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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. View more photos »

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


Find a hike

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All upcoming hikes in Beijing

Departure date: Wednesday, February 21
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, February 24
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, February 25
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Wednesday, February 28
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 3
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Yudu Mountains and Sujia River

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Departure date: Saturday, March 3
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: March 3–4 (Sat–Sun)
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Yu County’s Ancient Walled Towns and Fireworks of Molten Iron

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, March 4
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Shunyi Hikers: Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, March 4
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 7
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, March 8
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, March 10
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Chinese Knot Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 10
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 11
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, March 11
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Big Black Mountain to the Walled Village

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, March 14
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Thursday, March 15
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 17
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

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Departure date: Saturday, March 17
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Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, March 18
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, March 18
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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Wednesday, March 21
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, March 22
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, March 24
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Longevity Village to the Ming Tombs (Route Two)

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Departure date: Saturday, March 24
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, March 25
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, March 25
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Tanzhe Temple and the Abandoned Village

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, March 28
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Thursday, March 29
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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

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Departure date: Saturday, March 31
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Great Flood hike

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Departure date: March 31–April 1 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 1
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, April 1
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Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 4
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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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: Friday, April 6
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Great Wall: Gubeikou to Jinshanling (and a little Simatai)

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Departure date: Saturday, April 7
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The Mines and The Pines

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Departure date: Saturday, April 7
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: April 7–8 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, April 8
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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop Hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, April 11
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, April 12
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, April 14
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Silver Pagodas to East Water Valley Village

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Departure date: Saturday, April 14
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, April 15
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 15
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Shunyi Hikers: Lily Village and the Silver Pagodas

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Departure date: Wednesday, April 18
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Thursday, April 19
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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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 21
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: April 21–22 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 22
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Earth Day Cleanup: Jiankou Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 22
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Walk Down The Incense Trail to Dajue Temple

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, April 25
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Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, April 26
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, April 28
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Heituo Mountain Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, April 28
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: April 28–29 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, April 29
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The Pinnacle Tower

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, April 29
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Monday, April 30
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Monday, April 30
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Lily Village to Flower Wood

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Departure date: Tuesday, May 1
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Immortal Valley Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: May 12–13 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: May 19–20 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Gubeikou Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

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Departure date: June 2–3 (Sat–Sun)
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Camping: Great Wall Spur

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Explore China

See more of China on a multi-day trip—travel to famous scenic areas, or choose to visit somewhere obscure and less well-known.

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Trip dates: February 27–March 2, 2018

Labrang Monastery’s ‘Unveiling the Buddha’ Ceremony, Xiahe, Gansu Province

In Brief: Visit Xiahe to witness a giant Buddha tapestry being unveiled on the hillside above Labrang Monastery and to join the crowds watching the lively performances in the town square. Trip also includes hikes and walks in nearby grassland areas.

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Terraced hills covered with flowers
Trip dates: March 15–18, 2018

Wuyuan ‘Fields of Flowers’, Jiangxi Province

In Brief: See fields of yellow flowers and ancient river towns in southern China. Cultural focus, nothing too strenuous.

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Colourful costumes of the Zhuang ethnic group
Trip dates: April 4–8, 2018

Guizhou: Miao and Dong culture in the mountains (5 days)

In Brief: Hike between villages and enclaves in the mountains of Guizhou Province to get a up-close look at the well-preserved rituals, traditions, and architecture of the Miao and Dong (and more) ethnic groups.

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