The White River (Báihé， 白河) grand canyon is a beautiful little spot that can easily be visited as an overnight camping trip (or a day trip is you’re in a rush). The path along the river itself is flat and even making this a good place to start if you are an inexperienced hiker. This post is about the canyon entrance point close to the Dragon Cloud Mountain (Lóng yún shān 龙云山). The directions below will tell you how to get to this section of the BaiHe, but it is a very long river with lots of interesting spots so I’ve heard catching a taxi from Miyun and asking a local to take you to a good camping spot is also an option.
The canyon is located about 2.5 hours north east of Beijing, and we entered it approximately here.
The canyon is quite remote but getting there isn’t too difficult by public transport. Get on the 980 long distance bus at Dongzhimen (东直门枢纽站) station to Miyun (密云). At MiYun you want to transfer to a green mini bus heading to Sihetangcun （四合堂村). The Black Dragon pool is a tourist attraction about half way between MiYun and the BaiHe canyon, the Black Dragon pool stop is noticeable by the large bridge if you wanted to check it out on your way. Alternatively you can just hire a taxi from Miyun and organise for them to come back and get you the next day or just hire a car all the way from Beijing.
About another 30 minutes past the and you will be at the entrance to the canyon, you want to disembark at the Sihetang bridge. If you are worried about missing the stop just ask for ‘Longyunshan’ and you should end up in the right area. The entrance to the canyon is on the opposite side of the river to the start of Longyunshan hike.
Once you’ve disembarked you want to find the path leading upstream. We were stopped by someone and asked to pay a camping fee but it was only 30 yuan so nothing that will break the bank. We brought supplies with us for a campfire dinner, but if you prefer you can grab some home style Chinese food from the locals before you start your hike.
The path is gravel and easy walking, we only hiked for a leisurely 45 minutes before decided to set up camp. There doesn’t seem to be any specific camping sites just pitch your tent where ever looks suitable.
We were here on a hot day and the water was still very cold, that didn’t stop us from dipping our feet. Just be careful the current is strong in places so if you are not an experienced swimmer stay in the shallow parts of the river.
The rocky peaks and clear blue sky made for spectacular views and the fresh air was fantastic. This walk is truly off the tourist trail; we saw no one else the whole weekend. It might not be as spectacular as other Beijing attractions, but if you have a spare couple of days it is definitely worth a visit.
The Vital Information
Getting There: 980Bus from Dongzhimen to Miyun, than bus or taxi to Sihetang
What to bring: Camping equipment, hiking shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, bathers
Cost: Approximately 100 yuan per person for travel costs and entrance fees