On this outing we’ll join two of our shorter trails to make a good long hike that will tak us through some very picturesque countryside scenery as we go over ridges, through fields and forests, and down long valleys as we make our way over the hills to arrive at a small village in the East Water Valley.
We’re going to keep a fairly steady pace on this hike to make sure we finish before it gets dark, and we will have a cut-off point at East Water Valley village. If you don’t make the cut-off point by a certain time you can ride the bus around to the finish. We’ll figure out the cut-off time based on how we’re going when we stop for lunch.
Flower Wood is a small roadside settlement, and we’ll start the hike with a stroll through its narrow streets. At the back of the village, a bridge crosses a dried riverbed, and a trail leads through the fields, heading for the hills.
The trail was made by villagers to make it easier to transport produce from the orchards in the hills. To begin with, it was a narrow dirt path; since then it’s gradually widened to allow the little blue three-wheeler trucks to get in. We’ll follow the trail up a long valley, walking through all the chestnut orchards on the way to the hill trail that will take us over the ridge.
At the top of the hill is one of the main landmarks of the area: an old, old pine tree, alongside a recently-built shrine. We’ll take a break here before continuing on to Lily Village.
The countryside around Lily Village is quite similar to that around Flower Wood, but the hills are much smaller. We’ll follow narrow dirt trails through more orchards on the way down to the village road.
From Lily Village we follow a concrete road up through fields, passing by a few reservoirs on the way to a low pass on a ridge. Crossing the ridge, we head down a narrow gully to reach the farmland on the other side, eventually arriving at a dirt road that will take us out past a hot springs hotel.
From the hot springs hotel it’s a short walk out to the main road, which we’ll cross quickly to get on to the second part of the hike.
After crossing over the main road we’ll walk up through a small village and on to a slowly ascending path through the countryside, passing an isolated shrine, fields, and concrete water reservoirs as we circle Holly Mountain.
We’ll walk into Longevity Village on the other side of the ridge, and we’ll follow dirt streets through its outskirts, walking past donkeys and old stone houses on the way to the chestnut orchards behind the village.
The trail takes us up into the hills behind the village and starts to zig-zag as it climbs up the hillside, eventually rising to the saddle between two peaks—a good place for a rest!
From the saddle, we follow a largely disused trail down into the valley on the other side.
Near the bottom of the valley, we pass through a nice narrow ravine before arriving at the village on the other side of the hill. Just before the village we walk along a narrow lane between brick buildings that are some sort of small factory. Depending on the mood of the workers, and the state of the gate, we might need to skirt around the buildings instead of strolling through.
From the factory, it’s a short walk down to the village carpark, which is where we’re making our cut-off point for the hike. If you’re good to go, we’ll head for the next hill. If not, our bus will drive you around to the end.
The next hill isn’t too bad – it’s a slow climb up a leafy valley, finishing with a 10-minute steep section to get up to the ridgeline. We follow a slightly bushy trail across the face of the hill, and then descend on a gravel trail, joining up with our Quarrymen’s trail. From there we continue past a small reservoir and two of the closed Ming Tombs on the way to where our bus will be waiting for us.
Shunyi Hikers: if we get at least six people joining from Shunyi we’ll send our van out to pick you up at Pinnacle Plaza. The van is all full up, no more spaces for the Shunyi pickup!
What to bring on this hike
- Lunch and plenty of snacks
- Warm clothes in case it gets chilly
- Rain coat or poncho, just in case
- Headlamp or torch, just in case
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not like this hike
- We’ll keep moving at a steady pace so we’re not too late getting back home after the hike.
- We’ll be on concrete paths and roads as we enter and exit some of the villages.