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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

In Brief: Hike hill trails to a small village where we'll find a path up to a seldom-visited stretch of Great Wall, and then follow the wall towards the Little West Lake, a reservoir in the hills of Huairou District.

A view of a tower on the Longquanyu stretch of Great Wall

Views of Great Wall and mountains in the Longquanyu area. View more photos »

Key information

  • 400 RMB (360 RMB for members)
  • 8:30am departure from Lido Hotel Starbucks; Liangmaqiao subway area pickup at 8:00am. Back in Beijing around 5:30pm. (Find the meeting points)
  • approx. 4 hours start to finish over 7km.
  • Includes a meal after the hike.

The Longquanyu stretch of Great Wall is about 20km north of the Ming Tombs, and was constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). This section of the wall belongs to Yanqing County, and is situated close to the borders of Changping and Huairou, part of the connection between the more famous Huanghuacheng and Badaling sections of Great Wall.

This hike begins with a walk down a dirt path that leads to a small village, passing fields and orchards in an area that used to have a few mines. At the back of the village is a narrow path that runs up through orchards to join the first section of Great Wall that we’ll follow.

In this first section of Great Wall, it’s just the climb to the second tower that is a little steep. After that, though, the ups and downs are a little more gradual. The wall follows the ridgeline, allowing views of mountains on one side, and the Longquanyu water canyon on the other. In places, it is overgrown and bushy, sometimes tumbled down.

The Great Wall is often built up and down incredibly steep hillsides; a highlight of this section is a special spot where the wall meets a cliff that forms a natural barrier, the steps of the wall leading up to a sheer cliff. It makes a good spot for a short break, but there’s not much room for sitting. Quite obviously we cannot continue any further, so we’ll backtrack a little and take a hillside detour, walking through chestnut orchards to get back on to our second section of wall for the day.

The second section of Great Wall continues much as the first, and a natural barrier will again force us off. This time, though, it’s a valley that makes it difficult to continue, with the ruined wall making a steep descent into the valley. Instead of trying a dangerous descent over loose rocks and bricks dislodged by trees and weathering, we’ll follow a thin dirt trail down the hill, into the valley, and then past the remnants of the wall as we head for the Little West Lake.

After getting on to the valley floor the walking is flat and easy, following park trails over a drawbridge and around the Little West Lake, actually a reservoir formed by a dam. We expect that most of the water will still be frozen solid, and we might be able to walk a little on the ice.

After making a circuit of the water we’ll head down to the carpark to meet our bus, and take a short drive to the restaurant where we’ll have our late lunch.

Notes

A section of the Great Wall on this hike has just reopened after a bit of restoration work. On this hike we’ll see a bit of both restored and unrestored Great Wall.

What to bring on this hike

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

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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: 7km
  • Time to complete: approx. 4 hours
  • Total ascent: 266m
  • Total descent: 544m
  • Start height: 553m
  • Peak: 571m
  • Finish height: 266m
  • Location: Yanqing
  • Drive time: 2 hours each way

Hikes in Beijing

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