This hike starts by the Walled Village, a converted army barracks that used to house soldiers tasked with guarding a nearby stretch of Great Wall. For a long time it seemed as though the village would end up deserted, but it’s showing more signs of life now, with some renovations and construction making it seem a bit more busy. We’ll stop for a quick peek inside the walls on the way by.
We’ll walk on from the village, first following the concrete roads that service the villagers’ chestnut orchards and then turning off on to a gravel road that heads up towards a quarry.
Before the turnoff for the quarry we’ll make a quick detour to take a look at what locals reckon is the original White Cloud Temple in the Beijing area*. It’s just ruins now, but we’ll see what we can find, and we’ll also make a circuit of a ginkgo tree that is more than 500 years old and has been declared a “Level One Natural Treasure” by the government.
The quarry is sometimes busy, sometimes not. On previous visits we’ve seen quarrymen cracking the rocks with hammers and crowbars, and we’ve also watched with interest the ongoing construction of a mysterious stone stairway. We’ve never had time to investigate what might be at the top – too many stairs!
Behind the quarry a brushy trail leads uphill and into a forest, and deep in the forest we’ll find a small shack right next to a huge pine tree. We’ll stop here for lunch – a fairly quick break, given that it’s going to be fairly chilly!
From the pine tree the path leads further up into the forest, crossing at a pass on a ridgeline and descending into an area of orchards, terraces, and rocky hills.
As we come through the terraces, we’ll turn on to an old mining track that leads us out to the side of the road. We’ll meet our bus there, and take a quick drive to a countryside restaurant where we’ll warm up again with light snacks and hot soup before heading back to Beijing.
* There’s another White Cloud Temple in Beijing city that dates back to the eighth century, and as one of “The Three Great Ancestral Courts” of the Complete Perfection School of Taoism, and being titled “The First Temple under Heaven” the Beijing city White Cloud Temple might win the argument.
What to bring on this hike
- Lunch and snacks to eat
- Warm clothes, gloves, and a hat
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- The middle part of the hike could be overgrown and bushy.