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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

In Brief: Camp overnight in a scenic spot on the Great Wall. You’ll hike easier with just the essentials in your day pack; we’ll arrange delivery of the heavy stuff to the campsite.

Our campsite on unrestored wild wall below a Great Wall tower

Sunrise at the campsite. View more photos »

Key information

  • 1,600 RMB (1,440 RMB for members)
  • 10:00am departure from Lido Hotel Starbucks; Liangmaqiao subway area pickup at 9:30am. (Find the meeting points)
  • approx. 3 hours of hiking each day
  • Some meals included.

On this Great Wall overnighter you’ll hike a picturesque stretch of the wild Great Wall, and camp at a nice quiet spot on the Great Wall, deep in the hills of Yanqing District.

We’ll organise delivery of tents and sleeping bags direct to our campsite; you’ll just need to carry your clothes, water, and food and snacks.

Maximum group size of 12 hikers; book early to make sure you get a spot! Sign up early: For best results, book in on this trip before our office closes for the holiday on October 1.

Bad weather plan

We'll have a fairly good idea of the weather by about three days before the hike. If it's forecast to be dangerous, we'll look at changing the route to somewhere where the weather is more suitable. If it changes suddenly while we're out there, we can shelter at a guesthouse in the village at the foot of the Great Wall.

The hiking trail

We're going to take it slow and easy on this hike: the hike to the campsite is fairly short, but there are some steep sections to climb up and down. Plus, there are a lot of places where you'll want to stop to enjoy the views.

If you'd like to do some extra hiking on the first day, it's possible to hike a bit further along the wall after we've set up camp.

On the second day, we'll see how keen you are to explore! There's a steep section of wall nearby, and we'll see how you feel about climbing up to the highest point for even better views.

The campsite

Our campsite is a nice flat area on a line of rough and unrestored Great Wall, with superb views of mountains to the front and the back, and climbing up a little further along the wall will open up views of more mountains and the line of Great Wall that runs right through the middle.

The towers in this area are not so suitable for camping in due to their deteriorated condition or distance from the access points, but you will certainly be able to explore plenty of them while hiking, and the campsite will be a great place to watch the sunset.

At night

The sun will set at around 5:49pm, and from the campsite we’ll be able to watch as the sun slowly sinks below below the mountains.
Moon phase: Full Moon.

The sun will rise in the hills behind our campsite at around about 6:16am.

Meals

Lunch, day one: We'll supply a sandwich as well as a banana and a Snickers bar. You might like to supplement this with extra snacks.

Dinner: We'll supply basic camp food: things like bread and rolls, ham and salami, pickles and cheese, and some cup noodles and soups. We’ll bring gas burners to boil water for hot drinks. We'll also bring a bottle of red wine! Dinner will be tasty but fairly basic, and we’re not able to have open fires.

Breakfast: We’ll bring bread and jam and fruit, tea and coffee.

Snacks: We’ll supply an apple, and nuts and things to make trail mix.

Water: We’ll provide 4 litres of bottled water per person, plus an electrolyte drink.

After breakfast on the second day we'll break camp and hike a little further on the wall. We'll then follow a hill trail down to the nearest village to have a light meal at our local guide's place. We expect to be back in Beijing around mid-afternoon.

Equipment

We supply: one tent for each person, sleeping bag and liner, ground pad, hiking poles.

What you need to bring

  • Hiking pack to carry your food, water, and clothes.
  • Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
  • Standard hiking gear and boots, and a waterproof jacket just in case.
  • Warm clothes for the evening, spare socks and underwear.
  • Hat and gloves.
  • Flashlight or head lamp.
  • Toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
  • Toothbrush, small towel.
  • Suncream.
  • Personal medicine and basic first aid supplies.
  • Entertainment: a book, cards, a bottle of something.
  • Extra food and snacks ie chocolate.
  • Plastic bags to carry away any tissues, bottles, or food wrappings.

Recommended packing method

Essentials (water, snacks, food, extra clothes, things you can’t do without) in your hiking pack.

There are risks involved in hiking. Please read our Risk Acknowledgment and Waiver and inform yourself before participating.

Ready to sign up? Book your place
Level3

Level of difficulty

Level 3 hikes are the type we do most often. Level 3 hikes will take around 3 hours, and can be either reasonably easy, or challenging, depending on how often you exercise.

Is the level of difficulty suitable for me?

Hike statistics

  • Distance: 5-10km
  • Time to complete: approx. 3 hours each day
  • Total ascent: 407m
  • Total descent: 118m
  • Start height: 676m
  • Peak: 1,030m
  • Finish height: 965m
  • Location: Yanqing
  • Drive time: 2 hours each way

Hikes in Beijing

We publish our hike schedule month by month, with updates around the 10th of each month.

If you're interested in hikes and trips during a month that's not yet listed, use our contact form to let us know and we'll send you a quick email when the schedule is online.

Hike in Beijing calendar

See the Hike in Beijing schedule in our calendar


Find a hike

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All upcoming hikes in Beijing

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Departure date: Sunday, October 1
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Tuesday, October 3
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Departure date: Wednesday, October 4
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Departure date: Thursday, October 5
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Departure date: Friday, October 6
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: October 6–7 (Fri–Sat)
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Camping: Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, October 7
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Quarrymen’s Trail to the Heavenly Lake

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Departure date: Saturday, October 7
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Departure date: Thursday, October 12
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Departure date: Saturday, October 14
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Departure date: Wednesday, October 18
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Saturday, October 21
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Departure date: Saturday, October 21
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, October 22
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, October 22
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Shunyi Hikers: Yajishan Temple Circuit

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Departure date: Wednesday, October 25
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, October 26
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, October 28
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Departure date: Saturday, October 28
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, October 29
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Cypress Wells Canyon and Yongning Town

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Departure date: Sunday, October 29
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 1
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Thursday, November 2
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Saturday, November 4
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Departure date: Saturday, November 4
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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Departure date: Sunday, November 5
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, November 5
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Intelligence Valley

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 8
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, November 9
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Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall

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Departure date: Saturday, November 11
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The High Tower Loop hike

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Departure date: Saturday, November 11
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Sunday, November 12
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Immortal Valley Loop

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Departure date: Sunday, November 12
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Middle Route of Switchback Great Wall

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 15
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Thursday, November 16
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Great Wall: Huanghuacheng to the Walled Village

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Departure date: Saturday, November 18
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Gubeikou West Circuit

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Departure date: Saturday, November 18
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Longquanyu Great Wall to the Little West Lake

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Departure date: Sunday, November 19
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Hemp Village to Gubeikou Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, November 19
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Shunyi Hikers: Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 22
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Gubeikou Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, November 23
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Great Wall Spur

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Departure date: Saturday, November 25
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Hillwalking Challenge: Flower Wood to East Water Valley

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Departure date: Saturday, November 25
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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, November 26
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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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Departure date: Sunday, November 26
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Tomb Raiders and the Sacred Way

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Departure date: Wednesday, November 29
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Stone Valley Great Wall Loop

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Departure date: Thursday, November 30
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Great Wall: Nine-Eyes Tower

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