A reasonably long but not too difficult hike that takes you up and down valleys and past terraced chestnut orchards and the remains of old stone houses, crossing the tumbled down remains of an extremely old section of Great Wall.
The village of Sancha is situated in the fork of three valleys and is a perfect starting and finishing point for a walk through an especially interesting piece of Beijing countryside.
At this time of year this hike would more properly be named as the Winter Valley Loop – still a good one!
Our hike will start with a walk through the village and up one of the valleys, passing small guesthouses and a trout farm restaurant. After we pass the restaurant we'll get on to the valley trail, following it up along a stream, past abandoned farmhouses, through a forest, and up to a grassy plateau with cornfields and apricot trees. This plateau is on the border of three Beijing districts – Changping, Yangqing, and Huairou.
From the plateau at the top of the valley we will walk up to the ridge, where we will find a remnant of Great Wall that is said to date back to the Northern Qi Dynasty (550–577). There's not much left of it now—just a line of piled-up rocks and stones.
The ridge trail loops back towards Sancha, and as we walk along we’ll be able to see the Pinnacle Tower on the distant Big East Mountain. After following the trail through meadows and up through a pine forest we'll reach the head of one of the other valleys that leads to Sancha Village, and head back down it to finish our hike.
Also interesting—this is the same Sancha Village mentioned in Peter Hessler’s book. We never did find the location of Wei Ziqi’s leech farm. And now the village is totally different, with all the old courtyard houses knocked down and replaced by modern buildings.
Because of the COVID-19 situation we have some extra terms and conditions for participation.
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.
DO NOT participate if you have not completed any required quarantine after your return to Beijing.