See the last sunset of 2019 from the Great Wall at Huanghuacheng.
We start off near a walled village that was once an army barracks during the Ming Dynasty. The tall and thick stone walls remain, and it’s possible to explore inside.
Surrounding the village are fields and chestnut orchards, the main source of income for those who live nearby, and in the hills above the village runs a stretch of the Yellow Flower Great Wall.
We’ll follow the villagers’ field trails up into the hills, passing the chestnut orchards on the way to the narrow hill trail that will take us up to the Great Wall.
It’s here where the trail gets steep for the first time on the hike, with a good climb up the zig-zagging dirt path that leads to the wall.
This first stretch of wall that we’ll see is unrestored and hasn’t been touched since the Ming Dynasty. Parts of it are in good shape, and other parts are tumbled-down and in rough condition.
We’ll follow the wall east, passing through towers and using side trails to skip broken down sections. After 45–50 minutes, we’ll be on to the restored section – a good chance to see what the wall might have looked like when first built.
A climb down a steep set of stairs takes us to a big arch in the wall, and we’ll take a break to catch our breath before another steep climb. From this point, we’ll be on repaired Great Wall.
After a rest, it’s onward and upward, with another 45 or minutes of climbing to get to the highest point on the hike, a lookout point that offers 360° views of the surrounding countryside and more of the wall.
It’s here where we’ll watch the sunset, which will happen around 5pm. Bring plenty of warm clothes with you. Depending on how fast we hiked we may need to wait around for a little while, and we expect sub-zero temperatures and a bit of a breeze.
Below, we’ll see a local reservoir. The wall leads down to the reservoir, and back up the hills on the other side. We’ll follow the wall down to the last tower before the reservoir, and then exit to take a path down the hill, passing small guesthouses on the way to the road and the restaurant where we’ll have a big meal before heading back to the city.
Bad weather plan
If bad weather (i.e. snow, ice, extreme cold) means this hike wouldn’t be safe or fun we’d try to find a back up location for a sunset hike on the Great Wall.
Bring all your warm clothes! We’re expecting sub-zero temperatures, and it could get very cold as we’re waiting to watch the sunset.