The International Steam Pages

Shibanxi Holiday 2009/10 - Hiking round Bagou

Click here for the main Shibanxi Holiday 2009 page.

If you are familiar with the 2009 recommendations then read the More Hiking Round Bagou 2010 section (added 6th March 2010).

This sketch map with clickable links appears in most of the linked pages - there are a few extra walks described below beyond Jiaoba.

Many of my readers will have been to Shibanxi more than once and will know that there are days when it is better to park the cameras than fight the non-existent light. We all have our own particular solution to the problem - this was our balcony at the end of our third week.


And the best way to work up that thirst is to go hiking in the hills and see the real China at first hand. All you need is at least one day since it last rained, an open mind, a couple of bottles of water and a smile for when you need to ask the locals how to get home. Here is an initial (graded) list of my suggestions, I would greatly welcome suggestions from other visitors.

  • Mifeng to Caiziba - Fed up with walking up the track to the horseshoe? Mr. Chen, 'Mine Host' at Mifeng will show you the back path which is a gentle walk through the rice paddies and probably quicker. And, if you take a wrong turning, it doesn't matter because you will only end up on the truck road from Yuejin to Caiziba. See if you can spot the old coal mine workings on the way.

  • Jiaoba to Xianrenjiao - Fed up with walking through the tunnels? Take the path up to the viewpoint above the big curve, bear left on upwards and turn left past between the two houses past the other view point. Continue along roughly parallel and above the railway before descending to the concrete path which joins the railway after the second tunnel. Not easy to work out in the opposite direction!  

  • Bagou to Jiaoba - Got an extra hour to spare to get to the big curve and fed up with the tunnels? See our account of the Jiaoba Jaunt.

  • Bagou to Ma Miao - Ever wondered how the trucks get to Bagou? Take the path down east out of Bagou past the 1990s former school (now a chicken farm) and you can't go wrong. If you get tired/bored then just retrace your steps or walk up another valley to join the Mamio Meander although eventually it's a great day out. Click here for more information on the Long March to Mamiao.

  • Caiziba to Jiaoba - Did you ever wonder what happened in the deep gorge west of the railway? On the truck road from Caiziba village ignore the new road on the left  and follow it past the school and down into the gorge. If in doubt turn left at the two junctions (the roads to the right lead to various open and closed coal mines). At the bottom stay on the road as it passes an open coal mine, it is now only used by the bamboo collectors.


The road becomes a path - in 2010 the appearance of road vehicles at Jiaoba suggest it has been extended up the valley - at the site of another coal mine but is easily followed up the valley. Just follow your nose and according to how you persevere, you will find yourself climbing back to the railway either between the tunnels or just after the second one. Coming from Jiaoba, it's much easier as if you turn left before the first tunnel you can follow the path down and the route is self evident. Best bring your swimming costume:

  • Caiziba/Mifeng to the 'Water Heart Village' - one for the athletic culture vultures, see our account, it can be combined with the Caiziba to Jiaoba walk above. Mr. Chen, 'Mine Host' at Mifeng can show you this walk too.

  • Bagou to Huangdan - Ever wondered what happened beyond Huangcun and its coal mines? This is a significant all day hike but well worth the effort - see our account.

  • Jiaoba to Huangcun - This one is on our wish list, from Jiaoba, go down to the valley below and follow it to the watershed. We have been told there is a path down to Huangcun...

More Hiking Round Bagou

I would hesitate to say that we have the hikes in this area 'cracked' but we now have an even better idea of the possibilities in the Bagou area. Recommended new walks (added 13th March 2010) are:

For the masochists, you could probably do the entire circuit of the ridge around Bagou in about five hours. I wouldn't fancy it myself as there's not a single beer shop anywhere along the way...

Rob Dickinson