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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: Wednesday, February 20
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 27
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Departure date: Sunday, March 3
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Sunday, March 3
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 6
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Thursday, March 7
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, March 9
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Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 9
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 10
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 10
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Big Black Mountain to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 13
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, March 14
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, March 16
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, March 16
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Longevity Village to the Ming Tombs (Route Two)

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Departure date: Sunday, March 17
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, March 17
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Tomb Raiders hike and Ding Tomb’s ‘Underground Palace’

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 20
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Thursday, March 21
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Saturday, March 23
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Heituo Mountain Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, March 23
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, March 24
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 24
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Kids Club: Zhuangdaokou to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 27
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, March 28
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 30
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, March 30
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Great Flood hike

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Departure date: March 30–31 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 31
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 31
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Silver Pagoda Loop

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 3
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Thursday, April 4
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Friday, April 5
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Thursday, April 5
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War Tunnels and the old Gold Mines

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Departure date: Saturday, April 6
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: April 6–7 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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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: Sunday, April 7
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, April 7
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 10
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, April 11
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, April 13
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Over the Hills to Dajue Temple

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Departure date: Saturday, April 13
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, April 14
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 14
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Kids Club: Gubeikou Wall and adventure playground

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 17
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, April 18
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, April 21
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall and Big Camp Plate Challenge

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Departure date: Saturday, April 20
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: April 20–21 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 21
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 24
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, April 25
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, April 27
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Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: April 27–28 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 28
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, April 28
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Shuiquan Canyon

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Departure date: Monday, April 29
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Tuesday, April 30
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Vulture Rock Ridge and the old Pilgrim’s Trail

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Departure date: Tuesday, April 30
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Sunset over the Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, May 1
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Great Wall Spur

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