Moyashike Valley and the Great Wall Spur

A slightly different way to walk the Great Wall Spur, with a valley detour that takes us up to the top via another line of wall in the area.

Level 3+
Approx. 4 hours of hiking over around 8km. (Can I do it?)

This hike is not currently scheduled

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A stretch of Great Wall descends from a tower
A stretch of Great Wall descends from a tower.

The Great Wall Spur hike has us visiting a very nice stretch of unrestored Great Wall, but it’s quite a tough climb up a big hill before we set foot on top.

On this version of the hike, getting up on to the wall is a little easier, and we spread out the climb to the high point over a longer distance.

On the way up to the highest point on the we follow a short stretch of wall that we pretty much only visit as part of our steep and difficult Chinese Knot hike. Parts of this stretch are rather steep, but it’s not too tough!

The first thirty minutes of the hike makes an easy warmup as we follow a road through a small village up to a once-disused-now-restored hotel.

On one side of the hotel is the steep trail we take for the Great Wall Spur hike; on the other side is the flatter valley that we’ll be using on this visit. The valley trail is scenic, passing below steep cliffs on the way to a broad hillside that is topped by a line of Great Wall.

The valley runs below the ‘spur’ of our Great Wall Spur hike, and we’ll see the spur’s terminal tower.

Also in the valley is the reason the area is named ‘Moyashike’ – the Moya Carved Stones. We’ve never been able to spot the carvings in the cliffs ourselves, but locals tell us they’re in there somewhere. We’ll keep an eye out!

The walk up the valley should take us around about an hour, and at the top of the valley we’ll get on to a line of Ming Dynasty Great Wall on a low ridge, where we’ll stop for a break.

It’s this line of Great Wall that we follow when we do our Chinese Knot hike – on that trail, we’d turn right and head up to the highest peak; today we’ll turn left and follow the wall up to the highest point on the Great Wall Spur hike.

The climb up to the high point is fairly steep, but short – we go up 160 metres in height over just about 700 metres of distance.

Just before the top, this stretch of wall joins the Great Wall Spur. Turning left would take us along the spur section, and back to the place we started. We’ll continue the other way, following a pretty stretch of unrestored wall through several towers, down a long line of wall that heads west.

As we hike down the wall we’ll spot a super steep section on the hills in front of us. This part is much too steep for us to walk on safely, so we’ll get off the wall and follow a hill trail down to the road below. Down at the road we’ll take a quick detour to have a look at the base of that stretch of super-steep wall, where some big brickworks remain.

From that point the hike is pretty much over and done, with just a flat walk through a little village to finish the hike, and then we’ll be on our way back to the city after some snacks and drinks at a village guesthouse.

What to bring on this hike

Reasons you might not enjoy this hike

  • The hike isn’t a whole lot different than the Great Wall Spur, if you’ve already done that one.
  • The climb up to the high point crosses some steep and crumbly sections of Great Wall, which you will not like too much if you are not good with heights and balancing, or don’t have sturdy footwear.

Because of the COVID-19 situation we have some extra terms and conditions for participation.

In particular:

  • 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.
  • DO NOT participate if you have not completed any required quarantine after your return to Beijing.
  • 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: Moyashike Valley and the Great Wall Spur

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