This 16km trail joins two of our Level 3+ hikes to make a nice tough hike through the hills of Changping District and Huairou District, following hill trails, country lanes, and Great Wall on the way to the end.
The first part of the hike is our High Rise trail, an old mining track from a small village that goes up and over a tall hill and then down past a few more valley villages.
The second part of the hike goes through the Little West Lake Park, and then up on to more Great Wall on the way to the Walled Village.
We begin the hike at the carpark of a small village in the hills of Changping District and then hike up the villagers' farm trails, heading for the mountains.
The track over the mountain is a pretty good one, with a big hill climb up an old mining track, peaking at almost 850m.
Brushy: this path is seldom used, and there are a few of those nasty thorn bushes along the side of the trail.
The trail transverses the higher part of the hill, and then heads down a steep zig-zag trail, passing through a valley filled with chestnut trees.
At the bottom of the valley the trail joins a concrete road, which leads to a larger village.
At the back of the village is a narrow path that runs up through orchards to join the first section of Great Wall that we'll follow.
The Great Wall is often built up and down incredibly steep hillsides; a highlight of this section is a special spot where the wall meets a cliff that forms a natural barrier, the steps of the wall leading up to a sheer cliff. Quite obviously we can’t go that way, so we’ll take a hillside detour, walking through chestnut orchards to get back on to our second section of wall for the day.
The second section of Great Wall continues much as the first, and a natural barrier will again force us off. This time, though, it's a valley that makes it difficult to continue, with the ruined wall making a steep descent into the valley. Instead of trying a dangerous descent over loose rocks and bricks dislodged by trees and weathering, we'll follow a thin dirt trail down the hill, into the valley, and then past the remnants of the wall as we head for the Little West Lake.
After getting on to the valley floor the walking is flat and easy, following park trails over a drawbridge and around the Little West Lake, actually a reservoir formed by a dam.
Coming out of the park, it’s time for another big hill climb, a steep and scrambly ascent that takes you up on to a rough section of unrestored Great Wall, then along it, and off again on a leafy and narrow trail that leads down to the Walled Village.
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.
What to bring on this hike
- Lunch and snacks to eat during the hike
- Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
- A bottle of sports drink with salt content (Gatorade, Pocari Sweat)
- Trousers to protect yourself from scratches in bushy areas
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- The first half of the hike follows a trail that could be overgrown, bushy, and a little scratchy.
- For parts of the hike we'll be following concrete village roads.