Great Wall Trekking from Old Dragon's Head in the East to Mutianyu near Beijing
Free airport transfers!
The Great Wall Adventure Club (GWAC), was formed at the turn of century. Members are visitors to Beijing from over 55 countries. When you visit Beijing, you HAVE TO tour the Great Wall of China, not only for the popular saying -- "You are not a GREAT man if you have never been to the Great Wall!," but also for the most amazing experience in your life.
- Explore the best of the eastern Great Wall, from the sea all the way to Beijing
- Gain a greater understanding of the Great Wall’s strategic and military importance, as well as it’s architecture
- Visit sections not well known to western tourists
- Free Airport pick-up and drop off service
- Decent four-star hotel accommodation at Beijing Guangxi Hotel
- FREE ROYAL FOOT MASSAGE after the hike!
Stuff you should bring with you:
- Tough hiking boots, sunscreen and sunglasses
- Backpack, and snacks or energy/protein supplements you want to have before lunch
- Extra cash for driver/guide tips
- Don’t forget your camera!
Day-by-day Hiking and Trekking Itinerary
Arrive in Beijing
Our Great Wall Adventure representative will meet you at Beijing International Airport and drive you to your hotel. At 7pm, our guide will give you a briefing on the tour ahead, and the rest of the night is up to your discretion.
Day2 Beijing-Old Dragon’s Head-Shanhaiguan (L+D)
We will meet you at your hotel in the morning between 7:30-8am, and from there we will make the 4 hour drive to the Shanhaiguan Pass, which is in a town situated in the northeast of Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province. It adjoins the Bohai Sea to the southeast and the Yanshan Mountain to the northwest. We will start our hike at Old Dragon’s Head, also known as Laolongtou. Laolongtou is the most eastern beginning of the Great Wall, which extends into the Bohai Sea. Standing here is almost like being on a peninsula as you can feel the overwhelming power of the rolling sea.
After marveling at the scenery here, we will make our way to the Shanhaiguan Pass Fortress, which is also known as “The First Pass under Heaven”. Climbing up the Zhendong Tower, you will see that to one side of the tower is the rolling sea, while on the other lies the lofty Great Wall. We will then enter the Shanhaiguan Great Wall Museum, where we will learn about the history and military strategy of this section of wall, as well as displaying military relics.
For the night we will stay at the First Pass Hotel and have a tasty dinner of Northern Chinese cuisine to get you started for tomorrow’s hike.
Day3 Shanhuaguan-#1 Great Wall Village (B+L+D, 10km/6miles, 4-5 hours)
After getting up at 7:30 and eating breakfast, we will make a short drive to the foot of a mountain and hike to the #1 Great Wall village. In this local village you can chat with the locals. Doing activities like these is a great way to learn about the true China. Being in Beijing, it’s hard to get a grip on the true character of the Chinese people. The sleeping conditions will be simple, but it is a unique situation and gives you a well-rounded Chinese
Day4 #2 Great Wall village-#3 Great Wall Village (B+L+D, 10km/6miles, 4-5 hours)
Our day will begin with breakfast with our local host family, and then we’ll go on a short hike to see the Cihou tower, which is a fantastically beautiful ruined tower, and the layout gives you a sweeping panoramic view of the countryside. We will then make the hike to another local village, which includes a ruined fortress. The villagers are descendants of the fortress’ original builder, and you can say they continue to guard the Great Wall! We will then make the 4-hour drive to the East Qing Tombs, where we will stay the night in a nice hotel nearby
Day5 East Qing Tombs-Huangyaguan (B+L+D, 1.5 hours)
After waking up at 7:30, we will make the short trip to the East Qing Tombs. The Eastern Qing Tombs, which is among the finest, best-preserved and largest of the extant tomb complexes in China. Along the south side of Changrui Mountain, the tombs of five emperors, four empresses, five imperial concubines, and one princess are arrayed based on the traditional concept of placing the most senior and most distinguished in the center.
Of all the tombs, Xiaoling is the biggest and most elaborate, standing as the focal point of the entire structure. The grandeur of this tomb may be attributed to its having been the first sepulcher constructed for a member of the royal family of the Qing Dynasty, so the builders hoped to set the tone for a prosperous future. Crossing through the Great Red Gate, you can see buildings of different sizes, all with roofs of yellow glazed tile, connected by the brick paths or 'sacred ways' that converge in the area of Xiaoling.
An example of the most exquisite architecture of the Eastern Qing Tombs is Dingdongling, the tomb of Empress Dowager Cixi. Although she handled affairs of state for more than 45 years, she never ascended the throne. (The only female ruler in Chinese history was Empress Wu Zetian in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Elaborate and highly refined decorations and carvings inside Dingdongling make it unique among the tombs of the Qing Dynasty. The main material used in the tomb, which took six years to build, was gold, the symbol of royal family.
