Beijing Bucket List: Icefall at Taoyuan Xiangu Scenic Area

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If the cold never bothers you (anyway), then have some frozen delights at the iced waterfall attraction in Taoyuan Xiangu scenic area (桃源仙谷冰瀑) in Miyun District.

After breathing in bad air for several days, I thought it’s proper to go out and explore the city. Foreigner China Network (WeChat: foreignerandchina) organized a trip to the scenic area on January 21. For a cheap price of RMB 100, I got a round trip bus ride, a bottle of water, and insurance for the one-day travel. Lunch wasn’t included so it was a good thing I brought bread and snacks, though FCN gave us some chocolates on the way to Taoyuan.

The trip to the area lasted more than 1.5 hours, with some 20 minutes at a petrol station for a quick stop to get goodies or go to toilets. It’s not a long drive though, and while on the way you can see how Beijing infrastructure (paved roads, long bridges, and expressways) mix with stunning yellow mountains, leafless forests, and humble abodes of locals.

A huge slab adorned with Chinese scriptures and a landmark will greet visitors near the entrance of Taoyuan Xiangu scenic area. Along the way to the main attraction is a small food stall where tourists can buy instant noodles and get hot water. There are also public toilets scattered along the main route. The first attraction to see is the frozen walkway near one of the three icefalls. The frozen walkway looks like a small part of the ice castle in Frozen. Inside, it’s quite narrow but you’ll see smooth icicles against hanging roots.

The frozen walkway

The first icefall by the frozen dam

A 5-minute walk after it will bring you to the next attraction: the biggest icefall in the area where mountaineers climb. Its base is littered with huge chunks of ice which seem to have fallen from the icefall itself. When the sun doesn’t directly light the base, the icefall looks dreamlike with deep blue hues.

The second and massive icefall in the scenic area

On the right side of the base is a two-way entry to the mountain top. The difficult entrance covers more than 300 uneven steps while the not-so-easy one is a metal stairway connected to the side of the mountain. Once tourists are up, they can rest, enjoy clear skies, or even do a small picnic.

The main tourist attraction – the mystical icefall full of icicles

The main attraction is about 1.5km away from the mountain top. On the way there, we saw a small hut with an archery range, whose owner offered us a bow with 10 arrows for RMB 20. It’s quite fun though it’s so difficult to stretch the bowstring. Kids aged 12 above can try archery there. The way to the main attraction is not that difficult to hike, and it’s enjoyable especially the mountainside is really gorgeous. At the entrance of the icefall are a frozen spa-sized pond and mountainside stonework. The main part of this icefall is directly away from the sun, so it looks amazingly mystical. The way back is the same, and this time, tourists can try descending through the metal stairway near the top of the second icefall.

The whole hike is about 3.5km and it’s easy to do (with extra caution needed when climbing and descending the mountain near the second icefall) that kids will surely enjoy the fascinating scenery. FCN will conduct another outing to Taoyuan Xiangu scenic area on January 26 (Thursday).

Travel essentials and notes:

  • Wear warm clothes and bring gloves as the way to the attractions can be really cold.
  • Bring packed lunch and/or instant noodles (you can get hot water from the small food stall).
  • Mobile signal on the way to the main icefall can get spotty.
  • Entrance ticket is RMB 45 for adults and RMB 23 for students/children.
  • The travel information center was closed during my trip. Expect that it will still be closed for the CNY holiday.

How to go?

  • It’s possible to bring a car to the scenic area, but we suggest contacting FCN for travel group trips. FCN will specify the meeting place on a group chat.
  • It’s also possible to take the bus to the area, but I have not directly seen buses on the route. We’ll update the article once we get the full transport information.

All photos courtesy of Andy Penafuerte

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