Big Camp Plate Great Wall | On the way up from the 'Water Pass'
On the way up from the ‘Water Pass’.

Big Camp Plate Village and Hengling Valley

Ramble about in the hills of Huailai, passing villages, valleys, and fields, with views of big mountains and Great Wall.

Level 4
Sections will possibly be partially overgrown and brushy. 4–5 hours of hiking over approx. 14km. (Can I do it?)
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Bookings close June 7

Booking info

Saturday, June 8

¥390 / ¥350 for members

  1. 7:00am departure from the Liangmaqiao subway area
  2. 7:15am departure from the Lido Metropark Hotel Starbucks
Bring your own snacks and lunch.
Pay on the day of the hike. More about payments

Dragon Boat Festival holiday—we might get stuck in traffic at some point on the way to or from the hike. We recommend you don't make fixed plans for the evening, just in case.

Important—Bring your passport/ID card for this hike. We cross into Hebei and if there are checks at the border crossing it could delay our arrival back in Beijing.

If the fire wardens are out we might need to do the hike in the reverse direction.

We’ll drive out past Badaling into Hebei Province to reach the trailhead, which begins on a lonely stretch of mountain highway. After a 30–40 minute walk up a road into the mountains, we’ll arrive at Big Camp Plate Village.

The ‘Camp’ part of the name comes from the village being an old supply point for the wall in this area, back in the Ming Dynasty. Nowadays the village is virtually empty, apart from when everyone shows up for the planting and harvest seasons.

From the village we continue along a dirt road, aiming for the meadows by the Great Wall. We’ll hike up to the wall for a look. The wall here is built on a cliff, and the views are amazing.

From the meadows we’ll backtrack a short distance to find the trail that heads down to a narrow gully, which we’ll follow to find another interesting feature of the Great Wall in this area – a gate in the wall at the end of the gully. Don’t go through the gate – you’ll be in for a drop of about six metres.

Hiking through a narrow gully
Hiking through a narrow gully. (Click for larger image)

This gate is called the Water Pass, and perhaps it was made to allow water from the gully to flow through.  More likely it was an actual gate, as there are signs of it having had a door. With the wall beyond the gate all tumbled down it’s tough to tell if there were steps to climb up to the gate, or if a ladder would have been used.

We’ll climb up over the gate and follow a narrow trail that takes us up on to the wall high above, which we’ll then follow up to a high point.

This line of wall is fairly steep, and a lot of it has fallen down. This makes it a fairly tricky climb. But it’s worth it, with the views getting better and better the higher we get.

We’ll aim to get to the high point for lunch, and we’ll stop to enjoy the views as we eat – Great Wall on two sides, and mountains and valleys all around.

Nearby the high point is a line of Great Wall known as Yangbiancheng, which was built as a model for the construction of other Great Wall in the same area. We’ll hike down here after lunch for a look.

Finishing with a walk out through fields
Finishing with a walk out through fields. (Click for larger image)

On the other side of the Yangbiancheng wall is a narrow trail that leads down and out a valley, and we’ll head down that way to finish the walk. It’s a relaxing walk down – a nice dirt path of about 5km that is shaded by trees. As we get further down, the path widens as we near fields and terraces that are farmed by people from the nearby village of Hengling.

We’ll meet our bus at the roadside and finish the hike with a little picnic before heading back to Beijing.

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: Big Camp Plate Village and Hengling Valley

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