Take a ramble through bouldery valleys and along hill trails and farmers’ roads, starting at Moss Mountain, passing a carved Buddha in an old quarry, before walking out a long road through a valley full of chestnut orchards to finish by the Walled Village.
We might not be able to get inside the Walled Village on this visit because of you-know-what. We’ll walk past on the way to the end of the hike and see if we can get a look inside.
Moss Mountain is the local name for the granite peaks behind a little park area north of Huanghuacheng, and you can see the cliffs and crags of the mountain from the high parts of a lot of our hikes in this part of Beijing.
It’s a funny little park – sometimes open, sometimes closed – and we’ll start the hike from the ‘back door’ to be sure we can get on the trail.
The back door trail gets us on to the main park trail just before all the steep steps and stairs up through the most bouldery and scenic part of the park.
Behind all the boulders a flatter trail leads up a washed out valley towards terraced chestnut orchards that were farmed by locals in previous years. We’re not sure if they are still farmed—with the valley tracks washed out it must be difficult to get the loads of chestnuts out to the main road.
We’ll be following the valley up to cross over at a gap in the cliffs.
After crossing over at the gap, a well-formed track will take us down through old-growth forest, passing a giant pine tree and coming out the back of the remains of a rock quarry.
In the rock quarry we’ll spot a huge boulder with a Buddha carved into it, and if the timing has worked out, this is where we’ll stop for a lunch break.
The hike then continues down a dirt road, passing another optional detour—this time, a short walk up to the restored (and closed, and not super-interesting) White Cloud Temple—and then on and out past the Walled Village.
The Walled Village is a small settlement that has sprung up in and around an old army barracks that used to house soldiers tasked with guarding the Great Wall. The walls remain in good condition, and it’s possible to walk along the top of the walls just about all the way around the village. The village inside the walls is full of courtyard houses, old trees, and grindstones.
After we’ve finished investigating the village (if it’s open to visitors) we’ll walk out to the main road to finish the hike.