For this weekender we headed west to Cuandixia, a Ming Dynasty-era village deep in the mountains of Mentougou.
The village dates back some 500 years, and is full of old stone courtyard houses, many of which are now able to accommodate visitors.
On the first day we did a relatively relaxed walk in the hills nearby the village, before settling in for the evening with a big meal, a bonfire, and a bottle or two of red wine.
On the second day we woke up early for one of the best long hikes in Beijing, hiking an approximately 27km trail over the Yellow Grass Plateau and down to the Dragon Gate Gorge.
The weather doesn’t always play nice in this area, but for this weekend it couldn’t have been much better – clear, and cool, and at the higher altitudes we saw some great early autumn colours.
A view down a long valley.
We hiked up an old track to take a look at some caves.
Dinner time at the guesthouse.
We started the big hike on the second day with a walk up through a nice park area.
The trail passed below the trunk of Elephant Rock.
A good view from high up in the hills.
Big ridges, with an isolated Great Wall tower in view.
We saw these flowers along the trail the whole day.
Coming up on to Yellow Grass Plateau.
Made it to the top!
A group photo by the 18km mark of a 100km route used for the Mountain Walking Festival.
Clouds spill over the hills behind a Great Wall tower.
What a view!
Hikers atop a tower.
Mountains and valleys.
We stopped for a snack break by some walnut trees.
An irrigation canal near the top of Dragon Gate Gorge.
We headed down into Dragon Gate Gorge, following a small stream.
Coming out from between cliffs.
The curved cliffs must have been shaped by the flow of water a long time ago.
Hikers in the canyon.