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White River hike

In Brief: Stay cool in summer with a hike that will get your feet wet, fording the river on this long and level canyon hike that passes beneath tall cliffs.

White River hike | Fording the White River

Crossing at one of the fords on the White River.

Key information

  • 3–4 hours of hiking over approx. 12km.

Note: If the river level is raised because of rain we might not be able to hike. We’ll check in with our local contacts on the Friday before the hike. There are now a few trails around the deepest crossings, so we should be good to go. There is one deep pool to wade through, and the shallowest part is about 70-80cm deep.

On this slightly different version of our White River hike we skip the commercial end of the river and start instead with a walk down to the river via a scenic area, joining the trail at the ‘big bend’ in the river.

After an interesting drive through the mountains of Miyun, we’ll pull up at a small scenic area that is the starting point of this hike. We’ll follow the park trails down to the riverside, walking down through a forested canyon.

We’ll be following the river as it winds through a deep and wide canyon with numerous forks and steep rocky cliffs, making this an extremely picturesque hike that is easy to finish as long as you don’t mind getting your feet wet crossing the river.

By avoiding the commercial end of the river we also skip most of the stepping stones and bridges, so for most of the crossings it’s off with the shoes as we wade across. The water is usually neither deep nor fast, and will freeze over in winter.

At times, the trail leads us through trees, but for most of the walk we’ll follow the course of the river. It’s flat the whole way, and the only thing that really makes this a long day is the need to take off our shoes at various crossings of the river.

Taking a break by the river
Taking a break by the river. (Click for larger image)

What’s to see?
A running river, impressive tall and steep cliffs made from massive slabs of rock and boulders, pine trees, grassy dried riverbed, geese and rocks reflected in pools of water.

We recommend that you bring a pair of sport-type sandals to protect your feet from rocks during river crossings. It’s possible to cross barefoot, but the bottom of the river is rocky and a bit hard on the feet. If the sandals you wear don’t have straps to hold them to your feet, there’s a good chance you’ll lose them!

What to bring on this hike

  • Lunch and snacks to eat
  • Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
  • Waterproof jacket
  • A bottle of sports drink with salt content (Gatorade, Pocari Sweat)
  • Good hiking boots
  • Sandals to use for crossing the river
  • A change of clothes to leave on the bus
  • (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)

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: 3–4 hours
  • Start height: 247m
  • Finish height: 208m
  • Location: Miyun
  • Drive time: 2 hours each way

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

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Departure date: Thursday, March 28
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Departure date: Wednesday, April 3
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Departure date: Sunday, April 7
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In Brief: See fields of yellow flowers and ancient river towns in southern China. Cultural focus, nothing too strenuous.

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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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