Cold temperatures, breezy: If you don't have suitable clothing for temperatures below -10°C combined with a strong breeze you might not enjoy being outside today! Contact us to check if you're not sure.
This day out in the country combines the physical challenge of a short-but-tough climb on the Great Wall with the luxury of a suburban hot springs resort.
Regular hikers: our trails in this area overlap quite a bit, and if you’ve done any of our Zhuangdaokou or Huanghuacheng hikes you may already have walked a lot of this trail.
On this hike we’ll hike a pretty-but-steep stretch of the Huanghuacheng ‘Yellow Flower’ Great Wall, following it over a big hill towards the Little West Lake, a reservoir in the hills of Huairou District.
To begin we’ll take a quick look at the thick walls of what was once a Ming Dynasty-era barracks, we’ll take an easy stroll through chestnut orchards on the way to a stretch of the nearby Huanghuacheng Great Wall.
It’s a pleasant twenty-minute walk through the orchards, and easy – a good thing, because we’ll have some steep climbs on the wall to warm up for.
We’ll stop for a rest as we reach the Great Wall, and will have time to climb a few towers of the restored section here. The restored section leads over to the other reservoir in the area, and it’s quite steep!
It’s not too tough to climb up to the first tower on the restored side, though, and by doing that you’ll get great views of the line of unrestored ‘wild’ Great Wall that we’ll be following to finish the hike.
After a steep climb on the last little bit of restored Great Wall we’ll be up onto the wild wall and climbing up to the highest tower in the area.
The trail is slippery in a few places, and we make a detour around a tricky section. We’ll take it slow as you like heading up, and we’ll take another break at the highest tower – an excellent place to take a few photos of the surrounding mountains.
We’ll follow the wall towards the Little West Lake, and on a clear day the views here are amazing, with a line of wall plunging down toward the frozen water of the reservoir.
Before the wall gets too steep we’ll branch off on to a hill trail that leads us down to the bottom of the hill, where our hike will finish.
After the hike, and lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll head for the hot springs, located about halfway back to the city. After about 45 minute’s driving through the hills we’ll be there!
Hot Springs Resort in Shunyi
We used to visit a tiny little private hot springs hotel in the Changping countryside, but they’ve ‘shut down for renovations’, as the saying goes. We think hot springs are great after a winter hike, so we found another larger resort, closer to the city, and part of a five-star hotel – really nice!
We’ll spend two hours at the hot springs resort, looking to head back to the city at or before 5pm.
At the resort there are more than 30 pools both inside and outside, and we’ll buy you a ticket that gets you access to the whole lot.
As well as the hot pools, there’s a swimming pool with lanes, steam rooms, sauna rooms, showers, and they say there’s even a pool filled with heated red wine.
The resort supplies towels, slippers, and lockers. You’ll need to bring your own swimsuit.
Food and drinks can be purchased inside the resort, but isn’t covered by the entry fee. Bring some small change in case you get hungry or thirsty.
What to bring on this hike
- Snacks to eat
- Warm clothes, gloves, and a hat
- Good hiking boots
- Swimming outfit (slippers and towels provided).
- A further change of clothes is optional.
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- While we're on the wall, the climbing is steep—both up and down.
- It's quite a short hike, and if you've done the Zhuangdaokou to the Walled Village hike you've done most of this one already.