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Camping: Great Wall Spur

In Brief: Camp overnight in or beside a Great Wall tower on a stretch of wild wall. You’ll hike easier with just the essentials in your day pack; we’ll arrange delivery of the heavy stuff to the campsite.

Sunset at the Great Wall Spur

Sunset over the Great Wall Spur. View more photos »

Key information

  • 2–4 hours of hiking each day.

On this two day Great Wall adventure you'll hike the Great Wall and camp in or beside a Great Wall tower. We’ll take care of the heavy lifting and have things delivered direct to our campsite; you’ll be free to enjoy the scenery, sunset, stars, and sunrise without all the sweat involved in a full-on camping expedition.

We’ll organise delivery of tents and sleeping bags direct to our campsite; you’ll just need to carry your clothes, water, and food and snacks.

We’ll supply the camping equipment, water, snacks, and breakfast and a restaurant lunch on the second day. Discounted price available if you have your own camping gear.

Maximum group size of 14 hikers; book early to make sure you get a spot!

Bad weather plan

We'll have a fairly good idea of the weather by about three days before the hike. If it's forecast to be dangerous or no fun – i.e. thunder and lightning, or heavy rain – we'd need to call off the hike and postpone it to the next weekend.

The campsite

Our base camp will be on the wall near a solid tower near the end of a line of unrestored Great Wall, up on a ridge. If you would prefer to camp on the grass, there’s a little space below the tower – it might be a bit overgrown, though!

To the south there are views of a broad valley and far off hills, with little bits of Beijing’s urban sprawl there to see if it’s a clear day. In the other directions you’ll see mountainous terrain, some of which has a line of Great Wall running along high ridges.

We’ll have broad views to the west, north, and east, and you’ll be able to see the sun rise over part of the Jiankou Great Wall at about by poking your head out of your tent at around about 5:36am.

Fire restrictions mean that we won’t be able to have a campfire here.

At night

The sun will set just after 6:50pm, and we’ll be able to watch as the sun slowly sinks below a tall ridge of mountains.
Moon phase: Just before Third Quarter.

The sun will rise in the hills behind our campsite at around about 5:36am.

Meals

Lunch, day one: We'll supply a sandwich, as well as a banana and a Snickers bar. You might like to supplement this with extra snacks.

Dinner: We'll supply basic camp food: things like bread and rolls, ham and salami, pickles and cheese, and some cup noodles and soups. We’ll bring gas burners to boil water for hot drinks. We'll also bring a bottle of red wine! Dinner will be tasty but fairly basic, and we’re not able to have open fires.

Breakfast: We’ll bring bread and jam and fruit, tea and coffee.

Snacks: We’ll supply another Snickers bars, an apple, and nuts and things to make trail mix.

Lunch, day two: We’ll head to a local restaurant and celebrate with a big meal and plenty of cold beer.

Water: We’ll provide 4 litres of bottled water per person, plus an electrolyte drink.

Equipment

We supply: one tent for each person, sleeping bag and liner, ground pad, hiking poles. Do you have your own camping gear? Let us know, and we’ll adjust the price for you.

What you need to bring

  • Day pack to carry the essentials.
  • Standard hiking gear and boots, and a waterproof jacket just in case.
  • Warm clothes for the evening, spare socks and underwear.
  • Hat and gloves.
  • Flashlight or head lamp.
  • Toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
  • Toothbrush, small towel.
  • Suncream.
  • Personal medicine and basic first aid supplies.
  • Entertainment: a book, cards, a bottle of something.
  • Extra food and snacks ie chocolate.

Recommended packing method

We'll have the camping equipment and food delivered to the campsite for you. Pack anything else you'll need into your day pack. If you'd like, you can leave a change of clothes on the bus.

Hiking trail

Great Wall Spur

Day 1 hike: The Great Wall Spur

Hike statistics: Day 1

Level 3+
Distance: 6km
Time: 3–4 hours
Start height: 311m
Total ascent: 543m

This one is short, but steep!

The hike begins with a short walk up a valley road, followed by a climb up a hillside path to reach the Great Wall. This steep climb will take about forty minutes, and is the most difficult part of the hike.

After reaching the top we’ll follow the Great Wall as it winds along and up a ridge. The Great Wall was designed as a defensive fortification, so we will get excellent views, with mountains, villages, and other stretches of the Great Wall all in sight as we walk. We will pass through towers along the way, and stop for a snack break at the highest point.

Our walk on the Wall will finish at a big tower – and this is where we'll be camping!

Day 2 hike: Over the hills to Jiankou’s ‘Big West’ Wall

Hike statistics: Day 2

Distance: 8.5km
Time: 3–4 hours

On the second day of the trip, we’ll pack up the tents, fill up with some water, and hike back up to the high point we were at the previous day.

From there we’ll follow a different stretch of wall down into a valley, where we'll find a concrete road. We’ll follow the concrete road further up into the hills. After about thirty minutes we’ll be at the end of the road, and on to a hill trail that takes us up to the Great Wall again.

Today’s walk has an easy option, and a tougher option. On the easy option you won’t follow the wall, instead heading down into a valley, and then up and over a ridge to finish at a small village.

We recommend you take the tougher option! You’ll follow a rough line of Great Wall, using hill trails to skirt around a few impassable sections. On a clear day, the views from this line of Great Wall are really good: the Chinese Knot, 'Upside Down Flying Eagle', and Heavenly Stairs (all Jiankou landmarks) in front of us, the Nine-Eyes Tower behind us, and the eastern side of Jiankou off to our left. Sometimes you can see all the way to Mutianyu, a restored section of wall.

The hill trails we follow for this part of the hike are a little tricky⁠—⁠sometimes steep, sometimes narrow, sometimes both!

Just before we get to the really steep section below the Chinese Knot, we’ll finish our hike along the wall, following a hill trail through a forest down to the small village below.

Maximum group size of 14 hikers; book early to make sure you get a spot!

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

  • Time to complete: 2–4 hours each day
  • Total ascent: 649m
  • Total descent: 567m
  • Start height: 227m
  • Peak: 782m
  • Finish height: 311m
  • Location: Huairou
  • 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


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