On this hike we’ll head out to a beautiful section of the Great Wall that is further outside the city than the crowded main tourist sites, and much quieter. You’ll have a chance to hike along an unrestored section of the Great Wall that grants magnificent views of the Great Wall stretching beyond the horizon in the east and west. As we follow the wall, we’ll pass through restored and unrestored sections, as well as taking a nice detour through pines on a hillside trail.
On this hike we will visit a remote stretch of the Great Wall that was completed around 1580 AD, during the reign of Emperor Wan Li. After a good long (some say tough) climb up a hillside trail we’ll follow the Great Wall along a ridge, enjoying great views the whole way. There is plenty of Great Wall in this area, and on a clear day it is extremely picturesque.
Note: tough climb at the start of the hike. While rated a 3+, this hike is sort of a tough 3+ because of the long climb at the beginning. We go up about 500m over 2km of trail, which is a climb worthy of a Level 4 hike.
Stretch the legs with a hike up into the mountains in a remote area just outside the border of Beijing.
We walk up the road into tiny Big Camp Plate Village, then hike through fields, a narrow gully, and then up a rough and tricky stretch of Great Wall. The hike finishes with a walk down and out a long and quiet valley on a newly-scouted trail.
Roads and paved paths lead to the trail that takes us up on to unrestored ‘wild’ Great Wall, which we’ll follow along a ridge line. After several steep ups and downs on the wall we’ll reach the General’s Tower, a large tower sited on the highest point of the ridge. From there we follow the wall down to a steep pass, which we’ll cross through before a quick climb over a hill with super views of the wall behind us.
Some sections steep and slippery
Regular hikers: There’s a significant amount of crossover with this hike and our Middle Route of the Switchback Great Wall hike.
This is a tough and challenging hike, suitable for fit hikers with a good head for heights. We’ll start off at Jiankou, following a zigzag hillside trail that rises quickly to a Great Wall tower that is almost 1,000 metres above sea level. From the tower we can see the Jiankou basin, as well as many other stretches of Great Wall in the area. From there we’ll head southeast, following the wall towards Mutianyu. The hike crosses unrestored and restored sections of wall, which makes it a good way to see the Great Wall as it is now, and how it might have looked when first built.
On this slightly different version of our White River hike we skip the commercial end of the river and start instead with a walk down to the river via a scenic area, joining the trail at the ‘big bend’ in the river.
Ford rivers on this long and level canyon hike in Miyun District, passing beneath tall cliffs and following the path of the river as it winds through the mountains. The area is relatively unpopulated, making this an excellent scenic hike that will fill your lungs with fresh air. Four or so hours of reasonably easy hiking over approximately 12km, and you’ll get your feet wet crossing the river!
Note: If the river level is raised because of rain we might not be able to hike. We’ll check in with our local contacts on the Friday before the hike. There are now a few trails around the deepest crossings, so we should be good to go. There is one deep pool to wade through, and the shallowest part is about 70-80cm deep.
The Great Wall at Longquanyu follows a ridge surrounded by taller mountains, with views of peaks in the distance and canyons far below. We’ll hike a recently repaired stretch with some two very steep descents, and take a detour through chestnut orchards to find the last ‘wild’ stretch of wall in the area. The hike finishes with a walk out past the Little West Lake reservoir, a popular park with views of Great Wall dipping down into the water.
When we’re done walking we’ll head to a nearby restaurant for a late lunch of Chinese food.
Note: there are some very steep descents in the first section of the hike.
This stretch of Great Wall in Yanqing County is extremely picturesque, and seldom visited, but its steepness can prove difficult for casual hikers. On this visit we’ll do the ‘middle route,’ cutting out the toughest parts to make it a little easier. There are still some steep climbs to do, but overall this hike isn’t long enough to rate as difficult – we’ll take our time climbing up and down and make sure that we have a relaxed and enjoyable visit.
Bring your passport / ID card (or a copy) with you on this hike in case the border crossing guards decide they want to check us on the way out.
Make a circuit of the west side of Gubeikou to check out some of the more obscure Great Wall in the area, including a rough line of rocks that is said be Great Wall from the Northern Qi Dynasty.
This hike gives both long- and mid-range views of the line of Great Wall on Wohu Mountain, and you’ll see in a few places that there is an older wall encased within the wall – evidence of later dynasties using the older line of wall as a base for further construction.
A lot of this hike is fairly gentle, but we’re rating it a Level 4 because there are a few steep sections where the wall is narrow and tricky.
Explore a scenic stretch of Great Wall on this Huairou hike, seeing long vistas and hiking both restored and unrestored sections on the way from the Huanghuacheng Reservoir all the way over to the Xishuiyu Reservoir. The hike is moderately difficult, with a few quite steep climbs and some loose rocks and bricks.
Note: there’s some steep climbing on this hike, so we’re rating it a Level 3+ even though it’s quite a short hike.
Hike the Great Wall and camp in a tower on this two day Great Wall adventure. We’ll take care of the heavy lifting and have the camping gear delivered direct to our campsite; you’ll just need to carry your clothes, water, and food and snacks. Enjoy the scenery, sunset, stars, and sunrise without all the sweat involved in a full-on camping expedition.
We’ll supply the camping equipment, water, snacks, and main meals; bring your camera and get ready to enjoy yourself!
Maximum group size of 10 hikers; book early to make sure you get a spot!
Stretch your legs on this nice hill walking hike, starting off through orchards and fields on a long gradual climb to a ridgeline lookout, then descending a zig-zagging dirt trail to walk through a few valley villages before climbing up to a pretty stretch of Great Wall and heading down through more farmland to the Walled Village. Points of interest include a wartime tunnel system, the 300-year old “Dragon and Phoenix” pines, a look at a stretch of Great Wall, as well as the Walled Village, converted from an army barracks that used to house soldiers tasked with guarding the Great Wall in the Ming Dynasty.
On this hike we’ll head out to a beautiful section of the Great Wall that is further outside the city than the crowded main tourist sites, and much quieter. The hike at Gubeikou offers magnificent views of the Great Wall stretching beyond the horizon in the east and west. As we follow the wall, we’ll pass through restored and unrestored sections, as well as taking a nice detour through pines on a hillside trail.
On this hike we will visit a remote stretch of the Great Wall that was completed around 1580 AD and not touched again since. It’s in surprisingly good shape after 400 or so years of weathering.
You’ll hike up and along the Great Wall, passing through large towers on the way to the highest point on the trail. This is an excellent hike for photography—we seldom see other hikers here, and you’ll have long views of ‘wild’ Great Wall ascending ridgelines, with more Great Wall visible on hills in the distance.
Hike the Huanghuacheng Great Wall in Beijing’s Huairou District, starting off on an unrestored stretch and following it over the hills to a restored section and then up, over, and down a mountain to finish at a countryside restaurant near a scenic reservoir.
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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See more of China on a multi-day trip—travel to famous scenic areas, or choose to visit somewhere obscure and less well-known.
In Brief: See the Southern Silk Road sights of Dali and its surrounds, travelling by foot, bicycle, and as part of a mule train as we visit ancient towns and temples on the ancient Tea and Horse Trail and camp out on Cang Mountain.