Before roads were built up into the mountains the villagers of Xi Changyu had to walk for two hours over the mountains to get to the nearest train station. On this hike we’ll follow part of the trail they used to take to catch the train.
The hike begins with a walk through a small village, following a path up through the fields, under an aqueduct, slowly climbing as we get closer to the trail that leads up to the ridge.
It will take us approximately forty-five minutes of climbing to reach the saddle on the ridge. We will take a break when we get there, and enjoy the open views on both sides of the ridge – looking back the way we came we can see hills and valleys stretching towards high mountains in the far distance; our path onwards leads towards more valleys, rolling hills, and a flat plain.
From the ridge we’ll follow a trail down into a valley, past caves, and alongside a stream. We’ll heading towards the villages of Xi Changyu and Dong Changyu. Both villages are clean and well looked after, with many houses built from a distinctive rust-coloured type of stone.
The names of the villages translate roughly as ‘West Long Valley’ and ‘East Long Valley’, and it’s the long valley we’ll follow on the way down and out.
After the second of the villages, we’ll follow another trail, ending up on a hill that looks out over old peach orchards. There used to be more peach orchards in the area, but it looks like some of the land out here is to be developed for housing. A pity!
We’ll hike down through the orchards to the next village, and then towards the dam of the Xiyu Reservoir, where there’s a nice spot for us to set up our picnic tables and beer box. There are also some interesting buildings built along the lakeside – one, a 5-star hotel that looks like the lair of a James Bond villain, and another, reputedly a ‘retirement’ home for government officials who have been caught doing something they shouldn’t have.
What to bring on this hike
- Lunch and snacks to eat
- Warm clothes in case it gets chilly
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- Villagers have concreted many of the old trails to allow easier access to their fields. On this hike, there are few stretches where we’ll be walking on concrete roads.