Hiking along Li River

Cruise is not the only way to appreciate the beauty of Li River. More intrepid travelers hike Li River to discover the stunning sceneries from Yangdi to Xingping where the most essence of Li River is located.

Walking into the picturesque landscape by starting your hike in the early morning, the path takes you through small local villages, karst mountain scenery, paddy rice fields, bamboo forests…This is definitely an interesting experience combining sightseeing and physical exercise. Around 4 hours' walk, the hike will let you experience the Li River from a different perspective with great "people-free" photo opportunities!

Hiking along Li River

Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Route type: Loop     Out & back      Point to point

Difficulty: Easy     Moderate     Hard

Suitability: Unpaved     Paved     Partially paved

                 Stroller friendly      Wheelchair friendly      Kid friendly

Trail traffic: Wild     Light     Moderate     Heavy

Attractions: Villages ▪ River ▪ Plants & Flowers ▪ Ancient Town ▪ Sightseeing

Entrance fee: Ferry – RMB10 per person per time,     Xianggong Hill – RMB60

Map of Li River Hiking Routes

Map of Li River Hiking Routes

Route 1: From Yangdi to Quanjiazhou

Distance: 3.2km         Altitude range: 102 – 167 meters         Trail type: unpaved

This is the first part of the classic Li River Walking Trail. Due to shipping control, two ferries of this part (Yangdi Ferry and Langshi Ferry) are not always available and make it difficult to operate.

Attractions: Yangdi Scenic Area ▪ Langshi Views ▪ Writing Brush Peak (Wenbifeng)

Li River Walking from Yangdi

Route 2: From Shangnei to Quanjiazhou

Distance: 4.9km         Altitude range: 102 – 330 meters         Trail type: unpaved

To avoid two shipping controlled ferries from Yangdi, this route is the best alternative. It is highly recommended also because it enriched the types of the trail and sceneries. Shangnei and Xianei are two villages in the valley among Karst hills and climb over the hills to their west is Li River. Unlike generally even trail along Li River, this trail include a 1500 meters climbing with an altitude gain of 90 meters and then an 800 meters descending with an altitude loss of 240 meters. Not a big challenge, but a good starting before viewing the best Karst views on Li River.

Attractions: Villages ▪ Rice Fields ▪ Bird view of Li River

Li River Walking Trail

Route 3: Quanjiazhou to Lengshui Ferry

Distance: 6km         Altitude range: 90 – 120 meters         Trail type: partially paved

Main part of Li River Walking trail, passing Xialong Scenery and Nine Horses Fresco Hill, most famous scenic sites along Li River. The walk is all along the trail by the river, with the last 2.2km after Laocuntou on paved road.

Attractions: Xialong Scenery ▪ Nine Horses Fresco Hill

Li River Hiking Scenery

Route 4: Xianggong Hill to Lengshui Ferry

Distance: 5.5km         Altitude range: 100 – 350 meters         Trail type: paved

Xianggong Hill, one of the best places to take a bird view of the big bend of Li River, is the highlight of this trail. The walk is along the paved road down to the bank of Li River.

Attractions: Xianggong Hill ▪ Orchards ▪ Farm Field

Hiking Li River from Xianggong Hill to Xingping

Route 5: Lengshui Ferry to Xingping Ancient Town

Distance: 5.8km         Altitude range: 100 – 160 meters         Trail type: paved

Follow the walking path along the river, you will get to Xingping Ancient Town. View bamboo forest and karst hills on both sides of the river. Among them, the best is the scene on 20 Yuan Note, named Yellow Cloth Reflection. Take a stroll in Xingping Ancient Town and award yourself with a cup of coffee somewhere in the old house.

