Home > Hike in Beijing

Not currently open for booking

This hike is not currently scheduled, and the information on this page may be incomplete or out of date.

Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

In Brief: Follow an ancient pilgrims' trail through the hills and forests of Mentougou District, finishing up with a look about Dajue Temple.

Hiking down through the forest to Dajue Temple

Hiking down through the forest to Dajue Temple.

Key information

  • 3–4 hours start to finish over 8.5km.

On this hike we'll follow an ancient pilgrim's trail over a high ridge, and finish the day with a visit to the one of the oldest temples in Beijing—cost of tickets included in the price of the hike.

We begin the hike at a village near the Miaofengshan Temple in the western district of Mentougou District, and hike up a hill trail to get on to a nice easy-going path that leads through the mountains. The initial climb will take approximately 40 minutes, and for the rest of the hike the path is either flat, downhill, or on a gentle uphill gradient.

The trail through the mountains first leads along a broad hillside and past a farmer’s house, on the way to a pine forest that is a good place to hunt for mushrooms and medicinal herbs. We sometimes see donkeys carrying loaded baskets when we walk through here. On the other side of the pine forest is a broad plateau where we’ll stop for our lunch break. Looking east from the plateau we can see the network of roads and small settlements that eventually lead toward urban Beijing.

After lunch, and a rest, we’ll follow a pilgrims' trail down to Dajue Temple. The trail is paved with rocks, and along the way we will pass the ruins of old teahouses that served refreshments to those travelling to the temples in the area. It's quite a peaceful area, and on previous visits we have seen people meditating, and playing flutes.

Dajue Temple was built in 1068 A.D., during the Liao Dynasty (916-1125 A.D.). The construction was reputedly overseen by a reformed eunuch – not reformed in the sense that he was ‘restored,’ moreso that he grew tired of his role in the intrigues of the court of Empress Dowager Cixi, found faith, and became a patron of local Buddhists.

A group inside a temple hall

A local expert explains the signficance of the figures in this hall of Dajue Temple.

More about Dajue Temple

Dajue Temple – the Temple of Enlightenment – was founded in 1,068 A.D., during the Liao Dynasty (916-1,125 A.D.). Since then, it has been expanded, repaired, and renamed several times. The majority of what can now be seen dates back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1358-1644 A.D. and 1644-1911 A.D.).

The dominant religion of the Liao was Buddhism. Many also worshipped the sun. Correspondingly, this is a Buddhist temple, and was built facing east, towards the rising sun.

The temple, when first constructed, was known as Qingshui, or Clear Water Temple, and the sparkling stream for which it was named still runs through the temple grounds. It has been known as Dajue Temple since reconstruction during the Ming Dynasty.

Built on a hillside, the temple complex is expansive, and contains much to explore: five major buildings and halls that contain shrines, scripts, wood-carvings, and buddhas and other figures, as well as ponds, stupas, stone bridges, and pavilions.

Huge and ancient trees are found within the grounds of the temple—old pines and cypresses inhabited by squirrels, 300-year old magnolia trees, and a huge and gnarled ginkgo tree that is nearly 1,000 years old.

What to bring on this hike

Reasons you might not enjoy this hike

  • This hike can be very tough on the knees because three-quarters of it is downhill. The paved trail down to the temple is long – from 1,000m down to 130m, over 7km.
  • We're going to take our time on the hike – no big hurry to finish today.

There are risks involved in hiking. Please read our Risk Acknowledgment and Waiver and inform yourself before participating.

Level3

Level of difficulty

Level 3 hikes are the type we do most often. Level 3 hikes will take around 3 hours, and can be either reasonably easy, or challenging, depending on how often you exercise.

Is the level of difficulty suitable for me?

Hike statistics

  • Distance: 8.5km
  • Time to complete: 3–4 hours
  • Total ascent: 347m
  • Total descent: 1,002m
  • Start height: 800m
  • Peak: 1,000m
  • Finish height: 130m
  • Location: Mentougou
  • Drive time: 2 hours each way

Hikes in Beijing

We publish our hike schedule month by month, with updates around the 10th of each month.

