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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

In Brief: Visit the rugged Jiankou Great Wall and hike over to the restored Mutianyu Great Wall on a trail that gives great views of both ‘wild’ and repaired Great Wall.

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall | Hiking down to the Mutianyu Great Wall

Hiking down to the Mutianyu Great Wall.

On this trip you’ll visit the rugged Jiankou Great Wall and hike over to the restored Mutianyu Great Wall, both located in Huairou District, to the north of Beijing.

Jiankou is famed for being one of the most photographed sections of Great Wall, with its steep rugged cliffs making a stunning backdrop.

The Mutianyu Great Wall was restored between 1982 and 1986, and is one of the most popular sections of the Great Wall for tourists to visit, due to the superb views.

Key information

4–5 hours of hiking over 9km.

Included: English-speaking hiking guide, bottled water, snacks, lunch and drinks, hiking sticks, tickets, transportation in private vehicle.


Prices quoted in Chinese dollars, subject to change.
* Discounts available for larger groups.
Group size 2 3 4 5–7 8–9 10+*
(per person)
1,550 1,150 925 870 725 650

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.

Zhenbei Tower at the Jiankou Great Wall
Zhenbei Tower at the Jiankou Great Wall. (Click for larger image)

The Jiankou Great Wall

Original construction of the wall at Jiankou started around 1000 years ago, in the Tang dynasty (618–907). Most of what we will see on the first part of this hike is the remains of the Ming Dynasty wall, built between 1568 and 1615 by General Qi Jiguang.

The Great Wall at Jiankou runs up and down impossibly steep ridgelines, and it’s known as one of the most dangerous parts of the wall to hike. Our trail avoids the danger zones—you’ll see them in the distance, and we think you will agree with us that they’re nicer to look at than to hike on.

The Great Wall at Mutianyu
The Great Wall at Mutianyu. (Click for larger image)

The Mutianyu Great Wall

There has been a wall at Mutianyu since the Northern Qi dynasty (550-577).

During the Ming Dynasty the older wall was rebuilt and reinforced, and would have looked much like it looks today, with the tall wall and large towers guarding an important pass.

The Mutianyu Great Wall was restored between 1982 and 1986, and is one of the most popular sections of the Great Wall for tourists to visit, due to the superb views.

The hiking trail

Our hike starts with a tough climb up to the Great Wall, following a valley trail that slowly climbs to a Great Wall tower that is almost 1,000 metres above sea level.

The higher we climb, the better the views. We’ll be able to see the entire Jiankou Great Wall, including the perilous and steep sections that we avoid on this hike

From there we'll head east, following the ‘wild’ wall towards Mutianyu. Along the way we'll pass through many towers, and make some descents on slippery surfaces. There is an option to make a forest detour around the steepest section, a tough climb up to a tower that’s named the Ox-Horn.

We'll end up at the northern end of the Mutianyu Great Wall, and cross over on to the restored section. Even though the wall here is restored, it's still steep, and you may find the long descents tough on the knees.

We'll follow the Mutianyu wall all the way over to the south side, passing through the tourist section, and then walking down to finish the hike.

If you’d prefer to finish the hike with a ride down the toboggan, your guide will help you purchase the tickets.

Trail statistics

4–5 hours of hiking over 9km. 451m ascent, 724m descent. Highest point 948m.

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Safety first

Beijing Hikers reserves the right to alter, postpone, or cancel the hike if participation is deemed unsafe for hiking, for example but not excluding forecast temperatures above 35°C, heavy rain or storms forecast, strong winds, icy or closed roads.

Sample itinerary

  1. 08:00 - Depart from your hotel
  2. 10:30 - Begin the hike
  3. 14:30 - Finish the hike
  4. 15:00 - Late lunch at countryside restaurant
  5. 15:45 - Begin drive back to your hotel
  6. 17:45 - Arrive at your hotel

Travel and hike times are approximate, and depend on traffic and the pace at which you hike. We can leave earlier in the morning, or later, if preferred – it’s up to you!

What is included in the cost?

  • Round-trip transport in private vehicle from central Beijing
  • Beijing Hikers staff hiking guide
  • Bottled mineral water (four bottles per person)
  • A banana and a muesli bar
  • Entry tickets (where applicable)
  • Local guide
  • Meal of Chinese food at countryside restaurant at the end of the hiking trail. Includes soft drinks and local beer.
  • Hiking poles available on request.

What is not included in the cost?

  • Anything not specifically mentioned as being included can be counted as not included.
  • The tickets for the toboggan at Mutianyu are not included. Our guide will help you purchase tickets.
  • Beijing Hikers doesn’t include any shopping trips. Don’t worry about that.

What do you need to bring?

  • Basic hiking gear, including a light backpack.
  • Strong, sturdy footwear with good grip.
  • Comfortable layers of clothing (dress warmly for winter).
  • Waterproof jacket or poncho.
  • Sun protection: hat, long-sleeved shirt, suncream.
  • Toilet paper and wet wipes.
  • A plastic bag to carry away any of your used tissues or banana peels.

Where do we meet up?

For a private trip, we’ll come to meet you at your hotel or hostel in Beijing. Your guide will arrive early and shoot you a text when they’re in the lobby and ready to go.

How long will it take to drive there?

The Jiankou Great wall is 2–2.5 hours away from central Beijing. Bad traffic may increase travel time. The drive back from the Mutianyu Great Wall is slightly shorter, and usually takes 2 hours.

How do you pay for the trip?

For small groups, your guide will collect the payment in cash when they meet you. For larger groups, you’ll pay a deposit to confirm the booking, with the balance due on the day of the hike. We’ll provide payment details and methods as part of the booking process.

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Trips on request

If the timing of our regularly scheduled hikes doesn't suit, or if you've got something special planned for a small or large group, we can help you to take friends, family, students, staff, or co-workers on a private trip to the Great Wall and other scenic areas in Beijing.

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By joining with another group of people for a private hike, you may be able to get a lower price per person. Interested? Write us a note when you make your booking.

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