Time: 8 hours 35 minutes Distance: 9 miles Difficulty: medium Start: Jiangkou Optional: Overnight in farmhouse
This hike not only gives you an opportunity to see some very pretty farm villages and rural scenes, you also have the option of staying overnight in a Chinese farmhouse with a very friendly family if you want to break the hike into two days (photo on lodgings page). Old stone is scarce on this road except in the very beginning (below right) and the appeal of the hike lies in the pretty scenery. The first hour begins with a climb up the steep hill just south of Jiangkou, and then a level walk along the crest of the mountain with fine views of the Qinling range to the south (below left) before you head downhill into the next valley. Here you pick up a little- traveled dirt road which follows a stream up into the hills past pretty farmhouses and villages for about 3½ hours. Shortly after crossing an old iron-chain suspension bridge, you leave the stream and head through the woods up into the mountains, stopping a half hour later to spend the night in the farmhouse or continuing on over the mountain to the village of Qiligoukou where you can catch a bus heading north back to Jiangkou.