Great Flood hike | Hiking up a bouldery canyon
Hiking up a boulder-filled canyon.

Great Flood hike

Follow a hiking trail that joins two river canyons, crossing at a pass in the Miyun mountains.

Level 4
A long climb that gets steeper near the top; some boulder hopping and possible wet feet. 4 hours start to finish over 13km (Can I do it?)

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We almost named this hike "The Goat’s Trail" after the many herds of goats we saw while scouting the route. Along the way we will pick a path up a bouldery canyon, follow rivers, climb a steep valley, walk through grassy meadows, and see a village that was abandoned after a particularly large flood and is now being resettled.

We'll start from the Bai Village in Miyun, and hike up a big canyon. In the past this water coming down the canyon must have been very powerful – the dry riverbed is wide in places, and there are a lot of big boulders and steep drops. A stream still runs down the middle of the riverbed through most of the year, and it would be quite hard to follow our trail after a big rainfall.

After thirty to forty minutes of walking we will leave the river and head uphill on a valley trail. From here until the pass through the saddle at the top of the mountain we'll be in prime goat-spotting territory, a popular place for the shepherds to bring their herds because of the thick grass and foliage in the valley.

The climb is quite steep in places, and we will stop for a rest a few times on the way up. The trail is well-shaded by all the leaves of the trees, but it gets bushy and humid in summer.

Fallow meadows in a broad valley
Fallow meadows in a broad valley. (Click for larger image)

Once we reach the saddle we'll head down the other side of the mountain to Duijiahe Village. This side of the mountain is quite different to the other side – it’s not as bushy, and looks more like pasture. There are still plenty of goats on this side, as well as a very small quarry. Several unsplit boulders remain in the quarry and we can see on them evidence of the technique used to break off slabs for building walls and houses.

The trail through the pasture leads to the riverside village of Duijiahe. Duijiahe was a small settlement, and was abandoned after the flood destroyed the road. For a long while it was inhabited by just one man and his dogs.

Repairs to the road were made in 2010, and it's now possible to drive a small van all the way up to the village. A much better state of affairs than before, when it was only possible to deliver supplies by donkey.

2019 road washout—the road into Yunmeng Gorge was washed out again in 2019, and it’s still not fully fixed. We haven’t been able to do this hike since then (because of Covid-19-related restrictions in the first village), but our local contacts say it’s possible to walk out. We might have to walk out a bit farther than usual if the bus isn’t able to drive all the way up to meet us.

After a look around the village we'll follow the river downstream to our finishing point. As we walk we'll see evidence of the flood – washed-out roads and bridges, and eroded cliff sides. We'll also be able to see Great Wall towers on the cliffs and ridges, including the Round Tower from one of our other hikes. There is also a cliff where we sometimes see people abseiling down a waterfall.

COVID-19 and participation precautions

The current precautions are minimal. Please read in full here: Operating hikes under COVID-19 precautions

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Photos and trip reports: Great Flood hike

  1. Great Flood hike, 2022/07/02

    Great Flood hike, 2022/07/02

    No one had hiked this track for more than a year, and the first half of the walk featured overgrown trails, slippery rocks and washouts, and aggressive hornets. It opened up on the other side of the hill, thank goodness. See sixteen photos.
  2. Great Flood hike, 2021/10/16

    Great Flood hike, 2021/10/16

    This hike involves a lot of boulder-hopping and track finding, this time especially so after trail damage caused by the heavy rains during summer—see 18 photos of rocks, boulders, streams, and cliffs on a big blue sky day
  3. Great Flood hike, 2019/10/20

    Great Flood hike, 2019/10/20

    The Great Flood hike takes us up one canyon, up and over a pass in the mountain, and then down and out a different canyon to finish—see 30 photos from the hike, including autumn colours, big boulders, and some damage from the summer floods.

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