Just an hour or two outside Beijing’s often daunting urban expanse lies a ring of mountains offering hours, or days, of peace and quiet and hikes ranging from leisurely to strenuous. Perfect for day trips or weekend getaways, reconnect with nature or explore untouched reaches of the Great Wall. If the rush of the city life has got to you, or you just fancy laying eyes on some blue skies, green trees, lush rolling hills, and jagged mountains, then check out our guide to hiking in Beijing as we introduce the top four hiking areas and routes that are just begging to be explored.

Run to the Hills! The Best Spots for Hiking in Beijing
Photo: Flickr

1) Yangtai Mountain and Miaofeng Mountain 阳台山-妙峰山
17 kilometers away from the Summer Palace, Yangtai Mountain is a perfect place to go for a day trip. The hiking itself isn’t too strenuous per se, but it’s a pretty long hike nonetheless. The peak of the mountain offers some stunning views packed with hills and valleys as far as the eye can see – who’d have thought Beijing could offer such beauty?

Trip Route: Leave from Beianhe (北安河) and go west for 15 minutes until you reach the railroad tracks near Jiufengyuanmen (鹫峰园门). Take the small road to the gate of the park. Climb up the mountain toward Jinxian'an (金仙庵) and then take a right onto the Guxiangdao path (古香道). Continue climbing 1100 meters up the mountain till you reach the top. Guxiangdao Path is 16 kilometers and should take you around 5 hours to complete. Rose Valley (玫瑰谷) is the most beautiful part of the hike.

Tel: 010 6246 4550 (阳台山), 010 6188 2936 (妙峰山)
Price: 10 RMB (Yangtai Mountain), 40 RMB (Miaofeng Mountain)
Opening hours: 8:00-17:00
Getting there: take bus 346 from the Summer Palace (颐和园) to Bei’anhe Beikou (北安河北口).  You can also take bus 929 to and from Pingguoyuan Station (苹果园站) on line 1, which arrives at Jiangou Miaofengshan Scenic Spot (涧沟妙峰山风景区站)   

2) Shuiquangou – Xishuiyu – Huanghuacheng 水泉沟-西水峪-黄花城
This trip can be done in one or two days. The hiking is not particularly difficult, but it is best in the summer or fall. This trip is a favorite among backpackers because you pass through mountains, rivers and the Great Wall.

Trip Route: Take a long distance bus to Shuiquangou and follow the stream until you get to Xishuiyi Reservoir (西水峪水库) and you'll see the Great Wall right in front of you. Take a bridge across the river and hike over a small mountain until you reach the Great Wall. Once you get to the gate of Xishuiyu, take a car to Huanghuacheng to finish your hike on an exquisite part of the wall.

Tel: 010 6165 1111 (Huanghuacheng)
Price: Free (Xishuiyu), 34 RMB (Huanghuacheng)Opening hours: 8:00-17:00 (Huanghuacheng),all day(Xishuiyu)
Getting there: take the 925 bus from Deshengmen (德胜门) to Shuiquangou (水泉沟). If you're leaving from Xishuiyu, you can take the 936 bus to Huairou Shichangcun (怀柔石厂村), then take bus 867 or 936 to Dongzhimen Wai (东直门外) to get back to the city.

3) Jiankou – Mutianyu箭扣-慕田峪
Jiankou is in Huairou County's Zhenzhuquan Village (珍珠泉村) in Bohai Town (渤海镇). This is a perfect place for the avid photographer. If you hike from here to Mutianyu, the trip should take two days. Be aware however, the hike is rather difficult – so make sure you come prepared and fully kitted out for one the toughest hikes in Beijing!

Trip Route: Leave from Xizhazicun (西栅子村) to Jiankou. The trip goes past Jiuyanlou (九眼楼), Beijing Jie (北京结), Yingfeidaoyang (鹰飞倒仰), Tianti (天梯), Small Potala Palace (小布达拉宫) and Zhenbeilou (镇北楼), among other wonderful sites.

Price: Jiankou does not have tickets and when you get to Mutianyu, you will not have to buy a ticket since you are entering from a different part of the Wall.
Getting there: take bus 916 from Dongzhimen (东直门) to Huairou (怀柔) bus stop. From Huairou take a minibus to Xizhazicun (西栅子村) for around 50 RMB.

4) Wulingshan雾灵山 View In Map
Wulingshan is located in Miyun and is east Beijing's largest nature preserve, offering some stunning sights including waterfalls and forests. Wuling Mountain is closed before April due to fire risks and you need to have a special pass to enter during this time. However, you can get the pass at Xinglong Train station (兴隆火车站).

Trip route: Take the public road past Xianrenta (仙人塔) to get to Wuling Mountain. You can go straight to the top of the 2,118 meter high mountain. From Xianrenta, go north through the forest until you meet a 300 meter high stone hill. After getting out of the valley, you'll reach Longtan Falls (龙潭瀑布) camp ground. This area can hold up to 20 tents. Take the mountain pass out past the waterfall and you'll arrive at the West Gate.

Add: Caojialu Village, Xinchengzi Town, Miyun County, Beijing
Tel: 010 8102 2498
Price: 130 RMB
Opening hours: 8:00-17:00
Getting there: take bus 980 from Dongzhimen (东直门) to Miyun Guoyuan Xiaoqu (密云果园小区), then take bus 38 to Caojialu (曹家路)


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Keywords: Wulingshan hiking in Beijing hikes in Beijing

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