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Guides / Itineraries

Hiking Beijing’s ancient paths

By Minjun Xu

September 18

As important traffic routes in ancient times, these ancient paths in the west of Beijing have numerous historic sites as well as impressive views.

As important traffic routes in ancient times, these ancient paths in the west of Beijing have numerous historic sites as well as impressive views.

Tired of Beijing’s crowded sightseeing spots and the bustling shopping malls? How about a hike on the ancient paths this weekend? This one-day hike will definitely show you the little known aspect of Beijing.

Monument of Jingxi Ancient Paths [Image Credit: news.cn]
Monument of Jingxi Ancient Paths [Image Credit: news.cn]
The Jingxi Ancient Paths consist of three routes – Xishan Path, Yuhe Path, and Xintan Path – in the west of Beijing. They were important traffic routes for commerce during the Yuan and Ming dynasties. Strolling down the paths, you can still sense the area’s former bustle.

1. Xishan Path 西山大道

Former Residence of Ma Zhiyuan [Image Credit: Qianlong.com]
Former Residence of Ma Zhiyuan [Image Credit: Qianlong.com]
“Over old trees wreathed with rotten vines fly evening crows Under a small bridge near a cottage a stream flows

On ancient road in the west wind a lean horse goes.”

— Ma Zhiyuan, Tune: Sunny Sand·Autumn Thoughts, Yuan Dynasty

During the Yuan Dynasty, the Xishan Path was vital for coal transport with over 20 villages and coal plants along the route.  These were some of the most prosperous villages during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Liuliqu Village on the Xishan Path was once a famous center of imperial glass decorations and still manufactures glass today.

Route: Shiguyan Village à Xiluopo Village (Former Residence of Ma Zhiyuan) à Qiao’erjian Village (Guanyu Temple) à Niujiaoling Fortress à Xiehejian Village à Chou’erling Village à Liuliqu Village

Transport: Take Metro Line 1 and get off at Pingguo Yuan Station, then take Bus No. 929 and get off at Shiguyan Station.

2. Yuhe Path 玉河大道

Jingxi Ancient Paths [Image Credit: VCG]
Jingxi Ancient Paths [Image Credit: VCG]
Legend says Yuhe Path was paved by a warlord during the Five Dynasties period.

Known as the “First Fortress”, Fengkou’an, dates back 1000 years. Hundreds of footprints left by horses were embedded on the way to Fengkou’an, leaving a trace of its bustling past.

Route: Wangping à Fengkou’an à Juanmen

Transport: Take Metro Line 1 and get off at Pingguo Yuan Station, then take Bus No. 929 and get off at Wangping Village Station.

3. Xintan Path 新潭大道

Buddha Carved Stone on Jingxi Ancient Paths [Image Credit: VCG]
Buddha Carved Stone on Jingxi Ancient Paths [Image Credit: VCG]
Xintan Path runs from Xincheng Village to Tanzhe Temple. Built in the Jin Dynasty, Tanzhe Temple – one of the most well-known temples in Beijing – has been visited by numerous emperors over the past 1,000 years. For people who are interested in Buddhist culture, the carved stones along Xintan Path can’t be missed.

Route: Tanzhe Temple à Tansiling à Xifeng Temple à Changji Bridge à Jietai Temple à Shifo Village (Buddha Carved Stone) à Dahuichang

Transport: Take Metro Line 1 and get off at Pingguo Yuan Station, then take Bus No. 931 and get off at Tanzhe Temple Station.

Entry: 25 yuan/person

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