For this walk we will visit Stone Gate Mountain Camp, a private camping area in the mountains just north of Huairou City.
It’s named Stone Gate Mountain for a large rock arch up on a cliff face.
The first part of the hike takes us up paved trails and stairs to the Stone Gate, where a lookout platform has been built. It’s fairly steep on the way up.
From the arch we continue through the hills to a small temple, by a valley road.
The easier version goes down that valley road and back out to the start point, crossing a few spots where the road was washed out by summer floods.
The longer version continues up the valley road to take a look at the waterfalls: one called the Big Sister, the other the Little Sister. There should be pools of water below the waterfalls right now, and we’ll probably see tadpoles and little frogs.
Farther up the road ends, and we get on to rough hill paths and trails to cross over at a pass and then through the hills and down into another valley.
The trail down to finish is long and tricky, with some very steep descents down wild gullies and crevices that require care to negotiate successfully. Parts of the trail are well-formed and pass through sparse forest, but there are long sections that zig-zag down narrow paths on brushy hillsides as well as the previously mentioned steep scrambles. (We wouldn’t be able to do this part safely in rainy weather and would change the plan.)