Best 8 Hiking Destinations in China – Places for Hiking & Trekking

Hiking -- the best way to explore every inch of the world – can create the most inspiring journeys, with poetry thoughts. China features the most diverse landscapes on earth, and offers a surprising wide spectrum of hiking trails, from leisure walks through the beautiful countryside and millennium-old towns, exhilarating hikes on the ancient trails traversing mountains and valleys, and crazy treks leading to the untouched places and hidden mountainous villages. To answer the question that where to go hiking in China? Here we list top 8 hiking destinations, each with several amazing hiking/trekking trails.

Guilin – Li River, Longji Rice Terraces, and picturesque countryside of karst landscape

Leave hustle and bustle, and return the idyllic countryside on a refreshing hiking trip in Guilin and Yangshuo. With intensive karst formations, Guilin is part of UNESCO-protected South China Karst, and widely known as a heaven for many outdoor activities, from hiking, biking, bamboo rafting, rock climbing to kayaking, which are also great programs on China family tours with kids.

When hiking in Guilin and Yangshuo, you will have the chance to learn bamboo waving, do real farm work, join a cooking class and combine several outdoor activities together in a single trip. Take the time to sit back, relax, and get refreshed with the hills, peaks and small farms.

senior couple enjoy their Li River hiking from Guilin to Yangshuo

▲Popular hiking trails in Guilin:

■ Route I: Li River hiking from Shangnei to Xingping

Distance: 20km

Time needed: 5 hours

Difficulty: ★★★

■ Route 2: Longji Rice Terrace from Ping’an Village to Dazhai Village (via Zhongliu)

Distance: 18km

Time needed: 4-5 hours

Difficulty: ★★★

■ Route 3: Yulong River hiking from Yulong Bridge to Gongnong Bridge

Distance: 6km

Time needed: 2 hours

Difficulty: ★

■ Route 4: Tianxin Village hiking (trails used to be the ancient path for the scholars going to Guilin city for country exams)

Distance: 6km

Time needed: 2 hours

Difficulty: ★★☆

>> Recommended 8-day in-depth Guilin hiking tour

Beijing – the Great Wall hiking

Answer the ancient call from 2000 years ago on a Great Wall hiking trip in Beijing. One of the most remarkable engineering in ancient times, the Great Wall was built on the mountaintops in North China and sprawling for 21,196 km (13,171 mi). Hike the Great Wall to know how it was built, and imagine the eventful periods as the wars and battles happened on the Great Wall.

For ordinary travelers, you’re suggested to walk Mutianyu Great Wall for one or two hours. For serious hikers, there are more authentic, unrepaired sections of the Great Wall, without any tourists, to explore. You may also camp on the beacon tower, and enjoy the sunrise, sunset, and sleep under the stars of Milky Way.

In addition, Jingxi Ancient Road (京西古道) is also a great hiking trail in Beijing, consisting of the old trading routes.

Hike the wild, authentic Great Wall in Beijing

▲Popular hiking trails in Beijing:

■ Route I: Great Wall hiking Jinshanling to Simatai

Distance: 11km

Time needed: 5 hours

Difficulty: ★★☆

■ Route 2: Great Wall hiking Huangyaguan to East Qing Tomb

Distance: 6km

Time needed: 3-3.5 hours

Difficulty: ★★

■ Route 3: Great Wall hiking Jiankou to Mutianyu

Distance: 10km

Time needed: 5 hours

Difficulty: ★★★

■ Route 4: Great Wall hiking Gubeikou to Jinshanling

Distance: 10km

Time needed: 5 hour

Difficulty: ★★☆

>> Recommended 5-day Beijing Great Wall Hiking Tour

Yunnan – Tiger Leaping Gorge & Shangri-La

Yunnan, literally south of clouds, is a hot hiking destination for world travelers. The serenity and wildness of its landscape and the thousand-year-old towns awaits, with some of the most popular hiking routes in China, such as the Tiger Leaping Gorge, Old Tea-horse Road trail, and the Yubeng-Meili Snow Mountain trail, which unveil the real Shangri-La, and dozens of amazing untouched villages inhabited by ethnic minority people like Yi, Lisu, Hani, Bai, Naxi, Tibetan, Nu, etc., who seem to still live an ancient isolated life.

Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge

▲Popular hiking trails in Yunnan:

■ Route 1: Tiger Leaping Gorge hiking (with views of Yangtze River, Jade Dragon and Haba Mountains)


Time needed: 1-3 days

Altitude: 1,600m - 2,650m


■ Route 2: Yubeng Village hiking (with view of the 13 peaks of Meili Snow Mountain)


Time needed: 3-5 days

Altitude: 3,000m - 3,800m


Zhangjiajie – Avatar Mountain, Tianmen Mounain cliffside plank roads & Glass Bridge

Zhangjiajie can always inspires the craziest of thoughts – from the wingsuit flying, breathtaking flight performances of flying through Tianmen Cave, Bailong Elevator free-climbing, to world’s longest glass bridge. No wonder Zhangjiajie is also one of the most popular hiking destinations in China.

Forget about the cable car, and hiking in Zhangjiajie to ascend the tops of mountains and view majestic quartz stone peaks shrouded in the mist.

