Shentangyu Natural Scenic Area is situated in Huairou County, 65 kilometers northeast of Beijing, and was the first scenic spot in Huairou to open to visitors. It was an important fortress for Beijing during the Ming dynasty, and the section of the Great Wall in this area is relatively well preserved.
You and your older teenagers will find it an ideal place to hike: There are hills to climb, brooks and streams to wade through, and the ruins of the Great Wall to explore. The geographical features of this area have formed gorgeous scenes and inspired romantic names such as Dragon Pool, Love Birds Lake and Crocodile Pond. The Yanxi River runs through this area with its transparently clean water, in which the renowned Huairou County red trout can be spotted swimming.
Shentangyu is also a good place for photography. The ruins of the Great Wall offer beautiful light and shadows depending on the time of day. Large rocks eroded over time create the illusion of animal forms such as eagles, camels and turtles. Locals will sometimes tell stories and legends of how these rocks came to be. One trip to the Shentangyu Natural Scenic Area will supply a day of hiking, photography and historical instruction.
Location: Buses 916 or 936 from Dongzhimen to Huairou No.3 Middle School, from there take a mini-bus to Shentangyu; alternately, take the Shentangyu Tourist Bus from Xuanwumen
Hours: Daily 7am-sunset
Cost: RMB 20