There’s a lot to see on our Immortal Valley Loop hike – many pools filled with clear spring water, waterfalls, big trees, wild flowers, some Great Wall, the Miyun Reservoir, and views of valleys and mountains. Much of the valley is shaded, and we will walk by pools and waterfalls that have frozen into fantastic shapes. This is a really scenic hike in winter because of all the icefalls – take a look through the trip reports at the end of the hike to get a look at what you might see out there.
On the hike we’ll follow a well maintained scenic trail up to an almost-800-metre peak, stopping for breaks along the way, and saving our lunch to eat at the peak while enjoying the view.
The first section of the trail is through a park and is lined with trees. A clear stream runs down through the valley, passing large granite boulders, forming natural pools, and flowing off cliffs in waterfalls that are up to twenty metres high. In winter the waterfalls freeze, making a beautiful scenic display. The park is also popular with ice climbers – we may spot quite a few teams making their way up the frozen cliffs.
After about twenty minutes’ walk up the concrete park trail, we’ll climb a steep set of stairs to reach an overlook on the the first of the big falls. The waterfall is fed by water from the small reservoir above, and used for ice climbing when it’s all frozen during winter.
From there we continue up Immortal Valley, passing pools of water and caves in the steep cliffs and taking a break at the ‘Big Buddha’ as we head for the shaded valley trail that will take us up to the top.
We’ll take a lunch break at the top, and will take our time to enjoy the views – a deep river valley on one side, the Miyun Reservoir on the other side, and mountains all around.
The next part of the hike takes us down a different way, following a pretty path along and down a ridgeline, passing under huge bouldery cliffs and through copses of chestnut trees, pines, and wild apricots.
Eventually we’ll join up again with the park trail used by regular visitors, and follow it back down to the carpark where we left our bus.
The full loop walk is long and challenging. We finish at the same place we set off from, so if you don’t want to walk the full 14 kilometers you can turn around at any place before the mid-point and follow the trail back down to where the bus parks.
Note: On some visits we find our usual trail down from the top is blocked off. No worry, though: there’s another trail down the other side of the valley, and it’s also a great option.