Upgraded to Level 4+! We did this hike with a group for the first time earlier in the year, and the feedback given was that it was more difficult than we thought. This time we're rating it a 4+, and it might be a little closer to a Level 5.
On this hike we make a big climb up and over the Yudu Mountains to get into the Sujia River valley. After a 4km hike down the river, we make another big –and steep! – climb out over the mountains to finish.
The climbs are tough, but we think it’s worth it – the views in the mountains and in the river valley are super scenic.
Yinmeng Temple was first built during the Liao Dynasty (907-1125 AD), and was maintained by both the Ming and Qing. After destruction by shelling during the war with Japan, the temple was repaired again in 2009.
We’ll hike up past the temple, stopping for a rest and hopefully a look about. The path up to the temple is well-formed, but it is a fairly tough climb—the hike starts off at about 500m, and the temple is at about 1,000m, which gives us an ascent of around 500m over just 2km distance. (That’s roughly the same as the big climb on our Great Wall Spur hike, if you’ve done that one.)
Past the temple the trail crosses a gap in the mountains, and then a lovely little trail takes us down to the river valley. The first part of the descent is fairly open, and there are excellent views of the mountains further north. Later on, we pass through a birch forest before coming out by the river.
Down by the river are the remains of a small settlement. It’s a little messy here, so after a quick look about the old houses we’ll hike further down the river to find a nice sunny spot for a lunch break.
After our break, we’ll walk on down the river. In most places it’s more like a stream. In summer, we’ll be able to cross over on the stones without getting our feet wet. In winter, we can walk on the ice!
The river flows into the Longqingxia Reservoir. Longqingxia is a scenic area well known for the tall cliffs above the reservoir, and as we hike further down the river we’ll start seeing some of those cliffs.
The water of the reservoir blocks the path out of the river valley, and the only way out is to climb back over the mountains.
The last climb is a tough one. The total ascent is similar to the first climb, but it’s steeper. Still, it’s not too bad, and a it’s good challenge for your leg muscles.
We cross over at another gap in the mountains and the views open up, with broad plains in front and more mountains further away. From here the trail is easier, following gentler slopes and ridgelines before taking us out through a small gorge to finish.
What to bring on this hike
- Packed lunch and snacks
- Warm clothes in case it gets chilly
- Rain jacket or poncho just in case
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- The last climb is a big one, and you have to finish it. No shortcuts!