Winter Hiking in China: 8 Best & Most Beautiful Winter Hikes, Plus Tips

The off-peak season of tourism in China, winter (December to February) is also a great time for hiking in the country. From the tourist-free, authentic Great Wall and the always beautiful Li River, to the snow-capped mountains, the wilderness of canyons, and the agricultural wonder of rice terraces in the Southwest, China's varied terrain has a lot of spectacular trails to offer the intrepid travelers looking for winter hiking adventures in China.

So let’s start with the best and mot beautiful winter hikes in China, get excited and inspired even in the snow and cold temperature outdoor. 

Hiking China Great Wall in Winter

If you can brave the bitterly coldness, the low temperature and the occasional snowfall, the Great Wall is one of the best winter hikes in China. For a leisure hiking or family with kids, you’re suggested to hike around Mutianyu and Jinshanling. For serious hikers who may also wish to camp on the Great Wall, try Jinshanling to Gubeikou Route or Jiankou. However, it is much more comfortable if you decide to stay at a hotel in the village at the foot of the wall.

Be noted that part of the wall can be very slippy for being covered with ice. And it could be very dangerous if the steep sections get icy. So it is wise to back off if you encounter any potential danger.

Duration: 1-2 days

Average Temperature in Winter: 2℃ - 11℃

Max altitude: 986m

Difficulty: ★★☆

Landscape: ★★★☆

Recommended: 5-day Beijing Great Wall Hiking Tour

Hiking the Great Wall in winter

Heilongjiang China Snow Town Winter Hiking

China Snow Town, formerly known as Shuangfeng Forest Farm, is located in Hailin, Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang Province, and covers an area of 500 hectares. The snowfall period here is very long, and the snow falls very frequently. Hence, there is a saying that "It has never been sunny for three days". The snow accumulation period lasts for seven months, from October to May of the next year. The average annual snow thickness is 2 meters.

A fairyland in winter, with snow-covered “mushroom dwellings”, the beautiful warm sunlight, the frozen cedar, and the auspicious clouds, China Snow Town is ideal for winter hiking in China.

Duration: 2-3 days

Average Temperature in Winter: -17℃ - 27℃

Max altitude: 1,200m 

Difficulty: ★★☆

Landscape: ★★★★

Recommended: 3-day Harbin China Snow Town Tour with Winter Hiking

Winter hiking in China - hiking Snow Town Heilongjiang

Li River Winter Hiking

One of the best hiking trails in China, Li River is also beautiful in winter and great for hiking in December till February. While there are very few tourists on the route, you can take in the natural beauty, when hiking through forests and ancient villages, passing by rice terraces, orchards, bamboo groves, and possibly seeing Li River shrouded in mist.

There are several hiking routes, you can choose to hike from Daxu Old Town to Xingping Old Town (abt 54km), from Yangdi Whart to Xingping Old Town (abt 20km), or from Shangnei to Xingping (20km).

Duration: 5 hours -2 days

Average Temperature in Winter: 8℃ - 16℃

Max altitude: 200m

Difficulty: ★★☆

Landscape: ★★★☆

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

Best winter hikes in China - Li River

Mt.Siguniang Winter Hiking

Mt.Siguniang (Four Girls Mountain) is located in the Qionglai Mountain range of the Tibetan Plateau. It consists of four continuous peaks -- Yaoguniang Peak (the Youngest Sister Peak), Sanguniang Peak (the third sister), Erguniang Peak (the second sister) and the Daguniang Peak (the oldest sister). The Youngest Sister Peak, 6,250 meters above sea level, is the second highest peak in Sichuan Province, known as the eastern Alps and queen of “Sichuan mountains”, facing Gongga Mountain "King of Sichuan mountains" afar.

The four peaks are covered with ice and snow all the year round.

