UPDATE 2016/3/30: our local contact confirms that the crossover from Jiankou to Mutianyu that there are repairs taking place at the crossover between Jiankou and Mutianyu and that there’s a safety issue there. We’ve changed this hike to the Jiankou to Great Wall Spur trail.
UPDATE 2016/3/30: our local contact suggests that the crossover from Jiankou to Mutianyu (and from Mutianyu to Lotus Pond) is now blocked off. We’ll find out for sure and will let you know if there’s going to be a change of plan for this hike.
This is a tough hike – not too long, but there’s a lot of uphill and even more downhill.
This walk begins from a small village in the Jiankou area. Our local guide has a guesthouse here, and he’s picked a nice spot—Jiankou is home to some of the most dramatic stretches of Great Wall in the Beijing area.
We’ll start off the hike by following a zigzag hillside trail that rises quickly to a Great Wall tower that is almost 1,000 metres above sea level. From the tower we can see the Jiankou basin, as well as the many other sections of Great Wall in the area.
From there we’ll head east, following the wall towards Mutianyu. There is some steep climbing, and you’ll need a good head for heights and some balancing skills - at some points the Great Wall is overgrown with bushes, and this will force us to walk along the very edge, quite high above the ground.
Along the way we’ll pass through many towers. At one point we’ll have an option – take a forest detour past an old meeting place that would make a very good campsite, or climb up and down a steep broken down section of wall that’s named the Ox-Horn.
We’ll end up at the eastern end of the Mutianyu Great Wall, and follow it all the way over to the west side. The Mutianyu section officially ends at a large tower—walk through the tower and you’re on to the Lotus Pond section of Great Wall.
We’ll follow the wall a few towers further and then head down a dirt trail to finish the hike not far from the popular Shanba resort area.
What to bring on this hike
- Lunch and snacks to eat while hiking
- 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
- There’s a lot of downhill while on the wall, which may give you sore knees if you’re not used to long hikes.