Switchback Great Wall | Hikers sitting on the unrestored wild wall below a Great Wall tower
Hikers sitting on the unrestored wild wall below a Great Wall tower

Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

An easier version of one of our tough Great Wall hikes in Yanqing District – the same great scenery, but less of the steep climbs up and down.

Level 3
approx. 3 hours start to finish over 6km. (Can I do it?)

This hike is not currently scheduled

Contact us for schedule updates or set up a private hike

UPDATE 2015/06/09: there's some serious roadworks going on in the area, and we're not sure if they'll be finished in time for our bus to be able to drive to the start of the hike. We'll check in a few days before the hike, and if we can't do this trail we'll switch it to something else that's just as good. UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: We've switched this hike to the Gubeikou Great Wall; if you're keen please sign up here.

This stretch of Great Wall in Yanqing County is extremely picturesque and seldom visited, but the steepness of it makes it difficult for casual hikers. On this visit we’ll do the ‘middle route,’ cutting out the toughest parts to make it a little easier. There are still some steep climbs to do, but overall this hike isn't long enough to rate as difficult – we'll take our time climbing up and down and make sure that we have a relaxed and enjoyable visit.

We'll begin this hike with a slow climb up a winding valley, passing rocks and old terraces on the way to the dirt trail that will lead us to the Great Wall. On one side, the wall comes down a steep hill; we'll follow it the other way, passing through a tower and taking our time to climb the steps of this section.

As we get to the top of that part, we'll see the road we drove in on, far below, as well more of the Great Wall in the area, including the 'General's Tower' that is the highest point of the hike. During peak season, the General's Tower may double as a shop – we've yet to see it in service, but inside is a bench, and a sign that reads “1 yuan to use” the shaky ladder which is now the only way to enjoy the views from the top of the tower. To reach the General's Tower, we will do a few more descents and ascents along the wall, climbing steps up and down.

From the General's Tower the hike gets much easier, as the wall starts to follow a ridgeline instead of running up and down the sides of valleys. We'll do some hillside detours around the steep and slippery parts until we reach the trail that will lead us back down to the valley and the bus, and the countryside restaurant where we'll get our lunch.

What to bring on this hike

Reasons you might not enjoy this hike

  • It's not a very long hike, but parts of it are rather steep.
  • We occasionally meet bad traffic on the way, going through the Badaling pass.

COVID-19 and participation precautions

The brief version:

  • Please DO NOT participate if you are sick or showing symptoms of fever and/or have an elevated temperature, or have been in close contact with someone who was/is.
  • You MUST agree to the mitigation and prevention measures outlined here and that Beijing Hikers will not be held responsible if any participants become sick.

Please read in full here: Operating hikes under COVID-19 precautions

Related content

Photos and trip reports: Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

See all the hikes  In the calendar / in a list