There's a lot to see on our Immortal Valley Loop hike – pools filled with clear spring water, waterfalls, big trees, wild flowers, some distant Great Wall, the Miyun Reservoir, and long views of valleys and mountains.
The first section of the trail is through a park and is well shaded by leafy 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.
After about twenty minutes' walk up the concrete park trail, we'll reach the tallest of the falls. It’s fed by water from the small reservoir above, and used for ice climbing when it's all frozen during winter. Fixed to the cliff face is a sketchy steel staircase which can be used to climb the cliff. If we're allowed to take the staircase we'll offer that option; more likely we’ll use the steps and stairs that go up to the observation point opposite the waterfall.
From there we continue up Immortal Valley, passing pools of water and caves in the steep cliffs and heading for the shaded valley trail that will take us up to the top.
We'll take a lunch break either at the ’Big Buddha’ or that the top viewpoint, depending on the timing.
After reaching the top of the park trail we’ll take our time to enjoy the views from the peak – 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.