Duration: 5 days

Average Temperature in Winter: -2℃

Max altitude: 6,250m

Difficulty: ★★★

Landscape: ★★★★

Recommended:5-day Oriental Alps Siguniang Mountain Hiking Tour

Best winter hikes in China - Mt.Siguniang to Hailuogou

Mt. Gaoligong Winter Hiking

Gaoligong Mountain is located in the Nujiang Grand Canyon, at the west bank of the Nujiang River, Yunnan Province. It is a national nature reserve with steep mountains, alternating peaks and valleys, and rich and diverse animal and plant resources, known as, “world species gene bank ", "world museum of nature", "refuge of life", "paradise of wild animals", "birthplace of mammal ancestors", "East Asian flora cradle", and "human’s double-sided bookshelf".

It is also home to eight famous flowers in Yunnan. The stunning scenery and mild weather in winter makes Gaoligong Mountain one of the best and most beautiful winter hikes in China.

Duration: 4 days

Average Temperature in Winter: 8℃-20℃

Max altitude: 4,000m

Difficulty: ★★★

Landscape: ★★★

Recommended:5-day Oriental Alps Siguniang Mountain Hiking Tour

Best winter hikes in China - hiking Gaoligong Mountain

Mt. Gongga Kora in Winter

"King of Sichuan mountains", Mount Gongga is famous for glaciers and one of areas where the world's earliest Marine glaciers formed. There are steep peaks eroded by glaciers in the shape of towering pyramids. Hailuogou Glacier, the largest glacier on the eastern slope of Mt.Gongga, is the lowest glacier in the world, with 45 peaks above 6,000 meters and the main peak standing at 7,556 meters above sea level.

Duration: 7 days

Average Temperature in Winter: -4℃

Max altitude: 7,556m (the main peak)

Difficulty: ★★★★☆

Landscape: ★★★★★

Winter hiking in China - hiking Mt. Gangga

Tibet Motuo Winter Hiking

Hailed as the "the No.1 hiking trail in China", Motuo is an ultimate dream for hikers. With the lowest altitude on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the most intact ecological environment, the mildest climate, the most abundant rainfall, Motuo offers one of the best winter hikes in China. The trail is about 115 kilometers and takes 4 days to walk.

The unique terrain makes it possible to hike from alpine cold zone to tropical plants and enjoy different natural scenery, from tropical rain forest to glacier snow slope.

Nevertheless, if the mountains are covered by heavy snow, hiking will be strictly prohibited.

Duration: 4 days

Average Temperature in Winter: -3℃

Max altitude: 1,200m 

Difficulty: ★★★★

Landscape: ★★★★

You may be also interested in: Top Ten Trekking Trails in Tibet

Winter hiking in China - hiking Motuo Tibet

Yunnan Tengchong Winter Hiking

It is never cold in Tengchong, even in winter. When hiking in Tengchong in mid-November to early December, make sure you visit the Ginkgo Village. The hiking trail around Ginkgo Village requires low strength, suitable for photographers and leisure hikers.

Duration: 3 days

Average Temperature in Winter: 3℃-17℃

Max altitude: 1,200m 

Difficulty: ★☆

Landscape: ★★★

Best winter hikes in China - hike in Tengchong Yunnan

General China Winter Hiking Tips

1.It can be dangerous to hike in the snow mountains in winter, so plan ahead and research the trails. It is suggested that you book a tour package with a local travel agency, like us, and hike with a local guide.  

2.Wear appropriately. Mauntaineering jackets and pants are a must, and also accessorize with wool sweater, hiking boots, warmer socks, gloves, a hat, a facemask, etc., if needed. 

3.Stay dry and not sweat, or you will feel cold, and even catch a cold.

4.Eat, to stay nourished and keep warm.

5.Hit the trail early, since the daylight hours are shorter in winter, besides, you are very likely to move slower, and encounter more difficulties (e.g. the trails are hidden by snowpack). 

6.keep your devices warm, and bring extra batteries for your phone and camera.

Further Reading:

  • Top Cities in China for Urban Walks
  • Meili Snow Mountain-Yubeng Village Trekking Guide & Tips

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