This 21km hike combines two of our favourite countryside trails: the Train Tracks and Chestnut Orchards hike, and the Big Black Mountain to the Walled Village hike.
On this long countryside walk we’ll start out following old service roads and terrace trails, use a tunnel to pass below the train tracks, pay a brief visit to a tiny village, and finish up with a long walk through the orchards that fill the slopes of the hills opposite the Big Black Mountain.
Usually we finish here, but on this tougher version we’ll head north towards the Huanghuacheng Great Wall, walking up through more chestnut orchards to reach a pass on the ridgeline, and then following the hill trail that leads to Zhuangdaokou, and then on past a stretch of Great Wall and down to the Walled Village, a Ming Dynasty-era outpost that used to house soldiers tasked with defending the Great Wall..
While we don’t get up terrifically high on this hike we do make a lot of ascents and descents through all the valleys, which will give your legs a very good workout.
This hike starts off in the Ming Tombs area, and we’ll pass several of the tombs on the way to our starting point.
Train Tracks and Chestnut Orchards hike
In the mountains that run along the Changping-Huairou border there are many old trails that lead between the villages. These old trails are still used by locals to get to the terraces where crops are grown, but are seldom followed further than necessary.
We’ll walk on service roads and the old terrace and field trails, use a tunnel to pass below the train tracks, pay a brief visit to a tiny village, and take up with a long walk through the orchards and valleys that fill the slopes of the hills opposite the Big Black Mountain.
Eventually we’ll start getting close to the small village where we begin our Big Black Mountain hike, and we’ll join that trail, heading north towards the Zhuangdaokou Great Wall and the Walled Village.
Big Black Mountain to the Walled Village hike
Joining the Big Black Mountain trail, we’ll head north on a long gradual climb to a ridgeline lookout that offers views of Great Wall in the distance. We’ll descend on a zig-zagging dirt trail to walk through terraced valleys, passing a river and a small village before climbing up to a pretty stretch of Great Wall. If you’ve got the legs for it, you can take a short climb on the wall before heading down through more farmland to the Walled Village.
If we’ve got time, we’ll take a look around the Walled Village, a small settlement that has developed in and around an army barracks that used to house soldiers tasked with guarding the Great Wall in the Ming Dynasty.
We'll find our bus not far from the Walled Village, and we'll set up our picnic tables for snacks and drinks before heading back to Beijing.
What to bring on this hike
- Lunch and plenty of snacks to eat along the way
- Warm clothes
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)