Attractions: Yellow Cloth Reflection ▪ Xingping Ancient Town

Li River Hiking Attractions

Three Li River Hiking Routes and itineraries

1. Classic Li River Hiking Route from Yangdi to Xingping

Distance: 15km         Difficulty: ★★★

Get to Yangdi in the morning. Take ferry to the other side of Li River and walk to Langshi for ferry to Quanjiazhou. You can have lunch in local farmer’s family, simple but delicious with fresh local vegetables and fish from Li River. Continue the walk along trail by the river to Laocuntou, where you can view the famous Nine Horses Fresco Hill. Follow the paved road to Lengshui Ferry and then walk along walking path to Xingping Ancient Town.Notes: This route might not be operated due to unavailability of ferry.

2. Highly recommended Li River Hiking Route from Shangnei to Xingping

Distance: 16.8km         Difficulty: ★★★☆

Get to Shangnei village in the morning and walk into the valley passing two villages and farm fields. Climb up the mountain take a great bird view of Li River. The descending path is a little bit steep and slippery in rainy days. Have picnic lunch by the river or enjoy a simple lunch in local farmer’s family at Quanjiazhou. Follow the trail along the river to Lengshui Ferry and then walk on the walk path to Xingping.

3. Scenic Walking Route along Li River from Xianggong Hill to Xingping

Distance: 12km         Difficulty: ★★☆

Climb up Xianggong Hill to view the stunning view of Li River when you arrive, the entrance fee is RMB60. Walk along the paved road downhill to pier of Li River. Take ferry to the other side and follow the walking path to Xingping Ancient Town.

Transportation for Li River Hiking

1. Bus from Guilin to Yangdi: Go to Guilin South Bus Station to take bus to Yangdi directly.

Bus time: 09:00, 11:40 Drive time: 1 hour Bus ticket price: around RMB22

Guilin South Bus Station Address: Chadian Xi Road, Xiangshan District, Guilin

Tel: 0773-3862358

2. Bus from Guilin to Shangnei: There is no direct bus to Shangnei and rent a car is highly recommended. You can also take the bus to Putao and get off at the crossing to Yangdi, rent a local car or motorcycle to take you to Shangnei village.

3. Bus from Guilin to Xianggong Hill: Take the bus to Putao (RMB15) and then rent a local car to Xianggong Hill.

4. Bus from Yangshuo to Xingping: For those who stay in Yangshuo or want to start the walk from Xingping, following might be helpful. There are regular bus between Xingping and Yangshuo, available every 30 minutes.

Bus time: every 30min Drive time: 45 minutes Bus ticket price: around RMB10

Yangshuo South Bus Station Address: 155-6, Kangzhan Road, Yangshuo

Tel: 0773-8822188

5. High speed train to/from Xingping: Yangshuo train station is at Xingping. If you want to start the walking from Xingping or get back to Guilin from Xingping, high speed train might be a good choice. Ticket price is around RMB30 and running time is 30 minutes.

What to take

1. Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
2. Good walking shoes and walking stick
3. Raincoat, especially in spring and summer
4. Snickers to keep physical energy
5. 1 or 2 bottles of water.
6. Mosquito repellent
7. Camera or smartphone with good camera

Tips for taking the Li River Walking Trip

1. There are bamboo cruise at Yangdi and Xingping, which you can choose to view Li River in a relaxing style..
2. Xingping is a great ancient town to stay one or two nights before or after the hiking. There are some other hiking routes near the town, like walking to Fishing Village, Hiking Damianshan, etc.

Best time to walk along Li River
Guilin has a sub-tropical monsoon climate with four mild seasons. Li River walking can be taken all year round, but autumn season from September to mid-December is the best time, as it is neither cold nor hot here, and with little chance of rain. July and August is fine if you like sunshine. Heavy rains usually happen from mid-May to mid-July, during which high water level may flood the trail and stop the ferry.

Hiking along Li River

Recommended tour packages including Li River Hiking in Guilin:

6-day Guilin Hiking Getaway

8-day Guilin Hiking Tour of Li River and Longji Rice Terraces

16-day China Walking Holiday

More trip ideas in November 

Biking in Guilin

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