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The High Tower Loop hike

In Brief: A loop hike through mountainous terrain that takes you up to the High Tower, one of the highest Great Wall towers in Beijing.

Hikers at the High Tower in Yanqing District

Hikers arriving at the High Tower, 1,440m above sea level.

Key information

  • 400 RMB (360 RMB for members)
  • 7:30am departure from Lido Hotel Starbucks; Liangmaqiao subway area pickup at 7:00am. Back in Beijing around 5:30pm. (Find the meeting points)
  • 3–4 hours of hiking over approx. 9km.
  • Snacks and drinks provided after the hike.

Early start! We’re leaving early to avoid the worst of the holiday traffic. We may still get stuck in a traffic jam at some point, and we recommend you don’t make fixed plans for the evening. Bring a book or something to keep yourself entertained, just in case!

This is a looping version of our High Tower hike, taking a newly-scouted hill trail up to a rough line of wall and following that up to the restored section that peaks at the High Tower. To come back down, we’ll walk around the rough and unrestored section of Great Wall that leads to the hill trail that will take us all the way back down.

Our start point is at the end of the road, up a long valley. We begin with a short walk on a gravel road, and on to a rough dirt trail that will take us up to a dip in a ridgeline. Not many people walk this way, and the trail is likely to be a little bushy.

This dip in the ridgeline must have been an important crossing place back in the Ming Dynasty, as it looks to have been heavily fortified. We’ll take a break on the ruined foundations of a huge tower that was built beside a large rock outcrop – quite a unique view.

From this point we’re following the Great Wall all the way up to the High Tower.

The first section here is very rough and steep, and you’ll need to take it slow. If you’re not good with heights, you won’t enjoy this section – the footing is quite loose, and you can see quite a drop.

We’ll walk by five ruined towers, heading up slowly. After the fifth tower we’ll be on to the restored section, fixed up in 2014. The footing here is much more solid, but you’ve still got some steep climbing, in particular the super-steep steps just below the High Tower.

At 1,440m above sea level, this tower is visible from other hikes we do in the same hills: it’s 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 beside the High Tower for a lunch break, and to enjoy the views. A few minutes’ walk away are some more peaks, and you’ll have time to take a wander. From one of the peaks, you can see all the way back to Beijing on a clear day.

After our lunch break, we’ll head down the hill, following a different path through forested hills and valleys. 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 again.

What to bring on this hike

  • Bring your passport or ID card: We’ll be just outside of Beijing for this hike, and may go through a checkpoint on the way back.
  • Lunch and snacks to eat
  • Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
  • Warm clothes in case it gets chilly
  • Good hiking boots
  • (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)

Reasons you might not enjoy this hike

  • If you’re not good with heights and loose footing you won’t enjoy this hike.
  • You’ll see a bit of Great Wall on this hike, but not that much. If it’s specifically Great Wall that you’re interested in then this hike is probably not the best choice.
  • We’ve planned this hike so the trails up and down don’t cross, but if you’ve done the High Tower hike before there’s not much new for you on this version.
  • Part of the trail down could be rather overgrown.

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

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Level4

Level of difficulty

Level 4 hikes will usually take 4 hours to complete, and will be difficult for people who are not used to hiking or are out of shape.

Is the level of difficulty suitable for me?

Hike statistics

  • Distance: 9km
  • Time to complete: 3–4 hours
  • Total ascent: est. 800m
  • Start height: 838m
  • Peak: 1,440m
  • Finish height: 838m
  • 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


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