Home > Trip Reports

Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

In Brief: Forty-seven photos of a hike through Big Camp Plate Village and then down Hengling Valley. Some of the best weather this year!

Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Long views from the peak of the hike.

While we are no strangers to the Big Camp Plate area, we usually make it a loop hike. On this trip we tried out a new trail down from the top, finishing with a long walk out a wild valley to finish near Hengling Village.

The weather was near perfect on this trip: clear skies, almost perfect weather, and a nice breeze to top it all off.

Scroll down to see all the photos.

Getting ready to hit the trail - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Getting ready to hit the trail.

Great views down below - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Great views looking back.

The concrete road leads to Big Camp Plate village, which is encircled by old Great Wall - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The concrete road leads to Big Camp Plate village, which is encircled by old Great Wall.

The wall overlooks the villages far below - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The wall overlooks the villages far below.

Terraced fields near the Big Camp Plate village - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Terraced fields near the Big Camp Plate village.

A couple of farm houses just outside the village - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

A couple of farm houses just outside the village.

At the start of the village - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

About to enter the village.

Nuts drying in the sun - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Nuts drying in the sun.

A dirt road marks the back end of the village - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

A dirt road marks the back end of the village.

Stopping to enjoy the view, with Guanting Reservoir seen far below - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Stopping to enjoy the view, with Guanting Reservoir seen far below.

The wall marks the boundary of the farming area for Big Camp Plate. Beyond the wall are sheer cliffs - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The wall marks the boundary of the farming area for Big Camp Plate. Beyond the wall are sheer cliffs. And all that smog in the distance is seeping down from Zhangjiakou, where some of the events will be held during the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The campsite we use for overnight hikes lies at the end of the dirt road - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The campsite we use for overnight hikes lies at the end of the dirt road.

Sunflower - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Sunflower.

The rough dirt road leads out through fields - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The rough dirt road leads out through fields.

Crabapple trees in grassy fields by the wall - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Crabapple trees in grassy fields by the wall.

We hiked up towards the wall, heading for the spot we use for camping - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

We hiked up towards the wall, heading for the spot we use for camping.

This stretch of wall has great views of the valley - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

This stretch of wall has great views of the valley.

We stopped here for a break to enjoy the view - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

We stopped here for a break. It's a good lookout point.

Instead of following the wall we hiked down into a narrow valley - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Instead of following the wall we hiked down into a narrow valley.

Water used to flow through here. There were still a few pools from recent rain - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Water used to flow through here. There were still a few pools from recent rain.

Wild boar tracks! - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Wild boar tracks!

The valley trail was overgrown – not a lot of people come this way anymore - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The valley trail was overgrown – not a lot of people come this way anymore.

The valley trail took us towards one of the main features in the wall here: the 'Water Pass' - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The valley trail took us towards one of the main features in the wall here: the 'Water Pass'.

The Water Pass tunnel - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The Water Pass tunnel.

Hikers coming up from the water pass up to the wall - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Hikers coming up from the Water Pass to get back on to the wall.

The trail continues up the wall, but first … - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The trail continues up the wall, but first …

Lunch time! Great spot for it - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Lunch time! Great spot for it

Checking out an nearby part of the water pass fortifications - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Checking out a nearby part of the Water Pass fortifications. The rubble is the base of a tower that would have allowed long views down the valley.

Another feature of the wall in the area—a barrier wall in front of the main line - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Another feature of the wall in the area—a barrier wall in front of the main line.

Everybody has a seat with a view - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Everybody has a seat with a view.

After lunch we took on the steep climb to the top of the Big Camp Plate section - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

After lunch we took on the steep climb to the top of the Big Camp Plate section.

A broken watchtower that we will have to get around - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

A broken watchtower that we will have to get around.

Looking back down the trail - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Looking back down the trail.

Super views back towards the Guanting Reservoir - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Super views back towards the Guanting Reservoir.

If you look hard enough you can see the village we walked through. The peaks of Dahaituo Mountain are visible way in the background - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

If you look hard enough you can see the village we walked through earlier on the hike. The peaks of Dahaituo Mountain are visible way in the background.

Purple wildflowers - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Purple wildflowers.

The top section of Big Camp Plate - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The top section of Big Camp Plate.

Looking back from the top - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Looking back from the top.

Turtleshell patterns in the rocks used to build the wall - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Turtleshell patterns in the rocks used to build the wall.

Looking down the valley we'd hike out to finish the walk - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

We'd hike out down this valley to finish the walk.

The path down the valley is an old donkey trail - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

The path down the valley is an old donkey trail.

Some more wildflowers, but this time in blue - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Some more wildflowers, but this time in blue.

A relatively clear section of the valley trail - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

A relatively clear section of the valley trail.

Further down the valley we passed orchards - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Further down the valley we passed orchards. That meant we were getting close to the end of the trail.

We mentioned 'near perfect' weather. These dark clouds came out of nowhere and sent down a few drops of rain - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

We mentioned ‘near perfect’ weather. These dark clouds came out of nowhere and sent down a few drops of rain.

Mr. Ye slices up watermelon for the hikers - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Mr. Ye slices up watermelon for the hikers.

Snacks and drinks before the bus ride home - Big Camp Plate to Hengling Valley, 2016/08/27

Snacks and drinks before the bus ride home.

Were you on this hike or trip? How did you like it? Please send us your comments about what was good and/or what we could do a better job of. We'd love to hear from you!

Were you not on this trip, but like the look of it? Tell us, and we'll let you know when we'll be repeating it.

Trip reports, photos, and news

Trip Reports: Photos and writeups of our trips around Beijing and other parts of China. View all the trip reports »

News: Updates and information. View all the news »

Trip reports

Read one of the many reports in the archives. (This report has been chosen by random selection; we hope it's a good one for you!)

Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province

Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

In Brief: See more than 100 interesting photos from the Tibetan end of Gansu Province, taken on one of our new Explore China trips.

View trip report »