Mar 11, 2009

Hiking in Mentougou

There's some good hiking to be had in the Beijing suburbs. Transportation logistics are the most difficult thing, but once you're there it's very nice and relaxing. This place is called Longmenjian, in Mentougou (门头沟, or possibly "门头儿沟儿" depending on how you want to pronounce it).

It's only about 70 miles outside of Beijing proper, but it takes a pretty long time to drive there by car, between 2 and 3 hours. There's lots of windy roads and obstacles to watch out for, and the speed limit is usually somewhere from 35 to 50 MPH. I think you could take a public bus there if you wanted, but it would take a lot longer.

For this hike, there was no one else in the area other than the park worker at the main gate. The vegetation hadn't yet come back to life after the winter, and there rivers were still mostly frozen over with ice and snow. It made for a very scenic walk. Here's some photos.

A lot of the gorge looks like this, steep walls and a river in the center. Definitely be careful if there's a chance of a flash flood.




Frozen over river:




Some ponds are unfrozen:




Checking out a little cave:




View of the valley:




Crossing a clever bridge, with pipes for handrails and two logs tied together to walk on:




The only vegetation that started to come back to life this early in the season was this stuff growing in the parts of the river that are unfrozen:




Frozen river and gorge:




If you decide to drive yourself out to his place, here's the general idea for how to go:


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