Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall | Zhenbei Tower at the Jiankou Great Wall
Zhenbei Tower at the Jiankou Great Wall.

Jiankou to Beigou Village Great Wall sundown hike

Hike on hill trails and Great Wall between Jiankou and Beigou Village, arriving at the top section of the Mutianyu Great Wall in time for long views and great photos in the soft light of ‘golden hour’.

Level 4
A big climb to begin, a long descent to finish, and sections of rough and slippery Great Wall. 4–5 hours start to finish over approx. 9km (Can I do it?)

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For this hike we plan to be up on the top section of the Mutianyu Great Wall during the ‘golden hour’, the hour before sunset in which the sunlight gets an extra filter as it passes through more of the atmosphere and (hopefully!) gives some lovely soft and warm light for photos of the Great Wall and scenery.

The hike begins from a small village in the Jiankou area. Our local guide has a guesthouse here, and he's picked a nice spot—Jiankou is home to some of the most dramatic stretches of Great Wall in the Beijing area.

We'll start off the hike by 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 the many other sections of Great Wall in the area.

From there we'll head east, following the wall towards Mutianyu. There is some steep climbing, and you'll need a good head for heights and some balancing skills – at some points the Great Wall is overgrown with bushes, and this will force us to walk along the very edge, quite high above the ground.

Looking across the Mutianyu Great Wall
Looking across the Mutianyu Great Wall, from the top section. (Click for larger image)

We expect it will get cold and dark quickly as the sun goes down. Bring a flashlight or head lamp, plenty of warm clothes, and maybe a thermos of something hot.

We'll end up at the northwestern end of the Mutianyu Great Wall. As the sun gets ready to set, we’ll follow the wall down towards the main park area. It’s during this part of the hike that we should experience the soft light of ’golden hour’, and hopefully we’ll see some lovely colours for photography.

Jiankou to Beigou Village sundown hike, 2020/05/04 photo #10
Watching the sun go down

Instead of hopping over the wall to get into the main park area at Mutianyu we’ll hike a paved trail down the hillside to Beigou Village, passing through tidy chestnut orchards on our way down to the village square.

Planned itinerary

Itinerary for the hike
11:30 Driving to the hike, stopping for a bathroom break
13:30 Start the hike
14:30 Reach the Great Wall and take a break at Zhenbei Tower
14:45 Continue along the Great Wall, heading for Mutianyu
16:30 Arrive at the top section of the Mutianyu Great Wall
17:30 Start hiking down to Beigou Village
17:49 Sunset
18:45 Snacks and drinks by the bus
19:15 Driving back, stopping for a bathroom break
21:00 Arrive at Lido, then on to Liangmaqiao

COVID-19 and participation precautions

The current precautions are minimal. Please read in full here: Operating hikes under COVID-19 precautions

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Photos and trip reports: Jiankou to Beigou Village Great Wall sundown hike

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