Village Art Garage

The Village Art Garage is located in Beigou Village and is a place where artists create. They have frequent performances and exhibitions and offer classes to local schoolchildren and elderly folks in the village. They have a gallery that is usually open on weekend from 11:00 to 15:00 or by appointment. Best to contact them in advance.

 

Hiking the Great Wall

A trip to Mutianyu wouldn't be complete without a climb on the Great Wall. Well maintained, with great access and beautiful views, the Mutianyu section makes a wonderful trip all four seasons of the year. In the warm summer sun, the cool autumn breeze, the quiet and snowy winter, or amongst the spring blossoms, the Mutianyu Great Wall maintains its majesty as it continues to guard the pass.

There are two cable cars that will take you to the top of Mutianyu Great Wall. This makes it accessible to climbers and non-climbers alike. The first cable car is aptly named "The Number One Cable Car of the Great Wall," and is a comfortable and scenic ride up or down. The cable car is a closed gondola seating four to six, and will take you straight up to an elevated portion of the Wall. From here you can take the walk down to the lower car, or up as high as you can, to the point where the Wall renovation has stopped. The elevation on this car offers a spectacular view of the Wall as it crosses the ridgeline on a clear day.

The second cable car lift will also take you up to the top of the Wall, but ends to the east, and at a lower elevation than the first. This lift is similar to a ski lift, in that it is open air, so if you are afraid of heights, the walk might better suit your tastes. Although at a lower elevation, the platforms in this area still offer a wonderful view of the Wall, as well as access to the Zheng Guan Tai gate which is the most famous and most striking of the gates at Mutianyu. From this cable car, there is also a toboggan run, similar to a bobsled, which is a fun and fast way to come down off the Wall when you’ve taken all the pictures you want.

 

Hiking the surrounding Areas

Nestled in the mountains to the North West of Beijing, Mutianyu offers visitors a wonderful setting for walking in the village, or hiking and walking through the hilly orchards and mountainsides. Visit the Schoolhouse Country Store at the base of the village for more information and local maps and ideas.

 

Village Tours and Walks

Despite its location at the foot of the Great Wall, Mutianyu village is a quiet farming village that is a microcosm of the Chinese countryside. New homes built since the reform and opening up period are nestled amongst homes passed through the generations, as China’s new wealth finds its way into the countryside. The unique and quiet charm of the village is complimented by the local villagers relaxing and catching some fresh air along the side of the road. Take the time to walk around the village and take in some of the village life.

The Schoolhouse may arrange walking tours to visit and have tea with local villagers if booked in advance. These tours will take you into the homes of villagers, where you can learn about how village life is changing, and how it is staying close to its roots.

 

Light Hikes and the Great Wall

The unique location of Mutianyu makes it ideal for light hikes and orchard walks in proximity to the Great Wall. Orchard paths are plentiful, and though hilly, are simple to walk and to find your way through. From the hills surrounding the village, you will hardly believe that you are still in the districts of Beijing. Fresh air, beautiful vistas, and the sweet scent of the fruit trees make these walks worthwhile.

Mutianyu Great Wall Park is of course the highlight of any trip to Mutianyu, and a walk along the Wall is an exciting part of any excursion in the area. Find more information in about operating hours, tickets, and activities here.

 

Medium to Difficult Hiking in the area

For more adventurous hikers, the mountains that surround Beijing offer one and two day hikes with both history and natural beauty. Stay tuned for hikes to be posted in the near future. Check with Beijing Hikers for more information.

 

Guides and Hiking Clubs

Hiking with a guide or a group is more than just good company, its common sense. We advise any hiker, regardless of age or ability, to take necessary precatutions when hiking in the area.

 

Biking

With smooth wide roads, and plentiful fresh air, the hills and towns of Huairou provide a wonderful escape for both recreational and serious cyclists.

The direct approaches to Mutianyu are smooth and steep, making them ideal for road bikers looking to test their mettle and get a good workout. Only 70 km from Beijing, a growing number of foreign and local enthusiasts are making this loop a part of their regular weekend routine. These approaches from Beijing are also one of the training courses for the Chinese National Team and other competitive cyclists, meaning that on a cool fall day, or a warm summer afternoon, you may come across a number of different groups of cyclists speeding along. Make a refreshing stop for lunch and a drink at the Great Wall, and take in the views while you cool down before a long downhill ride into town.

For the more casual rider, load your bikes in the car and come up for a ride between villages. Not all of the roads are as steep as the surrounding mountains might suggest, and with an increase in the quality and paving of the roads, the villages and townships of the district are becoming increasingly accessible. Spend an afternoon riding, and stop for tea, or to buy crafts from local artisans and shopkeepers. Enjoy a hike and bike, stopping off to climb into the orchards on the surrounding hills or to enjoy a piece of fresh local fruit.

Mountain biking is still in its infancy in Beijing, and designated mountain trails are few and far between, but don’t let this hold you back. The orchard trails that dominate the hills around Huairou’s mountain villages make ideal paths for beginners and more serious riders. Orchards have been terraced for generations in Huairou and Mutianyu, making for a great series of jumps, bumps and trails for adventurous and energetic bikers.

 

The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu is also proud to host the Bohai or Bust Charity Bike Ride on April's first Saturday. Spring is such a great time to get out under the blue skies, and Mutianyu's surrounding Bohai Township is filled with forested valleys and stunning mountain passes. Just the setting for a remarkable day of bike riding! Both photos to the left were taken from the 2010 Bohai or Bust event. Click here for more event info

 

Arts & Crafts

Part of the long term vision for the village of Mutianyu and the Great Wall Park, is to develop a series of craft industries which will provide locals with a stable income and tourists with genuinely high-quality and unique souvenir items. This program is just starting to take root in the villages surrounding the Mutianyu Great Wall, and with luck, you will find something to take home and show family and friends.

 

Schoolhouse Art Glass

Started as a hobbyists love of the art form, Schoolhouse Art Glass has developed into one of China’s leading art glass studios. Their studio is full of unique art pieces, hand blown vases and lampworks, as well as some of China’s finest wine glasses. Lampworking demonstrations are happening almost every day. Visit the website to find out about demonstrations and activities.

 

The Art Room

New to The Schoolhouse this summer is our expanded and redeveloped Art Room. Feeding a demand for both dining and exhibition space, what was formerly our Country Store, and much earlier the village tractor shed, has become a light and airy multipurpose space with over 200sm.

The Art Room contains a gallery for temporary exhibitions of artworks and crafts in various media. Our emphasis is on works that are related to China and that bring alive traditional themes for contemporary tastes. The Art Room welcomes exhibitions from interested local and international artists. Please contact info@theschoolhouseatmutianyu.com for further information if you would like to host an exhibit.

Visit Art Room site