Songshan has two hiking trails. The more popular eastern route follows a fast-moving stream up to a rocky water fall. Along the way there are places to picnic, rest in the shade and dip your feet into the frigid stream.
You’ve probably never been somewhere this secluded around Beijing (that wasn’t empty for a reason). For some reason or another, tour buses don’t make the trip out here which means it’s just small groups who drive up in private cars.
The main, and only, draw here is the gorgeous reserve. There’s a handful of the obligatory scenic markers, like the ‘Duck Rock’ and ‘Three Stairs Stream’, but otherwise this is where you come if you want to avoid the usual touristy developments. Pack a picnic lunch (there are no restaurants or vendors in the area) and unfold your blanket next to the stream or at one of the tiny tables set off from the path.