Offline for upgrade  Our website will be offline for upgrades at some point between 8-10pm Sunday, June 24 (Beijing time)  (More info)

Home > Hike in Beijing

Book your place

Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

In Brief: 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.

The General’s Tower on the Switchback Great Wall

The General’s Tower on the Switchback Great Wall. View more photos »

Key information

  • 420 RMB (380 RMB for members)
  • 8:00am departure from Lido Hotel Starbucks; Liangmaqiao subway area pickup at 7:30am. Back in Beijing around 5:30pm. (Find the meeting points)
  • 3–4 hours start to finish over 7.5km.
  • Includes a meal after the hike.

Bring your passport / ID card (or a copy) with you on this hike in case the border crossing guards decide they want to check us on the way out.

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.

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

Ready to sign up? Book your place
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: 7.5km
  • Time to complete: 3–4 hours
  • Total ascent: 414m
  • Total descent: 420m
  • Start height: 682m
  • Peak: 1,036m
  • Finish height: 686m
  • Location: Yanqing
  • 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

Great Wall hikesGreat Wall campingHillwalking hikesTough hikesEasy hikesShunyi hikesSee all the hikes »Calendar


All upcoming hikes in Beijing

Departure date: Sunday, June 24
Standby

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, June 24
Standby

Shunyi Hikers: Yunmeng Gorge Swim or Explore

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, June 27
Book it

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, June 28
Book it

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, June 30
Book it

Walk Down the Pilgrims’ Trail

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, June 30
Book it

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, July 1
Book it

Great Wall Spur

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, July 1
Book it

White River hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, July 4
Book it

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, July 5
Book it

Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, July 7
Book it

Immortal Valley Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, July 7
Book it

Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, July 8
Book it

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, July 11
Book it

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, July 12
Book it

Shunyi Hikers: White River hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, July 14
Book it

Great Flood hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, July 14
Book it

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, July 15
Book it

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, July 15
Book it

Ming Village day trip

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, July 18
Book it

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, July 19
Book it

Great Wall Spur

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, July 21
Book it

Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, July 21
Book it

Flower Wood to Haizi Village

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, July 22
Book it

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, July 22
Book it

Intelligence Valley and Liyuan Library

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, July 25
Book it

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, July 26
Book it

Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, July 28
Book it

Switchback Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, July 28
Book it

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, July 29
Book it

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, August 1
Book it

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, August 2
Book it

Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 4
Book it

Vulture Rock Ridge loop hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 4
Book it

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, August 5
Book it

Yunmeng Gorge Swim or Explore

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, August 5
Book it

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, August 8
Book it

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, August 9
Book it

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 11
Book it

Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 11
Book it

White River hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, August 12
Book it

Great Wall Spur

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, August 15
Book it

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, August 16
Book it

Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 18
Book it

Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall East

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 18
Book it

Dragon Cloud Mountain and White River

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, August 19
Book it

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, August 22
Book it

Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, August 23
Book it

Great Wall Spur

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 25
Book it

Big Camp Plate Village and Hengling Valley

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Saturday, August 25
Book it

Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, August 26
Book it

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Sunday, August 26
Book it

White River hike

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Wednesday, August 29
Book it

Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

Read more about this hike »
Departure date: Thursday, August 30
Book it

Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

Read more about this hike »

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.

Upcoming trips

Hiking the ridgelines at the Bashang Grasslands, Hebei Province
Trip dates: July 13–15, 2018

Bashang Grasslands, Hebei Province

In Brief: Clean and cool grasslands near the border of Hebei and Inner Mongolia: hikes, BBQ lamb, and more.

Book trip
More info »
A mountain pass
Trip dates: July 17–22, 2018

Nyenbo Yurtse Mountains and Jiuzhi Tibetan area (6 days)

In Brief: Travel into the Jiuzhi Tibetan area for a two-day trek in the Nyebo Yurtse Mountains; visit Lanzhou’s Bingling Temple and Danxia Landform on side trips.

Book trip
More info »
The green rolling hills of the Bashang Grasslands, Hebei Province
Trip dates: August 10–12, 2018

Bashang Grasslands, Hebei Province

In Brief: Clean and cool grasslands near the border of Hebei and Inner Mongolia: hikes, BBQ lamb, and more.

Book trip
More info »