This area covers a wide range of countryside scenery, including country trails and lanes, pine forests, orchards and farmland, and we may see some shepherds rambling about as well. Over the years we’ve found all the little trails and turns in the hills here, and if we find new fences or blocked paths (actually quite common!) we know all the ways to get around and back on track.
We start off near our favourite farm playground and follow a narrow path up the ‘little hill’. It’s a good way to get warmed up, with some short climbs up and down as we walk over to the other side.
On the other side of the little hill we’ll spot another hill that looks quite a bit higher, and after a quick walk along the road we’ll be on our way up the track that leads to the top of it.
It’s a constant climb on a gradual gradient, with a few short steep parts. It will take us around 45 minutes to get all the way to the top.
The top is a great spot for a visit, with lots to see all around: the Miyun Reservoir can be seen back behind us, the Yunmeng Mountains rise up off in the distance, and on very clear days we can see the circular Sunrise Hotel at Yanqi Lake and the skyscrapers of Beijing’s Central Business District.
We’ll hike down from the top and then out a valley, cutting through a birch plantation on the way and following narrow roads to the shepherds track that will take us up to the rim of ‘The Bowl’, another of the landmarks on this hike. The track that leads up to The Bowl is lovely for walking—an easy trail through empty hills.
After a rest at a spot that overlooks farmland encircled by steep hills we’ll head on to the end, hiking up and down along the rim of the bowl.
The hike ends with a hike out a long valley to finish by the side of the road.
This walk is quite long, but it's not difficult – aside from the hike up the ‘top trail’ there is not a lot of climbing up and down. The views are excellent, and the sparse population makes it a very peaceful area to walk in.
Note: the trail could get rather brushy in places – we recommend you wear trousers to protect your legs.