Vulture Rock Ridge and the Yangtaishan Pilgrim’s Trail
A variation of our Vulture Rock Ridge Loop hike, finishing by hiking down the main pilgrim’s trail on the Beijing side of the hills instead of completing the loop. Great views and hill climbing exercise.
A long descent to finish. 4–5 hours start to finish over 12km (Can I do it?)
This is a variation of our regular Vulture Rock Ridge Loop hike where we follow an old pilgrim’s trail down the Beijing side of the mountains to finish the hike, instead of doing the loop. We’ll walk all of Vulture Rock Ridge and then follow what was the main pilgrim’s trail down through the forested hills on the Beijing side of the ridge.
This hike starts from a village close by to Miaofeng Temple, in Beijing’s West Mountains. The temple is high up on a hill above the village.
From the carpark in the middle of the village we’ll follow the main road up towards their orchards and terraces, turning off to head up a steep and twisting mountainside trail. Halfway up we’ll join one of the many pilgrim trails in the area, a roughly paved path that heads up to a saddle above the village.
From the saddle we’ll follow a trail along the hillside, enjoying the open view of the surrounding mountains, and perhaps meeting some donkeys and firewardens. The trail takes us all the way along the ridge, then down a valley and through a straggly pine forest, passing the house of the local firewarden boss.
The path through the pine forest will take us to a gently rising plateau, where we’ll stop for a snack, rest, and a look around.
A trail leads up the plateau and along Vulture Rock Ridge. At first it’s a broad gravelly trail along an old firebreak, which then meets a new road that was built up to the lookout point up top.
Where the trail meets the new road is also where we meet up with that main pilgrim’s trail, and after everyone has arrived we’ll start hiking on down.
The top part of the pilgrim’s trail is narrow and winds across the hillside, passing below cliffs and by rocky outcrops, and offering great views of the west side of Beijing.
Further down the trail goes through forest, and eventually broadens into a wide path paved with flagstones.
We’ll end up walking out through the gardens of the Yangtaishan Scenic area to finish the hike.
COVID-19 and participation precautions
The brief version:
Please DO NOT participate if you are sick or showing symptoms of fever and/or have an elevated temperature, or have been in close contact with someone who was/is.