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Cypress Wells Canyon and Yongning Town

In Brief: Follow a path through a scenic gully into an isolated and mostly abandoned old village; continue through the hills to find a short stretch of very old Great Wall. After the hike, take a stroll through the streets of Yongning Town, a countryside town with a long history.

Hikers on a road, with a broad view of a plain in front

Hikers on a road, with a broad view of a plain in front

Key information

  • 4 hours start to finish over 12km

Because this hike is mostly flat it’s fine for fairly active kids. If you’re not sure about the suitability, please get in touch with us.

The hike begins with a nice long, flat walk up the Cypress Wells Canyon. To begin with, the walls of the canyon are high and steep, but after a while the canyon starts to open up, and we’ll begin to get views of the surrounding mountains.

About midway through the hike we’ll reach a small, mostly-abandoned village. On previous visits we’ve only seen a few old gaffers about. Many of the houses are empty, and from the looks of things they have been empty for quite some time. Somewhat out of place amongst the stone and mud-brick houses are a set of strange hexagon-shaped shelters – perhaps the remnants of an experiment in tourism.

We’ll have a break and take time for lunch and a look about the village, and then continue, following a trail up through a pine forest, heading for a stretch of Warring States-era (476-221 BC) Great Wall. The wall continues up and over the ridges on either side, but is not really in good enough condition to make an enjoyable walk. Instead of following the wall, we’ll head down a valley trail and then walk out to the road where the bus will be waiting.

After a Beijing Hikers-style picnic at the bus, we’ll board and drive on to Yongning Town for a quick look about before heading home to Beijing.

What’s there to see on this hike?

  • A short stretch of ‘Warring States’ era (476-221 BC, before the Qin Dynasty) Great Wall, an old village with abandoned houses, and mountains and forests.
  • A big tower in Yongning Town, and a strangely-sited Catholic church.

What to bring on this hike

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: 12km
  • Time to complete: 4 hours
  • Total ascent: 642m
  • Total descent: 627m
  • Start height: 634m
  • Peak: 946m
  • Finish height: 652m
  • Location: Yanqing
  • Drive time: 2–2.5 hours

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


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All upcoming hikes in Beijing

Departure date: Wednesday, October 24
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Thursday, October 25
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, October 27
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Yudu Mountains and Sujia River

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Departure date: Saturday, October 27
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, October 28
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, October 28
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Waste-Free Wall: Clean up the Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, October 31
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, November 1
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, November 3
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Chinese Knot Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, November 3
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, November 4
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, November 4
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 7
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, November 8
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, November 10
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Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, November 10
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, November 11
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Sunday, November 11
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Silver Pagoda Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 14
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, November 15
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, November 17
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Over the Hills to the Ming Tombs

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Departure date: Saturday, November 17
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, November 18
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Sunday, November 18
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Shunyi Hikers: Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 21
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, November 22
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, November 24
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Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, November 24
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, November 25
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 28
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Thursday, November 29
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Saturday, December 1
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, December 2
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, December 5
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, December 8
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High Rise to Longquanyu

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Departure date: Saturday, December 8
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, December 9
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, December 9
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Silver Pagoda Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, December 12
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, December 15
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, December 15
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Triangle Hike

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Departure date: Sunday, December 16
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, December 19
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, December 22
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The High Tower Loop hike

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Departure date: Saturday, December 22
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, December 23
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‘Almost Christmas’ on the Great Wall: Hemp Village to Gubeikou

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Departure date: Tuesday, December 25
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Great Wall Christmas: Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, December 29
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Sunday, December 30
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Monday, December 31
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Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: Monday, December 31
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Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Tuesday, January 1
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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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

The lights of Fenghuang Ancient Town, Hunan
Trip dates: November 15–18, 2018

Fenghuang Ancient Town and Fanjing Mountain (4 days)

In Brief: See Hunan’s beautiful Fenghuang Ancient Town; summit Guizhou’s 2,572m Fanjing Mountain; see Tujia and Miao customs and culture.

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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.

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