Located about an hour and a half from Beijing is Fenghuangling or “Phoenix Mountain”. It’s a great hiking spot for anyone looking to get out-of-town and explore some great scenery around Beijing. Some articles call it the Little Huangshan because its’ rock formation is the same as the famed mountain in the South of China. Below are some details for anyone interested in a fun day trip. It should take you about an hour and half from downtown Beijing in order to reach the entrance to the park.
Hop on the subway and get off at the exit for the Summer Palace. Take Bus 346 from the East Gate of the Summer Palace to Fenghuangling. Fenghuangling will be the very last stop on the bus. From there, walk about a quarter of a mile to the entrance of the park.
View of the mountain range from the bus stop
The hiking paths cover a total area of 15 square kilometers and are divided into three trails: the south route, the central route and the north route. The paths all link up and zigzag their way around the scenic resort.
We took the north route and it’s a circular path that takes you straight up the mountain, snaking past pavilions and through caves along the way. We didn’t have time to do the whole north side of the mountain, but it would take about three or four hours to ascend and descend.
Sections of the path take detours that involve shimming through caves and crevices and scrambling up rock faces with only shallow steps and a metal chain to aid you (Ladder to Heaven); both provide plenty of “don’t look down moments”, along with incredible photo opportunities.
Ladder to Heaven
The ladder to heaven was one of the highlights of the trip. It’s a very steep but short climb with some incredible photo opportunities.
Getting there: Take Bus 346 from the East Gate of the Summer Palace to Fenghuangling. Fenghuangling will be the very last stop on the bus. From there, walk about a quarter of a mile to the entrance of the park.