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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

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All upcoming hikes in Beijing

Departure date: Saturday, November 25
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Departure date: Saturday, November 25
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Departure date: Sunday, November 26
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Departure date: Wednesday, November 29
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, November 30
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Departure date: Saturday, December 2
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Departure date: Saturday, December 2
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, December 3
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Departure date: Wednesday, December 6
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Departure date: Saturday, December 9
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Departure date: Saturday, December 9
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Departure date: Sunday, December 10
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Departure date: Sunday, December 10
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, December 13
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Hemp Village to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, December 16
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Longevity Village to the Ming Tombs (Route Two)

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Departure date: Saturday, December 16
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, December 17
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, December 20
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, December 23
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, December 24
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Christmas Eve on the Great Wall: Hemp Village to Gubeikou

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Departure date: Wednesday, December 27
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, December 30
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Longquanyu Loop and Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, December 31
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Immortal Valley Loop

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

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Departure date: Monday, 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.

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Trip dates: November 22–26, 2017

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The colourful mountains of the Lanzhou Danxia Landform
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The colourful mountains of the Lanzhou Danxia Landform
Trip dates: December 8–10 (Fri–Sun)

Lanzhou Danxia Landform, Yellow River Stone Forest, and Bingling Temple, Gansu Province (3 days)

In Brief: Head out to Gansu Province for a three-day trip that features hikes and walks around three scenic spots near Lanzhou.

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