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.
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.
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.
|Driving to the hike, stopping for a bathroom break
|Start the hike
|Reach the Great Wall and take a break at Zhenbei Tower
|Continue along the Great Wall, heading for Mutianyu
|Arrive at the top section of the Mutianyu Great Wall
|Start hiking down to Beigou Village
|Snacks and drinks by the bus
|Driving back, stopping for a bathroom break
|Arrive at Lido, then on to Liangmaqiao