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Although other major cities in China might rival Beijing’s access to the great outdoors, nowhere has as big or as enthusiastic an outdoor community as we do. Nor, we would argue as proud Beijingers, do they have as many breathtaking backdrops as us. The pick of our locations are in the farthest reaches of the city, but the city’s network of long-distance buses can get you out to most major locations. Go explore.

Ming Tombs Reservoir
Another man-made body of water, this one is shallower and usually more welcoming of swimmers. It’s also a great base for exploring the Ming Tombs, which, while not as elaborate as those in Egypt, can still give one a bit of an Indiana Jones – or maybe Marco Polo – feeling.

Lingshan
Beijing’s highest mountain, northwest of Mentougou, the area is a favorite of Birding Beijing founder Terry Townshend, who says that many difficult to find birds alight there. At 2,303 meters, it won’t require supplemental oxygen, but it’s a long hike with breathtaking views, and ample camping around the area. It does get a bit chilly, though.

Shi Du/Ten Ferries
One of Beijing’s old school outdoor areas, it’s only four kilometers from the border with Hebei province in southwest Beijing. It’s best known for its scenery and the mix of mountains and water. Use local tour boats as ferries to get to trailheads or less accessible areas more amenable to camping and enjoying nature.

Great Wall at Jiankou
Skip Mutianyu and Jinshanling. Those parts of the Great Wall are nice to visit, but camping options there are scarce. Instead, choose the section at Jiankou, about 73 kilometers due north of Wangjing. This is “wild wall,” unrestored, crumbling and authentic. Help preserve the Wall: camp near it, not on it.

Miyun Reservoir
Even out of town, Beijing lacks a major body of water. The Miyun Reservoir has served as a hub for semi-aquatic recreation for decades, and while many areas are closed to campers, a designated site in the White River area is also popular with rock climbers. Swimming in the reservoir is ... well, better ask first.

Get Kitted out for Camping
sanfo.com
Beijing’s most established retailer of camping and outdoor equipment with locations around the city. They have a large selection of imported and domestically-manufactured equipment and is generally specialized – no beach balls here.

decathlon.com.cn
The name may be more familiar to Western consumers, and is better-suited for equipping the occasional outdoors person, not someone with dreams of climbing mountains or week-long backcountry treks.

Also, check out some gear that might come handy out in the wild in our Inspect a Gadget camping edition.

Photos: Sophia/The Perpetual, Lotour.com, Foreigner, Green Team America, James Lindsay, Beijing Youth Travel Service


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