A classic Great Wall hike that takes you from Gubeikou to Jinshanling, starting with the mellow and mostly-unrepaired Great Wall at Gubeikou and finishing with the steep stairs and big towers of the repaired Jinshanling Great Wall.
See a broad range of scenery and Great Wall on this long hike through the mountains on Beijing’s northwest border. With the wall built along low ridges in between taller mountains, you’ll have long views of the Great Wall running up into the hills in front and behind as you hike—perfect for your photos.
At Gubeikou, you’ll see a mix of untouched and lightly-repaired Ming Dynasty Great Wall, with broken sections revealing the construction techniques used.
At Jinshanling, you’ll see a superb example of first-class Ming Dynasty Great Wall: large, closely-spaced towers on well-repaired brick Great Wall that runs up and down steep ridges.
Part of the Great Wall between Gubeikou and Jinshanling is closed because it borders a military zone. The detour around the military zone gives you a look at farmland in rural China, plus a view of the wall from the outside—the same view that would have been faced by any attackers.
There are options to make this hike longer or shorter. Ask for more information about that when you make your booking.
English-speaking Beijing Hikers guide
• Round-trip transport in private vehicle from central Beijing
• Tickets and entry fees
• Bottled water, snacks, lunch and drinks
• Hiking sticks
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 Great Wall at Gubeikou
The Great Wall fortifications at Gubeikou date back to the Northern Qi Dynasty (550–577 AD), and the Great Wall here is positioned to block one of the main passes through the mountains to Beijing from China's northeast.
There's not much of the Northen Qi Great Wall left to see now, apart from a rough pile of stones on a ridge on the west side of Gubeikou. The Great Wall seen today at Gubeikou was built during the later part of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD), with large-scale additions made after Mongolian ruler Altan Khan broke through to attack Beijing in 1550.
The Gubeikou Great Wall was the scene of a large battle between Chinese and Japanese armies in the 1930s.
The majority of the Great Wall here is unrepaired, with just a few places having had light reconstruction work done.
For this hike we’ll be on the eastern side of the Gubeikou Great Wall, which is also known as Panlongshan—the ‘Coiled Dragon Mountain’.
The Great Wall at Jinshanling
High quality reconstruction work and uncommonly large, closely-spaced towers atop tall and solid Great Wall make Jinshanling one of the best places to see what first-class Ming Dynasty Great Wall would have looked like when first built.
Even better, its distance from Beijing means that it's not crowded by tour groups like the Great Wall at Mutianyu and Badaling.
The Great Wall seen today at Jinshanling is all in the Ming Dynasty style, with the last active construction work being finished around 1567 AD. The first modern repairs were finished in 1989.