Hike Zhangjiajie National Foreset Park

▲Popular hiking trails in Zhangjiajie:

■ Route I: hiking Zhangjiajie National Forest Park - Huangshi Village + Golden Whip Brook

Distance: 5km of mountain trails (round way), 3km of flat road around Huangshi Village, 7.5km along Golden Whip Brook

Time needed: 6-8 hours

Difficulty: ★★★

■ Route 2: hiking Ten Mile Gallery to Tianzi Mountain

Distance: 2km of flat road along Ten Mile Gallery, 5km to the top of Tianzi Mountain vis Wolong Range, 4-5km walking on Tianzi Mountain

Time needed: 4-5 hours

Difficulty: ★★

■ Route 3: hiking Huanglong Cave to Baofeng Lake

Distance: 8m

Time needed: 2 hours

Difficulty: ★

■ Route 4: hiking Golden Whip Brook to Yuanjiajie Scenic Area

Distance: 3.5km from Golden Whip Brook to Qian Li Hui, 4km of mountain trails

Time needed: 3 hours

Difficulty: ★★

■ Route 5: hiking in Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon (Glass Bridge)

Time needed: 3-4 hours


Difficulty: ★★☆

>> Recommended 6-day Zhangjiajie hiking tour

Huangshan – Yellow Mountain, Huizhou ancient villages & historical trails

Looking for the most popular hiking destinations in China? You should not miss Huangshan City, 2.5-3 hours bullet train journey from Shanghai, and 1.5 hours from Hangzhou. Huangshan was named after the gorgeous Mt. Huangshan (literally Yellow Mountain), and also possesses many primitive and picturesque ancient villages of Huizhou cultural traditions, which connected by great hiking trails.

Yellow Mountain hiking trails

▲Popular hiking trails in Huangshan:

■ Route I: Yellow Mountain hiking: Yungu Temple - White Goose Ridge - Flying-over Rock - the Bright Top - Cloud-dispelling Pavilion

Distance: Approximately 13km

Time needed: 6 hours

Difficulty: ★★★

■ Route 2: Yellow Mountain hiking: West Sea Grand Canyon

Distance: Approximately 10km

Time needed: 4 hours

Difficulty: ★★☆

■ Route 3: Hiking between Xidi Village and Hongcun Village (Xihong Ancient Trail)

Distance: 9km

Time needed: 3 hours

Difficulty: ★★

■ Route 4: hiking Xin'an River (Ten-mile Gallery)

Distance: 16km

Time needed: 4 hours

Difficulty: ★★☆

>> Recommended 6-day Huangshan Yellow Mountain Hiking Tour (with Ancient Trails)

Sichuan – the natural habitat of panda, Jiuzhaigou, and numerous hidden gems

For serious hikers with adventurous spirit, the wilderness of West Sichuan is well worth visiting. Escape to the serenity of the holy mountain foothills, the gorgeous valleys, the vast grasslands, and the Tibetan villages where the ancient shrines and temples retain their original characteristics.

Hike Siguniang Mountain in Sichuan

▲Popular hiking trails in Sichuan:

■ Route 1: Jiuzhaigou Valley hiking

Time needed: 2-3 days

Max altitude: 3,060m


■ Route 2: Daocheng Yading Hiking

Time needed: 2-3 days

Max altitude: 4,600m


■ Route 3: Mt Siguniang Hiking

Time needed: 2 days

Max altitude: 3,800m


■ Route 4:Minya Konka mountain hiking

Time needed: 5-8 days

Max altitude: 7,556m


Tibet – trekking on the roof of the world

For adventurous hikers, hiking in Tibet, known as the “Roof of the World” or the “Third Pole”, is a lifetime dream. Tibet is a paradise for trekking. With an average elevation over 4,500m (14,800 ft), and given its harsh living conditions, most of the hikes and treks of Tibet are great physical strength demanding, but give totally different perspective of nature, and life as well. When trekking in Tibet, also allow yourself some time to visit the ancient monasteries, and try some local dishes and drinks.

Lhasa Ganden Monastery

▲Popular hiking trails in Tibet:

■ Route 1: Lhasa Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery trekking

Time needed: 4-5 days

Max altitude: 5250 meters


■ Route 2: The The Lhasa-Yangbajing trail

Time needed: 2-3 days

Max altitude: 4300 meters


■ Route 3: The grand loop of Mount Kailash trekking

Time needed: 2-3 days

Max altitude: 5630 meters


>> Read more about Top Ten Trekking Trails in Tibet

Hong Kong – best place for urban hiking

▲Hong Kong is not only a shopping paradise, but also a popular leisure hiking/walking destination in China -- there are four trekking trails, ten ecological trails, and eight geoparks, not to mention the downtown walks.

Hong Kong Dragon's Back Trail

Popular hiking trails in Hong Kong:

■ Route 1: Dragon's Back Trail

Distance: around 8.5km

Time needed: 4-5 hours


■ Route 2: Lantau Trail

Distance: around 7km

Time needed: 2 hours


>> Recommended 4-day Hong Kong Walking Tour

>> Check for more private escorted China walking & hiking tours

Further reading:

  • Best 6 Hiking Trails in China
  • Top 10 Outdoor Activities To Do In China That Will Remain In Your Mind Forever

  • Leave a Comment