Make a mid-afternoon visit to the Gubeikou for a walk on the wall, hiking up to a high point to see the sun set.
The hiking trail is the same as our popular Gubeikou Great Wall Loop, and we’ll have magnificent views of the Great Wall stretching beyond the horizon in the east and west. The views and photos you’ll get will be even better than usual, with the special soft light in the hour or so before sundown illuminating a long line of wall that runs off into the mountains.
We’ll start the walk with a short climb up to a dirt trail to reach the wall. Once we’re up, we’ll be able to see the roofs of a small town; past those, the old highway to Chengde; and even further, a stretch of Great Wall climbing a steep ridge.
Continuing along the wall, we’ll pass through a lot of towers – some in good condition, some tumbled down to foundations only. Excluding one detour, we’ll be able to walk on the wall just about all the way, climbing up, over, and down the hills and ridges.
The detour comes about thirty minutes into the hike, and takes us along a path through a pine forest and then up a dirt trail to get back to the wall - about 15 minutes all up.
After the detour we’ll be back on the wall, and will continue along it, passing through towers and climbing up and down moderately steep sections. Some of the towers we visit are ruined, with only walls left. Others are in very good condition, and we can climb up on top for even better views of the surrounding area.
The wall in this area is built on ridges, and because there are not many trees on the ridgelines we will have broad views in every direction as we walk.
Sunset over the Gubeikou Great Wall
We’ll hike up towards 24-Eyes Tower, the highest point on this line of Great Wall. You’ll be able to pick your spot to settle down for sunset – either all the way up at 24-Eyes Tower, or at any of the other towers or vantage points on the way up.
The sun will set around about 5:50pm.
Views and vantage points
On the way up to 24-Eyes Tower the sun will be moving around behind us, making shadows on our left side. The angles should be good for shots both up and down the Great Wall.
For sunset, the place to be is probably 24-Eyes Tower itself, as the last of the sun will be shining on the long line of Great Wall that leads over to Jinshanling. 24-Eyes Tower will be the best place to get a good view of that as it’s the highest point.
Bad weather plan
If the forecast is for rain we’d postpone to the hike to the next day with good weather.
12:00–14:00 - drive to the start of the hike
14:15–hiking on wall up towards high point
20:00–20:30–hike down to the car park
20:30–22:30–drive back to Lido Hotel
22:45–estimated time at Liangmaqiao Subway Station
What to bring on this hike
- Snacks to eat
- Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
- A bottle of sports drink with salt content (Gatorade, Pocari Sweat)
- Rain jacket or poncho just in case
- Warm clothes in case it gets chilly in the evening
- Good hiking boots
- Torch or headlamp, just in case
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)