UPDATE 2013/11/07: Because of some traffic restrictions in the area, we’ll need to do this hike in the reverse direction. Please read this hike description backwards!
We’ve done a lot of hiking in this area and it’s one of our favourite spots for tough treks because the hills are nice and big, there are great views of the Great Wall and other scenery, and the area is, for the most part, free of people.
This particular hike starts in the ‘Long Valley Village’, the ending point of another hike we have in the area. The village was an important outpost during the Ming Dynasty, and contains a temple, a giant tree, and a mysterious shrine.
We’ll walk through the village as a warmup on the way to the start of our hike, the village reservoir. At the back of the reservoir is a good path that leads up through a forest to a road that follows the Beijing-Hebei border. The trail starts out fairly flat, but gets steeper on its way up to the road, finishing up with some steps.
After a rest on the border line we’ll set off into the mountains, heading for the High Tower, up at 1,440m above sea level. This tower is visible from other hikes we do in the same hills: east of the Big Plate Camp hike, and to the west of the Switchback Great Wall hike. This means we’ll have excellent views of the Great Wall on either side.
We’ll stop at the top for a lunch break and to enjoy the views before heading on again. We skirt a broken and slippery section of wall, and then follow it down for a little while before turning on to a zig-zag hill trail that leads down to the village roads and the carpark where we’ll meet our bus.
This is a moderately difficult hike on a cool day, and hot weather will make it extra-tough. We recommend this hike only for hikers with strong legs and a good level of fitness. In particular, the hiking after the high tower crosses areas of loose bricks and stones: good balance, a good head for heights, and strong hiking boots are required.
What to bring on this hike
- Plenty of snacks to eat
- Warm clothes, gloves, and a hat
- Waterproof jacket
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- We get up quite high on this hike, and the area is often very breezy. That means that this hike could be a very cold one, and we might need to keep our breaks quite short to avoid getting cold.