- 5–6 hours start to finish over 16km
Note: Could get cold! We’re quite high up for a lot of this hike, and with strong winds the temperatures could go low. Warm clothes required.
This hike starts from a village close by to Miaofengshan 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.
At this time of year the scenery should be starting to get nice and green, with flowers starting to bloom.
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 first peak 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, down steeply to pass the ruins of an old teahouse, and then back up on to the ridgeline that will take us up to the peak of Miaofeng Mountain—a steady climb with a few really steep sections that takes us up to 1,277m above sea level. It’s a scenic trail, but can get bushy in summer.
From the peak we follow a gravel trail down, sneaking through the side of the Miaofengshan temple and then down a paved stairway to finish the loop.
What to bring on this hike
- Lunch and snacks to eat
- Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
- A bottle of sports drink with salt content (Gatorade, Pocari Sweat)
- Rain jacket or poncho just in case
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- There are some big climbs, and will be tough on a hot day.
- We’re often exposed to strong winds up on the ridge.
- Parts of the trail will be brushy and scratchy.
- If you’ve done our Vulture Rock Ridge loop hike, you’ve already been on the first 2/3 of this trail.