A long hill climb takes us up on to a remote, rough, and seldom-visited stretch of unrestored Great Wall, with awesome views of the surrounding mountains. Note: the climb back down takes us down a steep and perpetually brushy section of trail, which may cause a bit of delay.
On this hike we’ll head out to the border of Beijing Municipality and Hebei Province for a moderately difficult walk through peach orchards, up valleys, and along the Great Wall.
The Great Wall out here is rough and seldom-visited—choose this hike if you're interested in a visit to a section of wall very different to what you've seen on postcards.
In the Ming Dynasty, Zhenbiancheng was one of three important outposts on the border, along with Changyucheng and Baiyanggou. Modern Zhenbiancheng has grown in and around the old city walls. Much of the town walls still remain, as well as archways, bricks, and stone carvings.
In more recent times, the area was the site of a major battle between the Chinese and Japanese armies, and it’s said that bullet holes can be seen in some of the walls.
About the hiking trail
We'll follow an access road that begins near the village, and then up a leafy valley, passing through peach orchards before following a hill trail up to the Great Wall. For the first part of the valley we’ll be on a fairly flat trail, with views of the distinctive peaks of nearby ‘Brush-rest’ Mountain. From the head of the valley we’ll walk a hill trail that is moderately steep, arriving at a ruined tower on the Great Wall after 40-60 minutes of steady ascent.
After a snack break, we’ll continue along the wall, heading for another ruined tower that will be our lunch spot. The Great Wall in this area is not all in good condition, so for some of the hike we will need to walk alongside it.
After lunch, our hike continues on the wall, until we reach the the point where we’ll head down a valley. The trail down the valley is steep to begin with, but eventually it flattens out and leads us through grassy fallow fields on the way back to the roadside.
Photos and trip reports: Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop Hike