Beijing – Backpacking Trips

Spend a few days trekking through the foothills and over the peaks of the Beijing’s Yanshan Mountains, and experience the glory of hiking and sleeping in the Great Outdoors! Why glaze your eyes over with mundane media for an entire holiday when instead, you can feast them on the seldom-seen jewels of the Chinese night sky! And sure, Beijing has great restaurants, but none of them can dish up a meal as satisfying as a warm bowl of macaroni and cheese after a full day of fresh air in the mountains!

Few realize the scenic hiking opportunities just beyond the borders of Beijing, and even fewer have experienced them! You’ve already faced the adventure of life abroad, and you’ve probably visited the great wall, so why not add a backcountry experience to your CV? Just a couple of hours outside of Beijing’s busy streets you can find real natural beauty. At JWA we pride ourselves in our ability to offer exceptional hiking and camping experiences to people who would greatly benefit from getting out of China’s busy cities. Come spend a weekend or a week with us in nature. You’ll be glad you did!

Minimum age requirement is 15*. *Exceptions are made on a case by case basis. Minimum group size is 6 with a maximum of 12 people per hiking group. Groups with larger numbers will be divided into small groups suitable for backcountry travel. Our backpacking trips can be customized for your group. No backpacking experience is required! However, it should be kept in the mind that each day will involve around 6 hours or more of hiking, so pre-trip exercise and physical stamina are required. *Email us or click on the “Contact Us” tab and let us know how we can arrange a trip for your group or get you on an existing trip.

From the start of our trip in Beijing until the end your JWA trip includes all transportation, lodging, food, and equipment.  Our industry leading backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, cooking supplies, water filtration equipment, and light weight tents help to make your trip more enjoyable.  On the trail, we supply high-quality (mostly-imported) backcountry food that will keep you happy and healthy on the trail.

You’ll need to prepare all personal clothing as well as a few small personal items that are necessary for your trip. Once you register you’ll receive our “personal equipment and clothing list” to help you prepare for your upcoming trip. Participants are also responsible for their travel to and from Beijing. If you’d like our help in booking your travel, please contact our travel agent.

How should I prepare physically for the trip?
In order to safely enjoy your trip, we ask each participant to run 30-45 minutes three to four times a week for the month leading up to the trip (this is the minimum recommended time). Additionally, as you will be carrying a backpack weighing between 35-45 pounds up and down steep terrain, walking up stairs can help to prepare you for your trip. Adding sit-ups, push-ups, and stretching to your exercise routine will help to reduce injury and add to your enjoyment while on the trip.  In the past, participants who have followed our recommended exercise program have been strong contributors to their team and have been able to enjoy the backpacking experience.

How strenuous will the trail be?
On average, we will be hiking between four and eight hours each day.  On some trips we have a rest day where we will be doing no hiking and on other trips we have a day hike on day where we will not be carrying our backpacks.  If we have a day hike day or a rest day, then we’ll setup a base camp in the mountains. Typically, our longest day on the trail would be around 10 to 12 kilometers, and our shortest day on the trail would be around 3.5 to 5 kilometers but length of hiking varies depending on trip choice, location, and difficulty.  We understand that many people who come on our trips are not experienced hikers or backpackers, but rather people that simply want to get out into nature and be refreshed. To date, we’ve had participants as young as 13 and as old as 62 participate on our trips.  Following our preparation instructions should prepare you to have an enjoyable experience with your group on the trail.

What does JWA provide? What equipment should I bring?
JWA will provide you with all the necessary backpacking equipment for your trip: sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, backpack, emergency whistle, compass, maps, bowl, spoon, all meals and snacks, food bags, cooking utensils, stoves, Nalgene water bottles–(backpacking trips only)–journal, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, trowel, Ziploc baggy. You are responsible for all the clothing you need as well as personal toiletries like sunscreen, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, and feminine supplies. Furthermore, you will need to bring a headlamp, pen, and anything else you might want like a bandana, chapstick etc. We will provide you with a detailed clothing document upon your registration.

