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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop Hike

In Brief: A long hill climb takes us up on to a remote, rough, and seldom-visited stretch of unrestored Great Wall, with awesome views of the surrounding mountains. Note: the climb back down takes us down a steep and perpetually brushy section of trail, which may cause a bit of delay.

The Great Wall crossing hills and mountains in Huailai District

The Great Wall crossing hills and mountains in Huailai County. View more photos »

Key information

  • 3–4 hours start to finish over 10km.

UPDATE: Cancelled this one because of the weather forecast. Try a hike this weekend?

Weather note: if rain or thunder is forecast we might not be able to hike. We’d look at postponing the hike to the next day. If that doesn’t work out we’d suggest that you switch to one of the hikes during the weekend.

On this hike we’ll head out to the border of Beijing Municipality and Hebei Province for a moderately difficult walk through peach orchards, up valleys, and along the Great Wall. 

The Great Wall out here is rough and seldom-visited—choose this hike if you’re interested in a visit to a section of wall very different to what you’ve seen on postcards.

In the Ming Dynasty, Zhenbiancheng was one of three important outposts on the border, along with Changyucheng and Baiyanggou. Modern Zhenbiancheng has grown in and around the old city walls. Much of the town walls still remain, as well as archways, bricks, and stone carvings.

In more recent times, the area was the site of a major battle between the Chinese and Japanese armies, and it’s said that bullet holes can be seen in some of the walls.

About the hiking trail

We’ll follow an access road that begins near the village, and then up a leafy valley, passing through peach orchards before following a hill trail up to the Great Wall. For the first part of the valley we’ll be on a fairly flat trail, with views of the distinctive peaks of nearby ‘Brush-rest’ Mountain. From the head of the valley we’ll walk a hill trail that is moderately steep, arriving at a ruined tower on the Great Wall after 40-60 minutes of steady ascent. After a quick rest, we’ll continue along the wall, heading for another ruined tower that will be our lunch spot. The Great Wall in this area is not all in good condition, so for some of the hike we will need to walk alongside it.

After lunch, our hike continues for about forty minutes on the wall, until we reach the the point where we’ll head down a valley. The trail down the valley is steep to begin with, but eventually it flattens out and leads us through grassy fallow fields on the way back to the roadside.

The first part of the trail down from the wall is seldom used and could be quite bushy.

What to bring on this hike

Reasons you might not enjoy this hike

  • There are some steep climbs on loose footing while on the wall.
  • The trail down from the wall is unmaintained, with sections that are brushy and steep. We recommend you wear trousers on this hike to protect your legs.

There are risks involved in hiking. Please read our Risk Acknowledgment and Waiver and inform yourself before participating.

Level3+

Level of difficulty

Level 3+ is a ‘tougher’ moderate hike. There may be long climbs up hills, and there may be steep sections.

Is the level of difficulty suitable for me?

Hike statistics

  • Distance: approx. 10km
  • Time to complete: 3–4 hours
  • Total ascent: 634m
  • Total descent: 612m
  • Start height: 799m
  • Peak: 1,366m
  • Finish height: 822m
  • Location: Huailai
  • Drive time: 2 hours each way

Hikes in Beijing

We publish our hike schedule month by month, with updates around the 10th of each month.

If you're interested in hikes and trips during a month that's not yet listed, use our contact form to let us know and we'll send you a quick email when the schedule is online.

Hike in Beijing calendar

See the Hike in Beijing schedule in our calendar


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All upcoming hikes in Beijing

Departure date: Wednesday, September 27
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, September 28
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Departure date: Saturday, September 30
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: September 30-October 1 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Hemp Village and Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, October 1
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Prove Your Loyalty

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Departure date: Sunday, October 1
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Monday, October 2
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The Pinnacle Tower

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Departure date: Tuesday, October 3
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Tuesday, October 3
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Zhuangdaokou to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Wednesday, October 4
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, October 4
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Thursday, October 5
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Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Friday, October 6
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: October 6–7 (Fri–Sat)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, October 7
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Quarrymen’s Trail to the Heavenly Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, October 7
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, October 8
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, October 12
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, October 14
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, October 14
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Departure date: Sunday, October 15
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, October 15
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Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

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Departure date: Wednesday, October 18
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, October 19
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Saturday, October 21
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Big Camp Plate Village and Hengling Valley

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Departure date: Saturday, October 21
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, October 22
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, October 22
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Shunyi Hikers: Yajishan Temple Circuit

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Departure date: Wednesday, October 25
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, October 26
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, October 28
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Chinese Knot Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, October 28
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, October 29
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Cypress Wells Canyon and Yongning Town

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Departure date: Sunday, October 29
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 1
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Thursday, November 2
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, November 4
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Over the Hills to Dajuesi

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Departure date: Saturday, November 4
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Sunday, November 5
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, November 5
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Intelligence Valley

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 8
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, November 9
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Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, November 11
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The High Tower Loop hike

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Departure date: Saturday, November 11
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, November 12
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Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, November 12
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 15
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, November 16
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Saturday, November 18
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Gubeikou West Circuit

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Departure date: Saturday, November 18
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, November 19
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, November 19
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Shunyi Hikers: Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 22
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, November 23
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, November 25
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Hillwalking Challenge: Flower Wood to East Water Valley

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Departure date: Saturday, November 25
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, November 26
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, November 26
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Tomb Raiders and the Sacred Way

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 29
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, November 30
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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