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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop Hike

In Brief: A long hill climb takes us up on to a remote, rough, and seldom-visited stretch of unrestored Great Wall, with awesome views of the surrounding mountains. Note: the climb back down takes us down a steep and perpetually brushy section of trail, which may cause a bit of delay.

The Great Wall crossing hills and mountains in Huailai District

The Great Wall crossing hills and mountains in Huailai County.

Key information

  • 3–4 hours start to finish over 10km.

UPDATE: Cancelled this one because of the weather forecast. Try a hike this weekend?

Weather note: if rain or thunder is forecast we might not be able to hike. We’d look at postponing the hike to the next day. If that doesn’t work out we’d suggest that you switch to one of the hikes during the weekend.

On this hike we’ll head out to the border of Beijing Municipality and Hebei Province for a moderately difficult walk through peach orchards, up valleys, and along the Great Wall. 

The Great Wall out here is rough and seldom-visited—choose this hike if you’re interested in a visit to a section of wall very different to what you’ve seen on postcards.

In the Ming Dynasty, Zhenbiancheng was one of three important outposts on the border, along with Changyucheng and Baiyanggou. Modern Zhenbiancheng has grown in and around the old city walls. Much of the town walls still remain, as well as archways, bricks, and stone carvings.

In more recent times, the area was the site of a major battle between the Chinese and Japanese armies, and it’s said that bullet holes can be seen in some of the walls.

About the hiking trail

We’ll follow an access road that begins near the village, and then up a leafy valley, passing through peach orchards before following a hill trail up to the Great Wall. For the first part of the valley we’ll be on a fairly flat trail, with views of the distinctive peaks of nearby ‘Brush-rest’ Mountain. From the head of the valley we’ll walk a hill trail that is moderately steep, arriving at a ruined tower on the Great Wall after 40-60 minutes of steady ascent. After a quick rest, we’ll continue along the wall, heading for another ruined tower that will be our lunch spot. The Great Wall in this area is not all in good condition, so for some of the hike we will need to walk alongside it.

After lunch, our hike continues for about forty minutes on the wall, until we reach the the point where we’ll head down a valley. The trail down the valley is steep to begin with, but eventually it flattens out and leads us through grassy fallow fields on the way back to the roadside.

The first part of the trail down from the wall is seldom used and could be quite bushy.

What to bring on this hike

Reasons you might not enjoy this hike

  • There are some steep climbs on loose footing while on the wall.
  • The trail down from the wall is unmaintained, with sections that are brushy and steep. We recommend you wear trousers on this hike to protect your legs.

There are risks involved in hiking. Please read our Risk Acknowledgment and Waiver and inform yourself before participating.

Level3+

Level of difficulty

Level 3+ is a ‘tougher’ moderate hike. There may be long climbs up hills, and there may be steep sections.

Is the level of difficulty suitable for me?

Hike statistics

  • Distance: approx. 10km
  • Time to complete: 3–4 hours
  • Total ascent: 634m
  • Total descent: 612m
  • Start height: 799m
  • Peak: 1,366m
  • Finish height: 822m
  • Location: Huailai
  • Drive time: 2 hours each way

Hikes in Beijing

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.

Hike in Beijing calendar

See the Hike in Beijing schedule in our calendar


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All upcoming hikes in Beijing

Departure date: Saturday, April 27
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Departure date: April 27–28 (Sat–Sun)
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Departure date: Saturday, May 4
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Departure date: May 4–5 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, May 5
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Sunday, May 5
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Silver Pagoda Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, May 8
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Departure date: Thursday, May 9
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, May 11
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Departure date: Saturday, May 11
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Departure date: Sunday, May 12
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Departure date: Sunday, May 12
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Yajishan Temple Fair, Pinggu District

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Departure date: Wednesday, May 15
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, May 16
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, May 18
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Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge

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Departure date: Saturday, May 18
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: May 18–19 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, May 19
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, May 19
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Departure date: Sunday, May 19
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Departure date: Wednesday, May 22
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, May 23
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, May 25
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Heituo Mountain Crossing

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Departure date: Saturday, May 25
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Departure date: Sunday, May 26
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Sunday, May 26
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Kids Club: Yunmeng Gorge play and picnic

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Departure date: Wednesday, May 29
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Thursday, May 30
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, June 1
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall and Big Camp Plate Challenge

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Departure date: Saturday, June 1
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, June 2
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Yinmeng Temple and Sujia River

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Departure date: Sunday, June 2
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, June 5
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Thursday, June 6
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Friday, June 7
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Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Friday, June 7
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Saturday, June 8
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, June 8
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Sunday, June 9
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, June 9
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White River hike

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Departure date: Saturday, April 6
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Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, June 12
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Thursday, June 13
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, June 15
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Departure date: Saturday, June 15
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Sunday, June 16
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Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, June 16
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Wednesday, June 19
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, June 20
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, June 22
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White River hike

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Departure date: Saturday, June 22
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Gubeikou and Jinshanling Great Wall overnight

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Departure date: Sunday, June 23
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, June 23
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Kids Club: The Silver Pagodas

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Departure date: Wednesday, June 26
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, June 27
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Saturday, June 29
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Sunday, June 30
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, June 30
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