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Tomb Raiders hike and Ding Tomb’s ‘Underground Palace’

In Brief: Hike a hill trail in the mountains that form the feng shui barrier for the Ming Tombs; go underground at Ding Tomb, one of the largest of the thirteen Ming Tombs.

Tomb Raiders hike | A view from the high point of the hike

A view from the high point of the hike.

Key information

  • approx. 3 hours start to finish over 6km.

Hike best suited for kids aged 8 and up due to steep climbs and bushy sections

On this hike we'll climb an old hill trail in the mountains that form the feng shui barrier on the north side of the Ming Tombs in Changping District. The hill trail leads over the mountains, up to a lookout, out a valley past a small reservoir, and then on towards the tombs.

The first part of the trail doesn't see much use and parts of it get a little overgrown and bushy, but after we get to the first ridge it all opens up. During summer, we recommend wearing trousers and a long sleeved shirt to prevent scratches.

The trail leads up to a ridge, and then on to a peak where we’ll stop for a rest, and enjoy the panoramic views of the Ming Tombs area. On a clear day we can see quite a few of the tombs and how they are positioned in accordance with principles of feng shui.

From the top we can see two of the tombs that are not open to the public, and, depending on the weather, some of the other tombs may also be sighted. Our path down from the ridges leads towards them, following the valley down past a small reservoir, orchards, and some alert dogs. Once we’re back on flat land we will walk past the two tombs that were visible from the peak.

After we’ve finished the walk around the tombs, we’ll head to a local restaurant for a big lunch, and after lunch we’ll take a short drive to Ding Tomb for a tour.

A throne in the underground mausoleum at Ding Tomb
The throne of the Emperor, in the underground mausoleum at Ding Tomb. (Click for larger image)

Dingling: 'The Tomb of Stability'

Dingling is the tomb of the Wanli Emperor, Zhu Yijun, who reigned from 1573 until 1620. His tomb is one of the largest in the Ming Tombs area. The highlight of the tomb complex is definitely the 'Underground Palace' where he was entombed, 27 metres underground.

We’ll explore the grounds of the tomb before heading underground. As well as big halls and towers, old trees and gates, and, of course, big red walls, there is a small museum that contains replicas of some of the treasures found when the tomb was excavated.

What to bring on this hike

Reasons you might not enjoy this hike

  • The middle section of the trail may be a little brushy and scratchy.

More photos

Hiking out a valley
Hiking out a valley. (Click for larger image)
Hiking down to a reservoir
Hiking down to a reservoir. (Click for larger image)
A trail by the dam and reservoir
A trail by the dam and reservoir. (Click for larger image)
A view from the high point of the hike
A view from the high point of the hike. (Click for larger image)
Underground at Dingling
Underground at Ding Tomb. (Click for larger image)
A throne in the underground mausoleum at Ding Tomb
A throne in the underground mausoleum at Ding Tomb. (Click for larger image)
The museum at Ding Tomb holds some replicas of jewellery and clothing found during excavation
The museum at Ding Tomb holds some replicas of jewellery and clothing found during excavation. (Click for larger image)
The museum at Ding Tomb holds some replicas of jewellery and clothing found during excavation
The museum at Ding Tomb holds some replicas of jewellery and clothing found during excavation. (Click for larger image)

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

Level3

Level of difficulty

Level 3 hikes are the type we do most often. Level 3 hikes will take around 3 hours, and can be either reasonably easy, or challenging, depending on how often you exercise.

Is the level of difficulty suitable for me?

Hike statistics

  • Distance: 6km
  • Time to complete: 3 hours
  • Total ascent: 269m
  • Total descent: 366m
  • Start height: 237m
  • Peak: 481m
  • Finish height: 140m
  • Location: Changping
  • Drive time: 1.5–2 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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