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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 View more photos »

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


Find a hike

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


All upcoming hikes in Beijing

Departure date: February 18–19 (Sun–Mon)
Standby

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

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Departure date: Sunday, February 18
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Monday, February 19
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Tuesday, February 20
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Zhuangdaokou to Moss Mountain

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Departure date: Tuesday, February 20
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Longqingxia Ice Festival and Tang Dynasty Caves

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

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Departure date: Saturday, February 24
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, February 25
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 28
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 3
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Yudu Mountains and Sujia River

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Departure date: Saturday, March 3
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: March 3–4 (Sat–Sun)
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Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron

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Departure date: Sunday, March 4
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Shunyi Hikers: Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, March 4
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 7
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, March 8
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, March 10
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Chinese Knot Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 10
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 11
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, March 11
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Big Black Mountain to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 14
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Thursday, March 15
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 17
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, March 17
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Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 18
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, March 18
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 21
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, March 22
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 24
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Longevity Village to the Ming Tombs (Route Two)

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Departure date: Saturday, March 24
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, March 25
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, March 25
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Tanzhe Temple and the Abandoned Village

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 28
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Thursday, March 29
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, March 31
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 31
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Great Flood hike

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Departure date: March 31–April 1 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 1
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, April 1
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Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 4
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, April 5
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War Tunnels and the old Gold Mines

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Departure date: Friday, April 6
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Great Wall: Gubeikou to Jinshanling (and a little Simatai)

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Departure date: Saturday, April 7
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The Mines and The Pines

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Departure date: Saturday, April 7
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: April 7–8 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 8
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop Hike

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 11
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, April 12
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, April 14
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Silver Pagodas to East Water Valley Village

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Departure date: Saturday, April 14
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, April 15
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 15
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Shunyi Hikers: Lily Village and the Silver Pagodas

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 18
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, April 19
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, April 21
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall and Big Camp Plate Challenge

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Departure date: Saturday, April 21
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: April 21–22 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 22
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Earth Day Cleanup: Jiankou Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 22
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Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 25
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Thursday, April 26
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, April 28
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Heituo Mountain Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, April 28
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: April 28–29 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 29
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The Pinnacle Tower

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Departure date: Sunday, April 29
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Monday, April 30
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Monday, April 30
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Lily Village to Flower Wood

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Departure date: Tuesday, May 1
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Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: May 12–13 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: May 19–20 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: June 2–3 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Great Wall Spur

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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

Monks unveiling a huge cloth thangka
Trip dates: February 27–March 2, 2018

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.

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More info »
Terraced hills covered with flowers
Trip dates: March 15–18, 2018

Wuyuan ‘Fields of Flowers’, Jiangxi Province

In Brief: See fields of yellow flowers and ancient river towns in southern China. Cultural focus, nothing too strenuous.

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Colourful costumes of the Zhuang ethnic group
Trip dates: April 4–8, 2018

Guizhou: Miao and Dong culture in the mountains (5 days)

In Brief: Hike between villages and enclaves in the mountains of Guizhou Province to get a up-close look at the well-preserved rituals, traditions, and architecture of the Miao and Dong (and more) ethnic groups.

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