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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

In Brief: Walk through chestnut orchards to find a dirt trail that climbs up to the unrestored wall; follow the wall through unrestored and restored sections, making a big climb up to a lookout point high on a ridge.

A old Great Wall tower on the unrestored section at  Huanghuachengl

The repaired top section of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall. View more photos »

Key information

  • approx. 3 hours of hiking over approx. 5km.

Note: The length of the hike is like a Level 2, but some of the climbing is more like what’s found on a Level 4. Just for a little while, though!

We start off near a walled village that was once an army barracks during the Ming Dynasty. The tall and thick stone walls remain, and it’s possible to explore inside.

Surrounding the village are fields and chestnut orchards, the main source of income for those who live nearby, and in the hills above the village runs a stretch of the Yellow Flower Great Wall.

We’ll follow the villagers’ field trails up into the hills, passing the chestnut orchards on the way to the narrow hill trail that will take us up to the Great Wall.

It’s here where the trail gets steep for the first time on the hike, with a good climb up the zig-zagging dirt path that leads to the wall.

This first stretch of wall that we’ll see is unrestored and hasn’t been touched since the Ming Dynasty. Parts of it are in good shape, and other parts are tumbled-down and in rough condition.

We’ll follow the wall east, passing through towers and using side trails to skip broken down sections. After 45-50 minutes, we’ll be on to the restored section – a good chance to see what the wall might have looked like when first built.

A climb down a steep set of stairs takes us to a big arch in the wall, and we’ll take a break to catch our breath before another steep climb. From this point, we’ll be on repaired Great Wall.

After a rest, it’s onward and upward, with another 45 or minutes of climbing to get to the highest point on the hike, a lookout point that offers 360° views of the surrounding countryside and more of the wall.

Below, we’ll see a local reservoir. The wall leads down to the reservoir, and back up the hills on the other side. We’ll follow the wall down to the last tower before the reservoir, and then exit to take a path down the hill, passing small guesthouses on the way to the road and the restaurant where we’ll have a big meal before heading back to the city.

What to bring on this hike

Reasons you might not enjoy this hike

  • It’s quite a short hike, but the climbing is steep—both up and down.
  • There’s one really steep descent on the first part of the restored section, with narrow steps, no parapets to hang on to, and a view all the way down to the bottom about 20 metres below.
  • The length of the hike is like a Level 2, but the climbing is more like what’s found on a Level 4.

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: 5–6km
  • Time to complete: 3–4 hours
  • Total ascent: 402m
  • Total descent: 449m
  • Start height: 318m
  • Peak: 538m
  • Finish height: 271m
  • Location: Huairou
  • 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.

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