2017  - The Challenge
Departure date: Saturday, September 9

2017 Hiking Festival: The Challenge (24km+)

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The Challenge: a mountain-walking half-marathon of 24km, with more than 1,000m of uphill. How fast can you finish it?

Hike country roads and hill trails up past the High Tower, then through valleys and over ridges to Stone Valley Village. A mountain-walking half marathon! For full information please visit our hiking festival event mini-site, and then come back here to sign up!

Extra: if you’re fast enough, you’ll be able to access an extended section that makes the trail 30km long.

Registration closes September 1; sign up and make your payment before then.

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Departure date: Sunday, September 10

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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Departure date: Thursday, September 14

Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall Extra

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To begin the hike, we’ll walk in to Hemp Village, a tiny settlement hidden at the end of a long valley. From Hemp Village, we’ll climb into the hills, first following a trail through fields with views of the Great Wall to the side and front, and then getting on to the Great Wall at Gubeikou to walk a 6km stretch of pretty, unrestored wall. We’ll extend the hike from Gubeikou along a few more towers, and then down a nice hill trail to finish. If you’re interested, you can buy a ticket and take a quick look inside the memorial to see historical photos and artifacts from the 1930’s battle for Gubeikou between the Chinese and Japanese armies. (Ticket cost approx. 20 RMB, if they’re open – at the time of publication, they’re closed for renovation.)

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The Great Wall crossing hills and mountains in Huailai District
Departure date: Saturday, September 16

Zhenbiancheng Great Wall and Big Camp Plate Challenge

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This Great Wall hike is one of our most challenging treks, covering a long section of wild wall in Beijing’s northwest. We’re leaving at the extra early time of 7:30am for this hike to try and avoid traffic on the Badaling Expressway.

This hike is definitely not suitable for those who are not physically fit, are afraid of heights, or lack proper clothing and footwear, and we’re going to ask you some questions about your hiking experience as part of the reservation for this hike.

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Departure date: Saturday, September 23

Heituo Mountain Loop

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Hike up to the craggy peak of Heituo Mountain, and then down and out below the tall cliffs on the Nine-Eyes Tower side of the mountain. (On this version of the trail we skip the brushy areas of the Valley of the Pigs as well as the gruelling climb up through the forest at the other end of the valley.)

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. Because of the steep ascents and descents on this hike we wouldn’t be able to do it in or after rain.

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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Departure date: Thursday, September 28

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 »
Departure date: Sunday, October 1

Prove Your Loyalty

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For this hike we head out to Pinggu District for a ramble that follows wooded trails, passes abandoned villages, and crosses a short rundown stretch of Great Wall. The hike is named for a story told to us by villagers: during the war, the Japanese army forced residents in one of the villages to destroy a nearby section of the Great Wall and carry the bricks down to the village as a demonstration of loyalty to Japanese forces.

On this visit we’re adding on an extra 6km for a longer walk, finishing near where we usually begin our Perfect Loop hike. A great chance for a nice long day out in the hills.

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, October 2

The Pinnacle Tower

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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’ll make two big hill climbs on the way to the top, where we’ll stop to enjoy the views before walking out to the road to meet our bus.

NOTES: Balancing skills and a good head for heights will be required. Rain would make this hike dangerous, in which case we’d change to a different Great Wall trail.

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, October 7

Quarrymen’s Trail to the Heavenly Lake

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This is a good long hike in the Ming Tombs area in Changping District and we’re going to make it extra tough by tacking on the big climb up to the local Heavenly Lake, a reservoir built on top of a big hill. Your legs may not thank you the next day, but your effort will have been rewarded with with views of mountains, valleys, pine forests, rocky outcrops, and a picnic by the strangely-sited reservoir.

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!

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, October 7

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.

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!

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, October 14

Hillwalking Challenge: Big Black Mountain to Moss Mountain

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For this long hike, we’re joining two of our good hillwalking trails to make a 19km trek through the Huairou hills. We’ll first do the Big Black Mountain hike, a 10km hike through chestnut orchards, up and over ridges, and down valleys. Then we’ll link up with our Moss Mountain trail, starting from the Walled Village and walking 9km on the way to the finish.

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, October 14

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.

Read more about this hike »

All upcoming tough hikes in Beijing

You're viewing all our tough 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: tough hikes

Departure date: Saturday, August 26
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Big Camp Plate Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, August 30
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, September 2
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Yellow Grass Plateau and Seven Towers

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, September 9
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2017 Hiking Festival: The Challenge (24km+)

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, September 10
Book it

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, September 14
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall Extra

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Departure date: Saturday, September 16
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall and Big Camp Plate Challenge

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Departure date: Saturday, September 23
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Heituo Mountain Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, September 28
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, October 1
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Prove Your Loyalty

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Departure date: Monday, October 2
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The Pinnacle Tower

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Departure date: Saturday, October 7
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Quarrymen’s Trail to the Heavenly Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, October 7
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, October 14
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Hillwalking Challenge: Big Black Mountain to Moss Mountain

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Departure date: Saturday, October 14
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, October 19
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Saturday, October 21
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Big Camp Plate Village and Hengling Valley

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Departure date: Thursday, October 26
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, October 28
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Chinese Knot Great Wall

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Trip dates: September 13–17, 2017

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Trip dates: October 1–7, 2017

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Dunes in the Alashan Desert
Trip dates: October 2–5, 2017

Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia

In Brief: Travel by foot, camel, and jeep through the Alashan Desert to reach a beautiful Buddhist temple deep in the dunes. Includes a night camping in the desert, plus a visit to the Western Xia Imperial Tombs.

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