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10 China hiking routes for beginners


Hiking benefits both the body and mind. Spending time in the great outdoors can reduce stress, anxiety, and the risk of depression. It is also an excellent way to immerse oneself in Chinese culture and the daily lives of local people. With 5000 years of history and 9.6 million sq km (3.7 million sq miles) of area, China offers a lot in terms of sightseeing. There are ancient man-made projects, forest parks, ancient villages, and ethnic minority cultures to explore. During your trip to China, you can combine outdoor activities with an easy hike. If you are travelling with seniors or young children and are unsure of where to go, we have got you covered. Here are ten of the best hikes in China.


Longji Rice Terraces

One of the most beautiful hikes is at Longji, near Guilin. The rice terraces, also known as Dragon’s Backbone, date back over 650 years and were constructed over several centuries until the 20th century. The rice terraces, also known as Dragon’s Backbone, date back over 650 years and were constructed over several centuries until the 20th century. The villages in the area were home to the Zhuang and Yao ethnic minority groups. The ancient Zhuang village boasts the largest collection of Zhuang Diaojiaolou in China. Diaojiaolou are traditional three-story wooden houses built on large stilts to protect the inhabitants from insects and snakes. The hike will begin at Ancient Zhuang village and continue all the way to Ping’an village. The trail is well-maintained, with stone pathways and a gentle incline. Along the way, you’ll encounter terrace fields and forests.

  • Location: Longji
  • Distance: 3km (1.8miles)
  • Route: From Ancient Zhuang Village to Ping’an Village


Dong villages

This hiking trail connects two beautiful Dong villages and is approximately 4km long. Along the way, you will pass through rice and vegetable fields. If the timing is right, you may even have the opportunity to participate in activities such as fish catching or paddy planting. Zhaoxing, the largest settlement of the Dong people, is an excellent place to experience the lifestyle of this officially recognized ethnic group in China. Drum towers and sheltered bridges are two significant architectural examples for the Dong people.  In every Dong village, drum towers are a fundamental feature and several can be found in the same village.The Drum Tower represents the center of the village and the community.

  • Location: Guizhou
  • Distance: 4km (2.5 miles)
  • Route: From Zhaoxing village to Tang’an village


Yunxi Zhujing Scenic Resort

Yunxi Zhujing Scenic Resort is a tranquil bamboo forest near West Lake. The mostly level stone path is dotted with several Chinese garden pavilions. The panoramic views of West Lake and the surrounding hill country are stunning. The hike is easy and takes about an hour to complete.  The area is filled with beautiful bamboo trees and old trees, including a 1030-year-old maple tree. It provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The nearby Meijiawu Tea Plantation offers a hiking opportunity. It is one of the four renowned growing areas for Longjing tea (Dragon Well Tea), a well-known green tea.

  • Location: Hangzhou
  • Distance: 3km (1.8miles)
  • Route: Yunxi Zhujing Scenic Resort


Great Wall

The Great Wall is a must-see for all travellers to China. Easily accessible sections near Beijing include Badaling, Mutianyu, Juyongguan, Jinshanling and Simatai. Badaling, Juyongguan and Mutianyu are the most convenient sections to reach. Although it is technically possible to hike on all sections of the Great Wall, the highlight is the part from Jinshanling to the west of Simatai. Jinshanling is one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, with many original features still intact.  As it is located a little outside of Beijing, there are fewer tourist groups. There are also unrestored sections that offer amazing views of the wall snaking across the mountain peaks, as well as twenty-three watchtowers. The hike is approximately six kilometers and takes 3 to 3.5 hours.

  • Location: Beijing
  • Distance: 6 km (3.75 miles)
  • Route: From Jinshanling Great Wall to West of Simatai Great Wall


Yulong River Banks

The Yulong River in Yangshuo is a small tributary of the larger Li River. To cruise down the river, you can choose to take a bamboo raft. However, if you prefer to travel at your own pace, we recommend hiking along the river. The most popular starting point is at the 600-year-old Yulong Bridge. From there, hike along the paved road for 6km until you reach Jiuxian Village.

