Genetic variation and differentiation were investigated among five natural populations of Quercus aquifolioides occurring along an altitudinal gradient that varied from 2000 to 3600 m above sea level in the Wolong Natural Reserve of China, by analyzing variation at six microsatellite loci. The results showed that the populations were characterized by relatively high intra-population variation with the average number of alleles equaling 11.33 per locus and the average expected heterozygosity (HE) being 0.779. The amount of genetic variation varied only little among populations, which suggests that the influence of altitude factors on microsatellite variation is limited. However, there is a significantly positive correlation between altitude and the number of low-frequency alleles (R2 = 0.97, P < 0.01), which indicates that Q. aquifolioides from high altitudes has more unique variation, possibly enabling adaptation to severe conditions. F statistics showed the presence of a slight deficiency of heterozygosity (FIS = 0.136) and a low level of differentiation among populations (FST = 0.066). The result of the cluster analysis demonstrated that the grouping of populations does not correspond to the altitude of the populations. Based on the available data, it is likely that the selective forces related to altitude are not strong enough to significantly differentiate the populations of Q. aquifolioides in terms of microsatellite variation.