Switchback Great Wall | Long views of the Great Wall from high up in the mountains
Long views of the Great Wall from high up in the mountains.

Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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.

Level 3
3–4 hours start to finish over 7.5km. (Can I do it?)

This hike is not currently scheduled

Contact us for schedule updates or set up a private hike

Note: be sure to bring all your warm clothes on this hike—it’s often really breezy out here, and it could get fairly chilly! Stay warm and you’ll find the hike more enjoyable.

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 stroll through a tidy village, walking up the road to find the trail that takes us up to the Great Wall. The trail up is paved to begin with, soon turning into a nice dirt trail through a forested valley. It’s a slow climb up getting steeper as we near the Great Wall.

We get on to the wall at a saddle on a taller ridgeline. 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. 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.

COVID-19 and participation precautions

The current precautions are minimal. Please read in full here: Operating hikes under COVID-19 precautions

Related content

Photos and trip reports: Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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