This hike starts from a village close by to Miaofeng Temple, in Beijing’s West Mountains. We’ll follow part of an old pilgrims’ trail along a ridge with excellent views, up to a plateau, then up and along the Vulture Rock Ridge.
We have other hikes in the same area that start or finish in this village, and we’ll cross some of those trails along the way.
From the carpark in the middle of the village we’ll follow the main road up towards their orchards and terraces, turning off to head up a steep and twisting mountainside trail. Halfway up we’ll join one of the many pilgrim trails in the area, a roughly paved path that heads up to a saddle above the village.
From the saddle we’ll follow a trail along the hillside, enjoying the open view of the surrounding mountains, and perhaps meeting some donkeys and firewardens. The trail takes us all the way along the ridge, then down a valley and through a straggly pine forest, passing the house of the local firewarden boss.
The path through the pine forest will take us to a gently rising plateau, where we’ll stop for a snack, rest, and a look around.
A trail leads up the plateau and along Vulture Rock Ridge. At first it’s a broad gravelly trail along an old firebreak, which then meets a new road that was built up to the lookout point up top.
We’ll follow that road for a little while, and then get back on to hill trails to reach the highest point on the hike, at an altitude of 1,265m. The views are worth the climb – mountains all around, and views of the flat area that is slowly being filled by Beijing’s urban sprawl.
From the peak we continue along the ridgeline, and arrive at a fork in the trail – to the right, the trail down the Beijing side of the hills; to the left, the trail that will take us back to the village where we started.
This next section of the hike is scenic, but can get bushy in summer. We follow a dirt path that winds through forest and below craggy outcrops, passing the ruins of an old teahouse that used to serve pilgrims following this trail between temples.
A short walk past the teahouse and we’ll arrive at the road that leads down to the village where we’ll finish the hike.