This hike is a combination of two shorter trails: the Zhuangdaokou Great Wall West, and the Moss Mountain hike.
We first climb up a valley to get to the Zhuangdaokou Great Wall, and then follow it up and over a big hill. Then we’re on to farm roads and hill trails on the way towards Moss Mountain.
This could almost be rated a Level 3+ hike, but there is quite a bit of uphill, plus it’s going to be hot today! The middle section could also be rather jungle-y!
Part 1: Zhuangdaokou Great Wall West
We will start with a walk through some fields beside the river at Zhuangdaokou, crossing an unnecessary bridge to find the path up to the Great Wall. From the bridge it’s a short walk up a stone-paved trail to a big gate in the wall.
On one side, the wall is restored all the way to Huanghuacheng – the Yellow Flower Great Wall. On the other side, the wall is only restored for a little way. That’s the way we’re going, starting with a big stairclimb that will surely get you warmed up.
We’ll climbing up the wall for maybe a little less than an hour, passing through ruined towers. Eventually, we’ll come to a tower on a corner. Here we’ll take another break, offering the option to explore the wall a little further, before exiting from the tower to follow a hillside trail.
The hillside trail takes us down through pines before getting into some chestnut orchards, and we end up walking past the Walled Village, an old Ming Dynasty army barracks that has been converted into a little village, with courtyard houses inside the walls now instead of soldiers. .
Part 2: Moss Mountain hike
We’ll head up the concrete road 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.
As we come through the terraces, we’ll turn on to an old mining track that leads us out to the side of the road. This is where we expect to find our bus! We’ll board, and then it’s a short drive to one of our favourite countryside restaurants, where we’ll have a big meal before heading back to Beijing.
What to bring on this hike
- Plenty of snacks, maybe a light lunch
- 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)
- 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.
- We do a lot of this hike on another trail we call Big Black Mountain to Moss Mountain.
- We see a bit of Great Wall on this hike, but for most of the time we’ll be on hill trails and paths. Just 1.5km is on the wall, out of about 13km in total.