Jingdong Canyon is located 85 km north of Beijing, and sets itself apart from every other scenic destination in Beijing in that despite being stunningly gorgeous, the entire canyon is almost completely deserted.
I am of the staunch opinion that nature should be observed and enjoyed uninhibited by the hustle and bustle of crowds, and was pleasantly shocked that such beautiful scenery exists so close to Beijing, and how solitary it always is. In my three visits, all on weekends and once on a holiday, I saw no more than ten other hikers on each 5-hour trip. Effectively, the 20 sqkm of land is yours and yours alone.
The sky is cleaner here, removed from the smokestacks of the city, so bring a camera and expect stunning pictures. Begin with a stroll across the dam and around the Dragon Lake, where willow trees and stones that were made for skipping line the boundary. If you’re interested, surfing and boating are available.
A kilometer-long ropeway connects the two canyons and takes 12 minutes to run, granting a stunning view of the park. The greenery here is lush, softened with moisture and sunbeams, the air scented with earth, as if a heavy rainstorm had just passed. The river soon narrows into the creek that we’ll be following for the rest of our journey, and now the only sounds that you will ever hear is the clean trickling of water over stones and fallen leaves.
The water is cool and limpid, without a speck of mud or debris, enticingly inviting on a warm summer day. As the sun’s coruscating coo peeks through the branches and trees, we see that the uncontested majesty of the canyon is striped with waterfalls running as high as thirty meters, that cascade into nearby streams. The path is mostly flat, but sometimes twists up the side of the canyon, allowing for a bird’s eye view of the uninhabited land. There are several small snack vendors here, and two of the larger ponds rent water walking balls and water kayaks.
Jingdong canyon is a quiet and easy walk in a stunning environment, a great place for an outing with friends, family, or a date. Come after noon, when the sun has died down a little, and bring your own lunch if you plan to eat. If staying in a canyon for too long isn’t your thing, a fishing village not far from the canyon offers fruit picking. There are some great restaurants nearby, mostly family-run restaurants that use entirely home-grown produce.
RMB 60. Daily 8am-6.30pm. 36 Yuzi Shan, Shandongzhuang Zhen, Pinggu District (6096 8036) www.jddxg.com平谷区山东庄镇鱼子山36号
Hal Jin, 16, is a student at ISB. Born in Nanjing, Jin lived in Vancouver until the 5th grade, when he moved to Beijing. The Editor-in-Chief of ISB’s school newspaper, Jin is also a captain of the Forensics team, the chair of a charity group, and an advisor for the middle school math team.
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Photo from Wikimedia Commons