If you're interested in hikes and trips during a month that's not yet listed, use our contact form to let us know and we'll send you a quick email when the schedule is online.

Hike in Beijing calendar

See the Hike in Beijing schedule in our calendar


Find a hike

Great Wall hikesGreat Wall campingHillwalking hikesTough hikesEasy hikesShunyi hikesSee all the hikes »Calendar


All upcoming hikes in Beijing

Departure date: Saturday, December 15
Book it

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, December 15
Book it

Triangle Hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, December 16
Book it

Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, December 19
Book it

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, December 22
Book it

The High Tower Loop hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, December 22
Book it

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, December 23
Book it

‘Almost Christmas’ on the Great Wall: Hemp Village to Gubeikou

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Tuesday, December 25
Book it

Great Wall Christmas: Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, December 29
Book it

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, December 30
Book it

Great Wall Spur

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Monday, December 31
Book it

Immortal Valley Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Monday, December 31
Book it

Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Tuesday, January 1
Book it

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, January 5
Book it

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, January 5
Book it

Silver Pagodas to East Water Valley Village

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, January 6
Book it

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, January 9
Book it

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, January 12
Book it

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, January 13
Book it

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, January 19
Book it

Zhuangdaokou to Moss Mountain

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, January 19
Book it

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, January 20
Book it

White River Ice Hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, January 23
Book it

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, January 26
Book it

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, January 27
Book it

Great Wall Spur

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, January 27
Book it

White River Ice Hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, January 30
Book it

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, January 31
Book it

Shunyi Hikers: White River Ice Hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, February 2
Book it

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, February 3
Book it

Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Monday, February 4
Book it

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: February 6–7 (Wed–Thu)
Book it

Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, February 7
Book it

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, February 7
Book it

Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Friday, February 8
Book it

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Friday, February 8
Book it

Longqingxia Ice Festival and Tang Dynasty Caves

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, February 9
Book it

Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, February 9
Book it

White River Ice Hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, February 10
Book it

Great Wall Spur

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, February 16
Book it

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: February 16–17 (Sat–Sun)
Book it

Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, February 16
Book it

Longqingxia Ice Festival and Tang Dynasty Caves

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, February 17
Book it

Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, February 20
Book it

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, February 23
Book it

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, February 24
Book it

Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, February 23
Book it

Yinmeng Temple and Sujia River

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, February 27
Book it

Great Wall Spur

Read more about this hike »

Explore China

See more of China on a multi-day trip—travel to famous scenic areas, or choose to visit somewhere obscure and less well-known.

Upcoming trips

Bridges and pagodas in Lijiang’s Black Dragon Pool park
Trip dates: December 12–16, 2018

Lijiang and Shangri-La, Yunnan Province

In Brief: See the highlights of Lijiang and Shangri-La: cobbled streets and watercourses of ancient towns, Naxi and Tibetan culture, plus amazing views of snow-capped mountains. Cultural focus, nothing too strenuous.

Book trip
More info »
Lanzhou Danxia Landform
Trip dates: December 29–January 1

Lanzhou Danxia Landform, Yellow River Stone Forest, and Bingling Temple, Gansu Province (4 days)

In Brief: Head out to Gansu Province for a four-day trip that features hikes and walks around the Lanzhou Danxia Landform, the Yellow River Stone Forest, and Bingling Temple.

Book trip
More info »
Monks unveiling a huge cloth thangka
Trip dates: February 16–19, 2019

Labrang Monastery’s ‘Unveiling the Buddha’ Ceremony, Xiahe, Gansu Province

In Brief: Visit Xiahe to witness a giant Buddha tapestry being unveiled on the hillside above Labrang Monastery and to join the crowds watching the lively performances in the town square. Trip also includes hikes and walks in nearby grassland areas.

Book trip
More info »