Here’s a perfect day trip from Beijing to a mountain destination where the clear air is almost guaranteed – as is good exercise: Cloud Covered Mountain in Huairou District. I would recommend going in the fall as in the spring the nature is still rather bare, and summer is likely to be very hot and requires you to carry an extra load of water along the way. The hike is relatively easy, but it helps to be a bit fix climbing up and down the mountain, reaching the top at 1414m. The views from the top, as well as on the way to the top are amazing, with craggy peaks stretching far into the horizon.
As the route is a loop, it will actually wind around the mountain giving also the view of the Miyun Reserve and more agricultural view on the other side. The location is somewhat remote, so take plenty of drinks and a packed lunch to go – there are great placed to enjoy your food on the way, or on the viewing area when you reach the top. There are no restaurants, but in two places locals are selling drinks and little snacks – on the top viewing area and at the point where the loop meets again.
We made it to the peak – lovely views on such a clear and crisp (only in the shadows though, the sunny peak was pretty warm) September day
The guide book estimated the look walk time at 5 hours, but we did it on a bit over 3h since we didn’t have kids with us. This is certainly good exercise with going up and down the mountain, and sometimes the rather narrow path goes right on the side of the steep mountain too
This should be your starting point for the hike: after byuing the ticket drive up the road (yes, even a minivan will make it but it’ll be a bit rought going here are there) to a parking area near this little “holiday village”. Otherwise you’ll probably add at least two hours to your hike!
Up the stone steps and between the large boulders we go…
In the fall you can taste some local fruit from the trees
Magnificent craggy peaks
Like with hiking always, do not go alone and tell someone where you go. If you take your driver tell him the route in advance and advice when he should look for help if you are not back from your hike – mobiles do not always work, and emergency phones (like this pictured) have been vandalized
A view on the backside of the hike – getting close to the stair section
The landscape changed when you approach the top and you’ll walking a long way along these stairs and paths when you continue to the other side of the peak
Stair climbing – fun and good exercise
We’ve reached the top!
Little springs by the path are great spots to stop by and enjoy the nature
A coffee break in the french patisserie felt very rewarding after all that exercise and fresh air!
My review of the Cloud Covered Mountain – Yunmeng Shan (云蒙山): Excellent
Address: Liulimiao Town, Huairou District -怀柔区琉璃庙镇 (appr 85km from Beijing)
Opening hours & fees: Daily Mar-Oct, closed winter. RMB 36 (adults), RMB 18 (kids)