The Great Wall at Huanghuacheng is the closest line of non-touristy Great Wall to Beijing city – just 1.5 hours’ drive on a good day.
The hike combines ‘wild’ Great Wall and a repaired section in a compact package. It’s easily doable in a day. You’ll see steep and weathered remains of Ming Dynasty wall, and a repaired section where you can see the wall as it may have looked like when first built – sights usually only available on longer, tougher Great Wall walks like the Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall hike.
It's not a long hike – just about 6km – but the all the climbing up and down on the trail will make it feel fairly tough. It’s steep in places, with a hill climb to get up on to the wall, and then more climbing up and down on the way to the end.
Prices and inclusions
Not included: surprise shopping trips.
The Great Wall in Beijing
Beijing Municipality has more than 600km of Great Wall, found mainly in the mountains north and northeast of the city. The majority of Beijing’s Great Wall dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), but there are remnants of much older wall to be found, too.
The Huanghuacheng Great Wall
The Huanghuacheng Great Wall is Ming Dynasty-era Great Wall, and was built in the late 1500s. The Huanghuacheng Great Wall has a solid foundation of cut stones, with bricks used for the battlements and towers. This type of construction is seen only in the later Ming Dynasty walls.
The Great Wall here was built to defend a pass that leads from the northern plains down to Beijing. There are also watchtowers built on high hills and fortified barracks that housed soldiers.
There are two lakes at either end of this line of wall, made by dams built in the 1970s and ‘90s.
The eastern end of the Huanghuacheng Great was renovated in 2004. The western end is totally untouched, and has been that way since the Ming Dynasty.
The Lonely Planet guidebook recommends this area as a great place to visit for a walk, and we agree – we’ve been enjoying hikes here since the early 2000s. Our route for the walk is planned to show you the best sights of the area.
As you hike, your guide will provide historical information about what you’re seeing, and will answer any questions you have.