This hike follows an out-and-back trail that takes us up the Gubeikou Great Wall and then over towards the Jinshanling Great Wall. We'll go as far as Old Mr Zhou’s campsite, turning back after taking in the long views over the Jinshanling Great Wall.
We start off at the Panlongshan part of the Gubeikou Great Wall, and warm up with an easy walk up a valley before climbing the stairs up to the wall.
After taking a break at the first tower, we’ll continue up along the wall, heading for 24-Eyes Tower, the tallest tower on this stretch. The walk up to the top is a slow climb with a few steep sections. We pass through several large, intact towers on the way up to the top.
The views from 24-Eyes Tower are excellent, with long stretches of Great Wall visible in front and behind. It would be nice to continue on the wall, but part of it borders military land and that section is blocked off. This means taking a detour through Spider Valley!
When we first hiked this trail, the bushy path through Spider Valley was draped with cobwebs and we saw many a big fat spider sitting in the middle of their web. These days, there are fewer spiders. On the way through Spider Valley, we’ll walk by an abandoned house, wells, and water stores, as well as the occasional cobweb.
Once we’re out of Spider Valley we’ll start getting into the fields that surround Hemp Village. There are about 100 people living in this valley, surrounded by hills on all sides. They mostly grow corn in this area, but in the right season you can spot hemp and tobacco, and there are donkeys, cows, chickens, and dogs around as well.
Before we get into the main part of Hemp Village we’ll turn up into the hills again, following farm tracks through cornfields bordered by Great Wall, and then hill trails that lead up to Old Mr Zhou’s campsite.
After a rest break at the campsite we’ll head back the same way we came, finishing our day with a big meal at a countryside restaurant.