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Hillwalking Challenge: Big Black Mountain to Moss Mountain

In Brief: An 18km trek through the Huairou hills, passing through terraced valleys full of chestnut trees.

Hikers walking through chestnut orchards

Passing by chestnut orchards near Big Black Mountain. View more photos »

Key information

  • 6–7 hours over around 19km.

UPDATE 2017/10/13: We might have to change the plan for this hike because of the big government meeting. Sign up if you’re interested, and we’ll keep you up to date about any changes. (The plan already changed a little bit - this hike has replaced the planned Big Plate to Hengling Valley trip.)

Bring your passport or ID card. There’s a big government meeting on, and you’ll need your ID if we are stopped at a security checkpoint.

For this long hike, we’re joining two of our good hillwalking trails to make a tough trek through the Huairou hills. There’s a reasonable amount of up and down on this hike, but most of the climbing is long and slow.

Part 1: Big Black Mountain hike

We begin our hike north of the Black Mountain and follow a farm trail through chestnut orchards up to a ridge, crossing over at the highest point on the whole hike. Before heading down the other side, we will have a short break and admire the view – Black Mountain behind, Great Wall in front.

The trail we follow is seldom used, and overgrown and bushy in places: trousers and a long-sleeved top will help you protect yourself from the worst damage of any scratchy bushes you encounter.

After descending and walking out a long valley, the trail meets a river. Close by to the river is an small network of tunnels, which we can explore with a torch. The tunnels were constructed during the 1960s, perhaps as a sort of bomb shelter, perhaps as a possible site for a field hospital, and were quite extensive before being blocked up.

From the river we’ll walk along a road and through some orchards on the way to another village. From this village we’ll have a short climb up to the to an archway in the Great Wall, which we’ll pass through on the way to the Walled Village.

Part 2: Moss Mountain hike

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.

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.

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. Eventually we join up with a park trail, and follow it out to the main road.

What to bring on this hike

  • Lunch and plenty of snacks
  • A backpack to carry your food and plenty of water
  • Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
  • A bottle of sports drink with salt content (Gatorade, Pocari Sweat)
  • 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

  • Some sections of the trail might be a little overgrown
  • Sections of the hike are on narrow concrete roads. The middle section includes a 10-minute walk along a road where we might meet cars.

There are risks involved in hiking. Please read our Risk Acknowledgment and Waiver and inform yourself before participating.

Level4+

Level of difficulty

Level 4+ will be difficult for people who are not used to hiking or are out of shape. Some level 4+ hikes are shorter, but very steep.

Is the level of difficulty suitable for me?

Hike statistics

  • Distance: 19km
  • Time to complete: 6–7 hours
  • Total ascent: 1209m
  • Total descent: 1108m
  • Start height: 280m
  • Peak: 783m
  • Lowest point: 243m
  • Finish height: 356m
  • Location: Changping
  • Drive time: 2 hours each way

Hikes in Beijing

We publish our hike schedule month by month, with updates around the 10th of each month.

If you're interested in hikes and trips during a month that's not yet listed, use our contact form to let us know and we'll send you a quick email when the schedule is online.

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