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.
Bring your passport / ID card (or a copy) with you on this hike in case the border crossing guards decide they want to check us on the way out.
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 reasonably easy climb up the hill behind Stone Valley Village. At the crest of the hill we’ll be in a great spot for photos, with a line of Ming Dynasty Great Wall on the ridgeline right in front of us and the rocky remains of a much older line of wall under our feet.
The line of wall we can see in front of us is the same section of Great Wall we’ll be walking today, and we’ll head on over that way, following another ridgeline trail down into a valley and then through a pass where the wall dips steeply down into a gap in the hills.
A shorter, steeper climb gets us on top of the main line of Ming Dynasty Great Wall here, and after a break to catch our breath we’ll head on, hiking on the wall as we head for the ‘General’s Tower’, the highest point of the hike. Far below, we’ll see the small village where we’ll be finishing the walk.
We’ll be on the wall for around about 3km, with a few steep climbs up and down as well as two short detours off the wall to avoid broken sections.
Eventually we’ll leave the wall and follow a valley trail that will take us down to the small village we spotted earlier. We’ll take you to a countryside restaurant for a tasty hot meal before we start the drive back to the city.
What to bring on this hike
- Snacks to eat along the way
- Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
- A bottle of sports drink with salt content (Gatorade, Pocari Sweat)
- Rain jacket or poncho just in case
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
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.