  • Location: Yangshuo
  • Distance: 6km (3.7 miles)
  • Route: From Yulong Bridge to Jiuxian Village



Zhangjiajie is a vast park renowned for its towering sandstone pillars, which were formed over many years of water erosion. The park boasts a total of 3103 pillars that stand over 300 meters high.Zhangjiajie served as the inspiration for the floating mountain in the 2009 film Avatar and four other Chinese films. The Golden Whip Stream is the most popular scenic area at the ground level of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. The stream winds 7.5 km from north to south, across mountains and valleys, making it the perfect location for tourists to enjoy a hiking experience. A paved trail follows the tranquil stream for the entire length of the course. If you hike from north to south, you will finish at Huangshizhai. From there, you can take a cable car to the top of Huangshizhai Mountain, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of almost half of the peak.

  • Location: Zhangjiajie
  • Distance: 7.5km (4.6miles)
  • Route: Golden Whip Stream

Emei Mountain

Emei Mountain boasts an exceptionally diverse range of vegetation, from subtropical to subalpine pine forests, with some trees over 1,000 years old. It was designated a UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage site in 1996. For avid hikers, the full 58km (36.25 miles) ascent to the summit is a popular challenge. However, for most visitors, we recommend a shorter hike from Wannian Temple to Qingyin Pavilion, then on to Wuxiangang Parking Lot. The journey covers a distance of approximately 3.5 km (2.1 miles) and takes around 1.5 hours.  The route involves taking a shuttle bus and a cable car to reach Ten Thousand Year Temple, the oldest temple on the mountain.

  • Location: Sichuan
  • Distance: 3.5km (2.1 miles)
  • Route: From Wannian Temple to Qingyin Pavilion


Li River Banks

Similar to the Great Wall in Beijing, the Li River is a must-see attraction for travellers visiting Guilin. Surrounded by tens of thousands of karst mountains, the Li River resembles a Chinese painting. There are three ways to experience the famed river: by raft, cruise, or on foot. For the fit and adventurous traveler, hiking is a great option. The 22-kilometer trek from Yangdi to Xingping takes four to five hours and follows a straightforward trail that never strays too far from the river. Travellers can set their own pace.In early autumn, follow the trail through bamboo groves and golden rice fields. For a panoramic view of the Li River, climb up to Xianggong Hill.

  • Location: Guilin
  • Distance: 22km (13.75 miles)
  • Route: Yangdi to Xingping


Villages in Yellow Mountain

Xidi Village and Hongcun, situated at the base of Yellow Mountain, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to their exceptional representation of traditional Anhui-style architecture. These villages attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually from around the globe. However, many visitors are unaware of the ancient trail that connects the two villages. This trail served as a prosperous trading route for local merchants from the 10th century until the late 20th century. Due to urbanization in recent decades, many local villagers have migrated to the city, turning this route into a popular sightseeing trail for visitors. The trail is well-paved and relatively flat, leading hikers deep into the countryside where they can enjoy stunning forests and charming streams. If you hike in June or early July, you may even find raspberries and wild kiwi fruit along the way.

  • Location: Yellow Mountain
  • Distance: 8.2km (5.1 miles)
  • Route:  From Xidi Village to Hongcun Village


Cangshan Mountain

Cangshan Mountain boasts snow-capped peaks, flowing clouds, murmuring brooks, diverse flora, and historical temples, making it one of the most famous attractions in Dali. Visitors can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Erhai Lake and Dali Ancient Town from here. Cable car and hiking are both great ways to enjoy the scenery. The Yudai Road (Jade Belt Road) was created for visitors to enjoy the mountain. It is halfway up the mountain, mostly flat, and completely paved. We will hike the section from Gantong cableway to Zhonghe Temple Ropeway, which is approximately 11km (6.8 miles) out of the total 18km (11.2 miles). The trail offers stunning views of Erhai lake and features beautiful waterfalls, alpine flowers, birds, and squirrels.

  • Location: Dali
  • Distance: 11km (6.8 miles)
  • Route: From Yudai Road to Cangshan Mountain


The above information provides insight into the hiking opportunities available in China. We recommend visiting as many destinations as possible during your stay. If you have any questions, please feel free to chat with our travel consultants!