Zhenbiancheng is located in a remote and beautiful area that is surrounded by mountains. Nearby are many sites of historical interest - Ming Dynasty-era walled military outposts, stretches of Great Wall, small villages, and wartime battlefields.
For this hike we started off with a walk up a valley trail to reach the Great Wall, and then followed the wall up and along a ridge before walking out down another valley. After snacks and drinks on the roadside, we took a short drive to visit 'old' Zhenbiancheng, a Ming Dynasty-era walled border outpost that is now a bustling little village.
Statistics: 5 hours in total, with 4 hours of walking over approx. 9km; start height 801m, finish height 825m, highest point 1370m. Roughly 12,500 steps (by pedometer measure). Estimated 2047kCal burned (offset by 20 bottles of beer consumed post-hike).
As we began the hike, we had views of the distinctive peaks of Brushrest Mountain on our left.
After an hour's climbing, we arrived at the Great Wall, continuing after a short rest.
With the Great Wall situated high on a ridge, we had great views of the surrounding area - mountains, valleys with terraces, small townships, with more Great Wall in the distance.
We saw several distinctive round-shaped towers along the way.
The stretch of wall we followed was quite rugged.
We continued along the wall, heading north.
After a last tricky descent, we followed a hard-to-find trail down into a valley.
At the foot of the valley were fallow fields, overgrown with tall grass.
After our traditional post-hike snacks and drinks, we took a short drive down the road to 'old' Zhenbiancheng.
One of the four old gates to the walled military border outpost of Zhenbiancheng. Zhenbiancheng roughly translates as 'Control-the-border City.'
We took a stroll along some of the city walls and explored the streets before heading back to the city.
The main street of the town cuts through the old walls.