- approx. 4 hours start to finish over 7km.
Note: there are some very steep descents in the first section of the hike.
The Longquanyu stretch of Great Wall is about 20km north of the Ming Tombs, and was constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). This section of the wall belongs to Yanqing County, and is situated close to the borders of Changping and Huairou, part of the connection between the more famous Huanghuacheng and Badaling sections of Great Wall.
Most of the wall here has had restoration work done on it, which opens up a new stretch to hike on.
We’ll begin the walk on the new stretch, which is also the highest section of the hike. On the wall here we’ll have long views of the mountains and valleys to the east, and we’ll be able to see all the wall that we’ll be hiking later on.
The new stretch is flat for the most part, but there are two very steep descents, including where the wall takes a steep dive down into the valley, where we’ll meet up with our old trail and head further along the Great Wall. If you’re not good with heights you will not enjoy this part of the hike
After that the ups and downs on the wall are a little more gradual. The wall follows the ridgeline, allowing views of mountains on one side, and the Longquanyu water canyon on the other.
The Great Wall is often built up and down incredibly steep hillsides; a highlight of this section is a special spot where the wall meets a cliff that forms a natural barrier, the steps of the wall leading up to a sheer cliff. It makes a good spot for a short break, but there’s not much room for sitting. Quite obviously we cannot continue any further, so we’ll backtrack a little and take a hillside detour, walking through chestnut orchards and then back to the Great Wall.
This next part of the wall is the last little bit of unrestored ‘wild’ wall in the area, and it’s steep and overgrown – quite a contrast to the restored section! We’ll be on the unrestored section for just under a kilometre before another natural barrier will force us off. This time, it’s a valley that makes it difficult to continue, with the ruined wall making a very steep descent. Instead of trying a dangerous descent over loose rocks and bricks dislodged by trees and weathering, we’ll follow a thin dirt trail down the hill, into the valley, and then past the remnants of a water pass as we head for the Little West Lake.
After getting on to the valley floor the walking is flat and easy, following park trails over boardwalks and bridges and alongside the Little West Lake, a reservoir formed by a dam.
We’ll head out to the carpark to meet our bus, and take a short drive to the restaurant where we’ll have our late lunch.
Weather note: if rain or thunder is forecast we might not be able to hike. We have another Great Wall hike the next day, just in case.
What to bring on this hike
- 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
- Some parts of the Great Wall here are really steep.
- We’re on the wall for about 3km, out of a total of 7km for the whole hike.