The Stone Valley Loop follows the same section of wall as our Middle Switchback hike, but we start and finish on the other side of the hill – it’s a longer walk and more scenic, as the trail takes us through forest and further into the hills.
On this visit we had more to see than just the wall. The wild apricot flowers were blooming, and with the clear skies we got some long views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
We hiked up to the wall, following a path that passed wild apricot trees in bloom.
It was just the right time to see the blossoms – a few weeks later they’d all be gone.
Further into the hills.
The path turned into a nice field trail.
We hiked further into the forest.
Taking a break before the final climb up to the wall.
Ready to get a photo.
We continued up through the pines.
The Great Wall runs along the ridge in the background of the photo.
We got on to the wall at a dip in the hills.
The next part of the walk was on an unrestored section of Great Wall.
We stopped for a snack break beside the wall – nice views here.
Good spot for a photo. The wall here is higher up, and you can see that the trees haven’t yet started to get green like those we saw lower down the hill.
The steep climb up to the General’s Tower.
The steep climb down the other side of the General’s Tower.
A side trail took us around a ruined section of wall.
Further down, the valley is full of wild apricot flowers.
Back on the wall.
Flowers, trees, and the red roofs of houses.
Continuing along the Great Wall.
Taking a break in a ruined tower.
The hike continued along the wall, following the ridgeline.
A larger tower on a peak.
A last break on the wall before we walked down to finish.
Looking back along the wall.
We hiked hill trails to finish the loop.
Another great spot for a photo.
We finished the day with a big meal at a countryside restaurant.