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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: Saturday, December 15
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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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Departure date: Monday, December 31
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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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Departure date: Saturday, January 5
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, January 5
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Silver Pagodas to East Water Valley Village

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Departure date: Sunday, January 6
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, January 9
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, January 12
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Sunday, January 13
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, January 19
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Departure date: Saturday, January 19
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, January 20
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White River Ice Hike

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Departure date: Wednesday, January 23
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, January 26
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, January 27
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, January 27
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White River Ice Hike

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Departure date: Wednesday, January 30
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, January 31
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Shunyi Hikers: White River Ice Hike

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Departure date: Saturday, February 2
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Sunday, February 3
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Monday, February 4
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: February 6–7 (Wed–Thu)
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Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron

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Departure date: Thursday, February 7
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, February 7
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Friday, February 8
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Friday, February 8
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Longqingxia Ice Festival and Tang Dynasty Caves

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Departure date: Saturday, February 9
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, February 9
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White River Ice Hike

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Departure date: Sunday, February 10
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, February 16
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: February 16–17 (Sat–Sun)
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Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron

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Departure date: Saturday, February 16
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Longqingxia Ice Festival and Tang Dynasty Caves

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Departure date: Sunday, February 17
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 20
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, February 23
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, February 24
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Saturday, February 23
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Yinmeng Temple and Sujia River

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 27
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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.

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Trip dates: December 12–16, 2018

Lijiang and Shangri-La, Yunnan Province

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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.

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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.

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