How will I stay clean on the trail?
Although you won’t be taking a shower on the trail, you will at times, have the opportunity to rinse away dirt in a nice mountain stream. Due to our appreciation for the beautiful natural areas that we travel through, we are committed to have a minimal level of environmental impact. That is why we train each of our participants in the Leave No Trace environmental ethic, so that each subsequent group that travels down our trails will have the same unforgettable experience. Soap and Shampoo – using soap outdoors is difficult because most soaps contain phosphates, which stimulate the growth of algae in water and subsequently cause an imbalance in the ecosystem.  Therefore, soap should never be used directly in any of the natural water sources we encounter.  Only phosphate-free and biodegradable soaps should be used in the wilderness. Your guides will carry some of this soap with them for use on the trail.  Even “biodegradable” soaps have an impact on the pristine wilderness environments we travel through, so we use them sparingly. We will teach you many ways in which you can stay happy and clean on the trail, while allowing each subsequent group that follows to have the same memorable experience.

What toiletry articles do I need to bring?  What will JWA provide?
JWA will provide toilet paper and hand sanitizer as well as a small Ziploc bag for toilet trash.  You should pack your own toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, comb, sunscreen, chapstick, and pads/tampons.  Women expecting their period should come prepared with appropriate materials to pack out their supplies (see section below on periods). You will be able to leave other toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, and a razor in a separate bag for after the backpacking portion of the trip.

What should I be prepared for with regards to using the “restroom” in the woods?
Pooping and peeing in the woods can be challenging at times, but it’s something everyone on the trip is dealing with, so there is no need to be embarrassed. The JWA staff will go over this in detail with you before and during your trip, but here’s a little sneak-preview of the human waste disposal talk: We will be using a trowel for digging-and-burying excrement. Toilet paper should be used sparingly and must be packed out with you in the Ziploc baggy that JWA provides. You can also try using natural materials like fallen leaves (which should be carefully identified first) as toilet paper. The truth is that using the restroom in the woods is not as complicated or difficult as many people expect. By day one or two you’ll be such a natural you may never wish to use an indoor public restroom again…

What if I get my period while on the trip?
Both women and men should be comfortable talking about menstruation in the wilderness. For women who have not been in the backcountry before, the physical exertion as well as altitude of the trip can cause their period to start early or to not occur at all. This is not uncommon or dangerous, but you should be mentally prepared that your menstrual cycle might be affected on the trip. Women can use both tampons and pads in the backcountry. Some women prefer using tampons since they can be more comfortable for exercise. To avoid infections, only use tampons with applicators; tampons without applicators require extremely clean hands for insertion and are not recommended in the backcountry unless you can ensure that your hands are clean. It’s also recommended to use pads while sleeping in addition to the tampon. This can safe-guard again unwanted stains on sleeping bags. All tampons, pads, and toilettes should be packed out. Do not bury feminine hygiene products as they do not decompose, and animals may be attracted to them. Waste should be packed out in one or two plastic Ziploc bags, which can be covered with duct-tape. A crushed aspirin, wet tea bag, or baking soda placed inside the bag will minimize the odor from soiled tampons and pads. Additionally, a small piece of aluminum foil can be wrapped around the tampon or pad before placing it in the bag. At night the bag must be placed out of reach from animals, just as the food is stored.
*All women should be sure to bring a “menstruation kit” with them made up of the above supplies in case of an unexpected period while on the trail.

How much will my travel to and from the trips start/end location cost?
Flight prices around China vary based on the city from which you’re departing and the time of year you are traveling. One way to reduce your transportation cost is to travel by train. Helpful sights for comparing airline costs include and

If I want to travel after my trip, where can I go?
Feel free to explore other locations after your trip, however, JWA cannot coordinate this part of your trip for you. We have found that once the list of trip participants has been finalized that some participants may communicate with one another in order to travel together before or after the trip.  Some helpful places to look for travel information include and

How much money should I bring on my trip?
Once you arrive at your trips departure city (Beijing/Urumqi/Xining/Etc), all of your transportation, lodging, equipment, and food will be covered through lunch on the final day of your trip. You will not need money at any point on the trail. On the final day, many participants often like visiting local markets, so if you would like to shop, consider bringing some spending money for souvenirs. Prices are comparable to markets around China and vary based on your ability to haggle.

What happens if there is a medical emergency on the trip?
At least one JWA staff on every trip is Wilderness First Responder first aid certified. This is a first aid certification specifically designed to train wilderness guides in remote medicine.  Our guides have their up-to-date certification in this industry leading wilderness medical certification and are prepared to respond to medical emergencies that typically arise in the backcountry. In the event that support is needed, JWA guides have satellite communication devices on hand to notify our support staff.

Are there wild animals where I will be hiking?
In every wild and natural place on the planet there are animals; however, in China because of the amount of people and the amount of hunting and farming, those animals are far less common than in other parts of the world. In the areas we hike around Beijing there are very few animals. If we’re lucky we’ll encounter some.