We asked a selection of experienced Beijing hikers to choose their favorite trail and explain why they like it and how we can get there.
Shun Tong Trout Farm Fishing near the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, northeast of Beijing
Hikers: Elliott Bloom and Katrina McDonnell Why they like this trail: The hike starts at a trout farm, where visitors can catch their dinner and have it freshly grilled by friendly locals. From there, hikers can begin four-hour trek from a “wild” section of the Great Wall to the famously refurbished Mutianyu section. Directions: Take the 916 bus from Dongzhimen station to either the Bei Da Jie or Yang Jia Yuan stations in Huairou District. At the bus stop, there are drivers willing to take people to Shun Tong trout farm for approximately RMB 60 (round trip). From the trout farm, hikers can begin walking east at Jiankou to Mutianyu.
Golden mountainside in Fangshan District, southwest of Beijing
Hiker: Xiaolin Zhou
Why he likes this trail: This eight-kilometer trek is not too challenging. The trail leads up the Golden Mountain with a gradual incline. Xiaolin adds: “The most beautiful scene is looking down from the Goddess Temple at the top of mountain. After autumn, the grass withers making the mountain look like it’s gold covered.”
Directions: Take bus 917 at either Tiaoqiao or Liuliqiao stations to Bancheng village. Walk west towards the mountain, then hike to the top. After enjoying the view, head down the opposite side of Golden Mountain until you arrive at Manjinyu village near the bottom. From there, you can take the 917 bus back to Beijing.
The craggy Jiankou trail and the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, northeast of Beijing
Hikers: Duan Linlin and Tian Yu
Why they like this trail: Duan and Tian are seasoned hikers having grown up hiking Shandong’s famous Tai Shan. Duan says: “Hiking Jiankou is an unforgettable experience. It’s a little dangerous but it helps me respect nature."
Directions: Take the 916 bus from Dongzhimen station to either Bei Da Jie or Yang Jia Yuan in Huairou District. Then take a cab to Jiankou. There, hikers should walk north toward the crags and navigate the steep incline until it levels off, then turn east and walk along the unrestored wall, before arriving at Mutianyu.
The "Walk Like a Pilgrim" Trail
Phoenix Ridge in Beijing’s West mountains, near Haidian District
Hiker: Hayden Opie
Why he likes this trail:This trail incorporates all the best elements of a good hiking trail. Hayden says: “My favorite part of the trail is the middle section – following a winding path through a forest, passing boulders and crags.”
Directions: Hayden and his fellow guides at Beijing Hikers arrange bus tours from Lido Hotel to the “Pilgrim” trail once every two months. For a tour schedule of Beijing Hikers‘ vast network of trails, visit beijinghikers.com.
See more content from about hiking in Beijing’s great outdoors here.
This post first appeared on thebeijinger.com on August 29, 2014.