The Mines and The Pines
Hike up through a quarry and old mining site; pass through a stand of pines on the way to the small village where we’ll finish the walk.
Holiday hike! It’s the Tomb-Sweeping Festival holiday weekend, and we might get stuck in traffic at some point on the way to or from the hike. We recommend you don’t make fixed plans for the evening, just in case.
This is a great area for a walk, with plenty of greenery and well-formed trails. At this time of year we should be able to see a lot of blossoms in the hills.
We start off on a flat trail a little down the road from the Silver Pagodas and walk up a gravel road into the old quarrying and mining area. We think the area is officially closed, but on previous visits we’ve spotted people using machinery to push rocks and gravel about, and out the back of the quarry is a little hut where an old fellow keeps his bees. On our last visit we found they’d almost undermined his beehives!
The mines and quarry were a source of iron and steel ore, as well as a valuable type of red marble that used to be trucked off to Shandong Province to be made into ornaments for export. All that’s left now seems to be huge piles of gravel.
After walking up to the beekeeper’s house, we get on to the old mining road, a disused dirt trail that zig-zags up the side of the hill, passing closed-off mine passages and the piles of mine tailings from previous digs.
After we’ve passed all the mines we get to the pines part of the hike, following a narrow path between the trees.
We came through here in the opposite direction last summer and found it very overgrown, so we’ve been out twice in the last month to trim back the foliage – it’s still a wee bit bushy, but not too bad, and we’ll soon be through it and up on to the saddle at the top of the ridge.
There’s a good lookout point here, and we’ll be able to see the Silver Mountain and some of the small villages way back here in the hills.
We’ll be walking down towards one of those villages – Longevity Village – but we won’t get all the way there.
Just after we get down into the chestnut orchards that surround Longevity Village, we take a turn and start climbing up into the hills again, aiming for a crossing at a low point on the ridge line.
As we get closer to the point where we cross over the ridge, the trail starts to zig-zag as it climbs up the hillside, eventually rising to the saddle between two peaks—a good place for a rest!
From the saddle, we follow a largely disused trail down into the valley on the other side. This is perhaps the most scenic section of the hike, with steep hills on either side of the trail covered with plentiful greenery.
In some places the greenery is plentiful indeed, and overhanging branches and leaves make the trail narrow in places and somewhat scratchy. We recommend trousers and long sleeves for this hike.
Near the bottom of the valley, we pass through a nice narrow ravine before arriving at the village on the other side of the hill. Just before the village we walk along a narrow lane between brick buildings that are some sort of small factory. Depending on the mood of the workers, and the state of the gate, we might need to skirt around the buildings instead of strolling through.
This village is called Dongshuiyu – East Water Valley – and it’s where we’ll be finishing our hike today. Our bus will meet us near the town square (and exercise yard), and we’ll break out our picnic tables for drinks and snacks before heading home.
This hike is one of our old favourites, but we stopped doing it for a while because of the quarry and mines. But we’ve decided it’s ready for a re-run!
What to bring on this hike
- Lunch and snacks to eat
- Sun protection: hat, sunscreen, long-sleeved shirt
- Warm clothes in case it gets chilly
- Trousers to protect your legs from scratchy bushes
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- Parts of the trail could be very brushy and overgrown; you might need to duck under branches and leaves.
- The mines are all closed, but sometimes we meet people working heavy machinery to dig out rocks.
- There’s quite a bit of crossover on this hike with some of our other Longevity Village hikes.