The High Tower
4–5 hours of tough hiking takes you up to and down from one of the highest Great Wall towers in Beijing.
Could be cold: This hike gets up fairly high, and the area is known for strong winds. Bring your warmest hiking gear.
We’ve done a lot of hiking in this area and it’s one of our favourite spots for tough treks because the hills are nice and big, there are great views of the Great Wall and other scenery, and the area is, for the most part, free of people.
This particular hike starts in the ‘Long Valley Village’, the ending point of another hike we have in the area. The village was an important outpost during the Ming Dynasty, and contains a temple, a giant tree, and a mysterious shrine.
We’ll walk through the village as a warmup on the way to the start of our hike, the village reservoir. At the back of the reservoir is a good path that leads up through a forest to a road that follows the Beijing-Hebei border. The trail starts out fairly flat, but gets steeper on its way up to the road, finishing up with some steps.
After a rest on the border line we’ll set off into the mountains, heading for the High Tower, up at 1,440m above sea level. This tower is visible from other hikes we do in the same hills: east of the Big Plate Camp hike, and to the west of the Switchback Great Wall hike. This means we’ll have excellent views of the Great Wall on either side.
We’ll stop at the top for a lunch break and to enjoy the views before heading on again. We skirt a broken and slippery section of wall, and then follow it down for a little while before turning on to a zig-zag hill trail that leads down to the village roads and the carpark where we’ll meet our bus.
Note: we’re using a smaller size bus for this hike so we can take the shorter way through the mountains. Spaces may be limited.
Weather warning: if it snows in the week before the hike the roads we want to take might close, which means we’d need to do a different version of this hike.
What to bring on this hike
- Lunch and snacks to eat
- Warm clothes, gloves, and a hat
- Waterproof jacket just in case
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- We get up quite high on this hike, and the area is often very breezy. That means that this hike could be a very cold one, and we might need to keep our breaks quite short to avoid getting cold.
Click to read a a very detailed writeup of the High Tower hike, by Peter Shadbolt of the Financial Times.