Once upon a time, Longyunshan (AKA Dragon Cloud Mountain) was one of the many scenic areas hidden away in Beijing's mountains. Then, people stopped going, the park management ran out of money, the park entrance was boarded up, and everyone forgot about it. (Except for the film crews filming scenes from movies and TV shows up on top.)
The park is now back in business, and we’ll get look at the scenery on this hike.
We start off at the park gates, following a metal walkway down to the paths by the riverside.
The paths by the riverside take us below the cliffs and crags of Longyunshan, and there are trails that lead to the top. (Later, on the way back, we’ll offer the option to try those trails up to the top—the overlook of the river and cliffs is superb. But today we’re doing the ice hike part first.)
The paths by the riverside lead to fords in the river, where we cross through the water on summer hikes here. Today we’ll be stepping out on to the ice and from here we’ll be hiking mostly on the river instead of in it.
At this time of year the ice is about as frozen as it’s going to get.
Sometimes, we cross over ice that has frozen clear, and we can see all the way down to the bottom of the river. It's like walking on thick glass – a little unnerving, but very pretty!
In other places we’ll see open areas in the ice, with the river rushing below.
We’re going to hike up to the ‘Big Bend’, nearly 4km from where we first get on to the ice. We’ll hike on the ice where possible, and take side trails by the river to get around those areas of open water and other places where the ice isn’t thick enough to walk on.
The Big Bend is as far as we’re going to go up the river on this version of the hike. It’s not too far from where we’d usually come down from on the regular version of the hike. It’s also a good spot to stop for a lunch break—most of the trail is shaded by the cliffs, and the Big Bend is one of the only places that gives us a good chance of some sun for our lunch break.
After our break at the Big Bend we’ll hike back down the river, following roughly the same trail we took on the way up.
On the way back, we’ll offer you the option to climb up one of the trails to the top of Longyunshan. If you’re not feeling tired, definitely take that option. The views from the top are awesome. The climb has about 150m of elevation gain over just about 500m of trail – it’s fairly steep! (And if you’d prefer to take it easy, we’ll split up the guides team to take you back along the riverside to finish the walk.)