On this Great Wall overnighter you’ll hike a picturesque stretch of the wild Great Wall, and camp at a nice quiet spot on the Great Wall, deep in the hills of Yanqing District.
We’ll organise delivery of our tents and sleeping bags direct to our campsite; you’ll just need to carry your clothes, water, and food and snacks.
Maximum group size of 14 hikers; book early to make sure you get a spot!
Bad weather plan
We'll have a fairly good idea of the weather by about three days before the hike. If it's forecast to be dangerous, we'll look at changing the route to somewhere where the weather is more suitable. If it changes suddenly while we're out there, we can shelter at a guesthouse in the village at the foot of the Great Wall.
The hiking trail
The hiking trail is mostly the same as our Switchback Great Wall camping trip, but we need to skip a part of the Great Wall that runs into Hebei Province and is quite often blocked off by wardens. This makes the hike shorter, so we’ll offer some optional explorations on either end of the hike.
We begin with a quick stroll through Stone Valley Village, passing by the courtyard guesthouse where we’ll enjoy a big meal after coming down from the hills the next day.
From the guesthouse we walk out into the fields in the valley behind the village. At the back of the fields we’ll find the dirt trail that leads up and over our first hill of the day. It's slightly steep in places, but we'll be up on top in about 30 minutes.
At the top of the hill we’ll step on to a line of much older wall – said to date back to the Northern Qi Dynasty (550–577) – that runs roughly along the ridge which is now the Beijing-Hebei border. Here we’ll offer an option to hike up to where the Northern Qi Great Wall joins with the Ming-era Great Wall up on a nearby ridge.
After we’re all back we’ll continue the other way along the Northern Qi wall. What’s left of that wall is a rough line of piled rocks, which makes for tricky walking in a few places. We’ve cut some side trails around the steepest parts, and from this part of the track you’ll have great views of the Ming wall and towers running along the next ridge over.
The Northern Qi Great Wall again joins up with the Ming Dynasty-era wall, which we will follow up to the campsite, passing through the General’s Tower on the way.
After arriving at the campsite you’ll set up your tent, and then it’s free time until it’s dinner and then time for bed.
On the second day, we'll see how keen you are to explore! The Ming wall continues up into the higher hills, and we'll see how you feel about climbing up to the highest point for even better views.
Our hike ends with a walk out a long valley and back to the village to finish.
Our campsite is a nice flat area on a line of rough and unrestored Great Wall, with superb views of mountains to the front and the back, and climbing up a little further along the wall will open up views of more mountains and the line of Great Wall that runs right through the middle.
The towers in this area are not so suitable for camping in due to their deteriorated condition or distance from the access points, but you will certainly be able to explore plenty of them while hiking, and the campsite will be a great place to watch the sunset.
The sun will set at around 7:20pm, and from the campsite we’ll be able to watch as the sun slowly sinks below the mountains.
Moon phase: New Moon, great for stargazing.
The sun will rise in the hills behind our campsite at around about 5:00am.
For more details about meals, water, packing lists, and more, please see the sections below.