On this hike we’ll head out to a beautiful section of the Great Wall that is farther outside the city than the crowded main tourist sites, and much quieter.
The hike at Gubeikou offers magnificent views of the Great Wall stretching beyond the horizon in the east and west. As we follow the wall, we’ll pass through restored and unrestored sections, as well as taking a nice detour through pines on a hillside trail.
We’ll start the walk with a short climb up to a dirt trail to reach the wall. Once we’re up, we’ll be able to see the roofs of a small town; past those, the old highway to Chengde; and even further, a stretch of Great Wall climbing a steep ridge.
Continuing along the wall, we’ll pass through a lot of towers – some in good condition, some tumbled down to foundations only. Excluding one detour, we’ll be able to walk on the wall just about all the way, climbing up, over, and down the hills and ridges.
The detour comes about thirty minutes into the hike, and takes us along a path through a pine forest and then up a dirt trail to get back to the wall - about 15 minutes all up.
After the detour we’ll be back on the wall, and will continue along it, passing through towers and climbing up and down moderately steep sections. Some of the towers we visit are ruined, with only walls left. Others are in very good condition, and we can climb up on top for even better views of the surrounding area.
The wall in this area is built on ridges, and because there are not many trees on the ridgelines we will have broad views in every direction as we walk. We’ll have the option to extend the walk a bit by continuing past the last tower on the loop, heading up to the 24-Eyes Tower – the highest on this line of wall – before turning back.