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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, August 15
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Thursday, August 16
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, August 18
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, August 18
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Great Flood hike

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Departure date: Sunday, August 19
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Intelligence Valley and Liyuan Library

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Departure date: Sunday, August 19
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, August 19
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Waste-Free Wall: Clean up the Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, August 22
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, August 23
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, August 25
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Big Camp Plate Village and Hengling Valley

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Departure date: Saturday, August 25
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, August 26
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, August 26
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White River hike

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Departure date: Wednesday, August 29
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Thursday, August 30
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, September 1
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Gubeikou West Circuit (Route 2)

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Departure date: Saturday, September 1
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: September 1–2 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, September 2
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Big Black Mountain to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Sunday, September 2
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, September 5
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, September 6
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, September 8
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Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge

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Departure date: Saturday, September 8
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, September 9
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, September 9
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Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

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Departure date: Wednesday, September 12
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, September 13
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, September 15
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Yellow Grass Plateau and Seven Towers

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Departure date: Saturday, September 15
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: September 15–16 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, September 16
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, September 16
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Shunyi Hikers: Yajishan Temple Circuit

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

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Departure date: Thursday, September 20
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, September 22
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Over the Hills to Dajuesi

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Departure date: Saturday, September 22
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, September 22
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Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, September 23
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, September 23
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Chinese Knot Great Wall

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Departure date: September 23–24 (Sun–Mon)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Monday, September 24
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Monday, September 24
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Triangle Hike

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Departure date: Wednesday, September 26
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, September 27
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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

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Departure date: Saturday, September 29
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Shuitou Village Loop hike

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Departure date: September 29–30 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, September 30
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Monday, October 1
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Over the Hills to Yaji Mountain

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Departure date: Monday, October 1
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Tuesday, October 2
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The Pinnacle Tower

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Departure date: Wednesday, October 3
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Wednesday, October 3
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Zhuangdaokou to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Thursday, October 4
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Friday, October 5
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop Hike

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Departure date: Friday, October 5
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Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, October 6
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The High Tower Loop hike

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Departure date: Saturday, October 6
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: October 6–7 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, October 7
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, October 11
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, October 13
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Heituo Mountain

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Departure date: Saturday, October 13
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, October 14
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, October 14
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Shunyi Hikers: Ming Village day trip

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Departure date: Wednesday, October 17
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, October 18
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, October 21
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, October 21
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Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, October 24
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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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: 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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Trip dates: August 15–19, 2018

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Trip dates: September 20–24, 2018

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Trip dates: October 1–7, 2018

Silk Road: Korla to Kashgar (7 days)

In Brief: Spend seven days on the Silk Road, heading west to Kashgar and travelling by jeep instead of camel through the vast empty areas of Xinjiang Province.

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