When the weather is nice, the best way to relax is often by hiking in beautiful areas and climbing mountains. Around Beijing, there are numerous high mountains and hills with hiking paths. There are some good hiking places along the Great Wall, and many more hiking paths in other mountain park areas.
Here are 10 trails around Beijing that we recommend for hiking, ranked 1 to 10.
You'll enjoy these hiking areas, and each has a special attraction. You can see the highly-recommended Great Wall sections at Mutianyu and Jinshanling, big caves at Shangfang, beautiful fall foliage at Hongluo, Fragrant Hills, and Baiwang, and the Beijing skyline from high above at Mangshan.
1. The Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Hike
This is the tourists' most popular mountain hike in Beijing, as it offers variety and challenge on a famed scenic Great Wall section. Hike where Ming troops patrolled 400 years ago.
On the Jiankou leg of the hike, you'll start with the challenge of the steepest section of the Great Wall. Most dramatic, Jiankou is most seen on postcards. The Jiankou to Mutianyu route is one of the two most popular Great Wall hikes.
- Location: 70 km northeast of central Beijing
- Elevation: Jiankou 1,000+ meters (3,300+ ft); Mutianyu 535 meters (1,750 ft)
- We advise private transport to get to Jiankou.
- If you want a tamer hike on the restored section, see our information on Mutianyu.
2. Jinshanling Great Wall Mountain Hike
Jinshanling is our second most recommended Great Wall section, after Mutianyu. The Great Wall there has both restored and original lengths, and is known for being particularly photogenic and hikable.
- Location: 120 km northeast of Beijing.
- Elevation: 986 meters (3,235 ft)
- For more information see our thorough coverage of Jinshanling’s Great Wall Section
- Or go straight to our Jinshanling Great Wall Hike Day Trip.
3. The Fragrant Hills (香山)
Censer Peak is known as "devilishly hard to achieve" as its steep hills are famously hard to climb.
Large numbers of Beijing citizens come here to hike the hills almost every weekend. There are range upon range of mountains and murmuring streams and "28 famous attractions". You can enjoy a walk amongst trees, small lakes and ponds, and old buildings.
There is also a gondola that can takes you to the top for a wonderful view. It runs only when weather allows. When the sun sets, you can see the whole city with its dazzling lights.
Fragrant Hills park is not far from the Summer Palace, so you can visit both places in one day. It is famous for the Maple Leaf festival that starts around October and lasts for one month.
- Location: The Fragrant Hills are in Haidian District (海淀区), about 20 kilometers from the city center.
- Elevation: The highest peak of the mountain, Censer Peak, is 557 meters above sea level.
- For Transport and more details: See our page on Xiangshan Park.
4. Hongluo Temple (红螺寺)
The fore slope is gentle and easier to climb. The hind slope is quite steep. With 900,000 trees of a variety of kinds, the air is fresh and humid on the mountain, and it is said to be "very good for your health".
- Location: Xihu Town, Huairou District, Beijing (北京市怀柔区雁栖湖镇)
- Elevation: The main peak has an altitude of 812.9 meters above sea level.
5. Mangshan Park (蟒山公园)
Mangshan has a variety of landscapes. The 1,299 stone steps on the mountain are paved with 3,666 big stones, the longest mountain-climbing stairs in the Beijing area. The park is covered by forest. With 8,700 hectares (21,000 acres) of forest and 176 different kinds of trees and flowers, Mangshan National Forest Park is the largest national park in the Beijing area.
- Its large stone Buddha is the largest in northern China. It is 9.99 meters tall and weighs 3,000 tons.
- There is a seven-story ancient tower (37 meters) that was built during the Ming Dynasty with a wooden frame faced with brick.
- Location: Northeast of Changping County, Beijing (北京市昌平县东北部)
- Elevation: The mountain peak is 640 meters above sea level.
6. Baihua Mountain (百花山)
The mountain is high and beautiful. In the summer, green grass covers the gentle slope that is over dozens of kilometers long and dotted with various colorful wild flowers. The climate on the mountain is rainy, and the air is fresh. There are over 700 kinds of plants around the mountain, so it is also known as the "natural botanical garden".
- Location: Qingshui Town, Tougou District, Beijing (北京门头沟区清水镇)
- Elevation: Baihua Mountain is 1,991 meters above sea level.
7. Miaofeng Mountain (妙峰山)
Miaofeng Mountain is a tourist resort combining religious pilgrimages with mountain hiking. Jiangou Village (涧沟村), at the foot of the mountain, is called the "Land of Roses". Thousands of hectares (acres) of Miaofeng Roses are cultivated there. Lots of other fruit trees and flowers decorate the area. It is thought of as one of the best hiking areas in the mountains west of Beijing.
- Location: This is one of the famous "Eight Peaks" in Beijing. At only 55 kilometers from the city center, Miaofeng Mountain is the nearest kilometer-high mountain to Beijing.
- Elevation: The main peak of Miaofeng Mountain is 1,291 meters above sea level.
8. Shangfang Mountain (上方山)
Go to Shangfangshan for green mountains and caves. It's called "the way to the stars", and often compared to Suzhou and Hangzhou's scenery. The most unique features are the nine caves. The most famous is "Cave of Cloud and Water" with 108 natural landscapes. In the six enormous caverns, each one is seemingly bigger; one is nearly 70 meters high. Use the cable car or hike up a trail for access.
9. Baiwang Mountain (百望山)
Baiwang Mountain is a lush, heavily forested park, the nearest forest parkland to Beijing. In fall it's beautifully decorated with splendid red foliage. There are several paths to the top of Baiwang Mountain: some rough, others flat. You may see pheasants, squirrels, and sakers (a type of falcon). This mountain is appropriate for people of all age groups and physical conditions to come and exercise.
10. Huangcaoliang Mountain (黄草梁)
This area is a treat for those who like hiking on natural paths instead of stone/concrete. There are gentle slopes, and the top of the mountain is quite dry due to high permeability. Huangcaoliang means "Yellow Grass Ridge", which describes its sparse, dry vegetation, allowing magnificent mountain views. It's also known as "the Pearl of the Ancient Road". You can see a beautiful sunrise from the mountaintop.
Going Hiking Around Beijing with China Highlights
Advantages of a private tour: Instead of taking public transportation or a taxi, you can go to these mountains with our private vehicles and a guide to interpret. The most pleasant, direct, and interesting way to go is with a private tour company such as ours.
Our tours are known for being hassle free and individualized for our customers. You can save time and money too.
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- 4-Day Beijing Private Tour
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- Location: Shangfang Mountain is near Yuege Village (岳各庄) in Fangshan district (房山区). It is 70 kilometers away from Beijing city. There are a total of 12 peaks.
- Elevation: Sky-Scraping Pillar" (中天之柱 in Chinese, Zhong Tian Zhi Zhu in pinyin) is the highest among the 12 peaks of the Shangfang Mountain range. The top is 860 meters above sea level.
- Location: 3 kilometers northwest of the Summer Palace, Beijing (北京市颐和园北部). Heishanhu Road, Haidian 黑山扈北口19号
- Elevation: At a height of only a little more than 200 meters above sea level, Baiwang Mountain is the lowest area of the Taihang Mountains (太行山) in the Beijing area.
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- Location: 14 kilometers north of Zhaitang County, Mentougou District (门头沟区斋堂镇)
- Elevation: main peak 1,773 meters, one of the highest in southwest Beijing
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- See all Beijing's Great Wall Hiking Tours