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Yellow Grass Plateau and Seven Towers

In Brief: Hike up to the scenic Yellow Grass Plateau and cross it to find the 'Seven Towers'.

Huangcaoliang 'Yellow Grass Plateau' | Hiking on the ridges above the Yellow Grass Plateau

Hiking on the ridges above the Yellow Grass Plateau.

Key information

  • 6–7 hours start to finish over approx. 18km

UPDATE 2019/4/24: Local friends tell us the trailhead is shut down until October. We're doing the Pinnacle Tower hike instead.

UPDATE 2019/4/22: We might not be able to do this hike because of fire restrictions in the area. Sign up anyway, and we'll let you know if there's any change to the plan.

A tough two-hour climb gets us up on to the Yellow Grass Plateau, high in the mountains of Mentougou. We'll take a break on the high altitude meadows before hiking on over the plateau to the Seven Towers, the highest Great Wall in Beijing Municipality. After a look about at the towers we head back to the start point, following a slightly different trail on the way down.

Extra early start This hike is way out to the west of Beijing, and the drive time could be around three hours. We're leaving early to get ahead of any traffic, and to be sure we have enough time to complete the hike.

The hike

The first part of the hike is a two hour walk uphill along a road, up park steps, and through rocky crags along a mountain trail to a plateau at 1,700m above sea level.

It’s a big climb, and it gets steeper just before we reach the plateau. We'll take a turn to walk over to the large meadows of Shiliping, and should arrive there just in time for a lunch break.

The plateau has a lot of nice flora, including ferns, bracken, flowers, and long grass. Dong Ling Shan – at 2,303m above sea level the highest mountain in the Beijing area – is visible to the west.

At this point, most of the uphill for the hike is done, but we’ve still got a long way to walk before we finish!

Looking out over the mountains of Mentougou District
Looking out over the mountains of Mentougou District. (Click for larger image)

The next part of the hike is very scenic: first hiking up and over the highest hill in the area to find to the open trail across the plateau, and then dipping down into a forest atop rocky crags.

After about an hour and a half of walking we’ll arrive at the Seven Towers, an isolated stretch of Great Wall that is at an altitude of about 1,600m above sea level – the highest in Beijing.

We'll take a break here before heading back to the start point of the hike. On the way down from the plateau we'll take the 'Big Road' for some different views on the way down.

What to bring on this hike

  • Lunch and plenty of snacks to keep your energy up
  • Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
  • A bottle of sports drink with salt content (Gatorade, Pocari Sweat)
  • A waterproof jacket in case the weather changes
  • Strong and comfortable hiking boots
  • (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)

More photos

Passing below 'Elephant Rock', on the way up to the plateau
Passing below 'Elephant Rock', on the way up to the plateau. (Click for larger image)
Part of the plateau named '10-Li Flats'
Part of the plateau named '10-Li Flats'. (Click for larger image)
High up at Huangcaoliang, the 'Yellow Grass Plateau'.
High up at Huangcaoliang, the 'Yellow Grass Plateau'. (Click for larger image)
On the trail in autumn
On the trail in autumn. (Click for larger image)
A Great Wall tower on the edge of a cliff
A Great Wall tower on the edge of a cliff. (Click for larger image)

There are risks involved in hiking. Please read our Risk Acknowledgment and Waiver and inform yourself before participating.

Level5

Level of difficulty

Level 5 hikes are physically challenging, and suitable for experienced hikers in good shape.

Is the level of difficulty suitable for me?

Hike statistics

  • Distance: 18km
  • Time to complete: 6–7 hours
  • Total ascent: 990m
  • Start height: 876m
  • Peak: 1,658m
  • Location: Mentougou
  • Drive time: 2.5–3 hours each way

Hikes in Beijing

We publish our hike schedule month by month, with updates around the 10th of each month.

If you're interested in hikes and trips during a month that's not yet listed, use our contact form to let us know and we'll send you a quick email when the schedule is online.

Hike in Beijing calendar

See the Hike in Beijing schedule in our calendar


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