Shortly after lunch we will drive to a small village, where we will start our afternoon hike on the Great Wall on Huangyaguan. It is designed as a miniature of the entire Great Wall of China, thereby allowing you get an understanding of the entire wall in a fraction of the time. The entire section is built on an abrupt mountain ridge. Being endowed with both natural beauty and cultural interest, it has become famous as a natural beauty spot and a summer resort.
After about an hour’s walk we will reach a peak overlooking the valley below. From the peak we can also see the Huangyaguan Fortress, which was restored in 1984. From this vantage point, we will be able to see its Baguan pattern, a specially designed labyrinth designed to confuse and entrap the enemy. We will then walk down to the fortress for a fascinating and informative visit inside.
For that evening we will stay in a traditional courtyard hotel built on the site of the fortress.
Day6 Huangyaguan-a small mountain village (B+L+D, 8km/5 miles, 4-5 hours)
With breakfast in the hotel, we will then continue our hike on Huangyaguan,. We will soon reach the major scenic point of Huangyaguan, the “Heaven’s Ladder”. Ascend the steps of the "Heaven's Ladder" to gain a ridgetop above Huangyaguan. We will follow the trace of the Great Wall as it undulates across the mountains before gradually descending into a valley. From here, a vehicle will transport us north to the Simatai- Great Wall. We will spend the night in a simple, courtyard-style hotel near the Simatai village.
Day7 Small mountain village-Simatai (B+L+D, 10km/6miles, 4-5 hours)
After waking up at 7:30 we will hike along the wall to the point where Hebei Province, Tianjin, and Beijing meet together. From there we will make our way westward to a local village, where our driver will meet us and take us to Simatai, staying at a hostel at the bottom of the wall.
Day8 Simatai-Jinshanling (B+L+D, 10km/6miles, 4-5 hours)
Our hike will start from Simatai, and we will make our way west along the wall into Jinshanling. This is the classic Great Wall hike that mostly wall enthusiasts have done. Unlike most hikers, we will take this popular route in the opposite direction. At first we will encounter deteriorated “Wild Wall” and the hiking will be a little steep. But as we make our way west the wall will gradually turn into a more restored state, and the hiking will get progressively easier. The hike today allows you to compare the differences between the two wall types, and this is both highly enjoyable and informative.
After reaching Jinshanling we will drive to a 3 star hotel at the foot of the wall there to stay overnight. We will have dinner around 7 either at the hotel or a local restaurant.
Day9 Jinshanling-Gubeikou (B+L+D, 10km/6 miles, 4-5 hours)
We will be continuing our hike westward from Jinshanling until we reach the General Tower at Gubeikou. Gubeikou is mostly “Wild Wall” so the hiking will be tougher than the beginning of our hike. We will have lunch on the wall, and the countryside in front of us will provide the perfect back-drop. Then we will transfer to a nearby hotel to spend the night.
Day10 Jiankou-Mutianyu (B+L+SD, 10km/6 miles, 4-5 hours)
Our hiking will end on a high note as we will be visiting hikers’ most favorite section of the Great Wall. . In order to hike on Jiankou, first we have to climb up a path for about 60 minutes to reach it. Our hike will today will take about 4 hours and will cover 10km/ 6 miles. The Jiankou section is known for its ruggedness and wild beauty, and you will be in awe of the marvelous views it affords. As soon as we reach Jiankou we will see a deserted watchtower that gives you a panoramic view of the entire valley. In the early morning the view is priceless with its morning fog. This section of the wall is not well known by tourists, although if you see a picture of the Great Wall from exotic traveling magazines, chances are it is from Jiankou. This is the pinnacle of exotic Great Wall scenery.
This part of the wall is often empty, so you will have some peace and serenity on your hike today. Another highlight of Jiankou is the enemy observation tower known as, "Ying Fei Dao Yang", so named because this watchtower was erected on the highest peak in the area, and eagles and hawks often perch on it. Although the majestic wall is slowly being conquered by small trees and brambles, but the view from the top is still stunning!
From Jiankou we will cross over onto Mutianyu, a section of the wall that has been largely restored. Although it has gotten a face-lift, it avoids the army of tourists that plague Badaling. Mutianyu offers some breathtaking views of the valley and wall below, and if you look to your right you’ll see a large sign engraved in the side of the mountain encouraging you to “Cherish the teachings of Chairman Mao.” Mutianyu has also become popular for visiting foreign leaders and celebrities (former U.S. President Clinton visited Mutianyu on one of his trips to China).
You can hike down to the parking lot, take a cable car, or take a toboggan ride (highly recommended, and lots of fun!) down to meet our driver. We will then have BBQ fish for lunch at a local restaurant.
When we drive back to Beijing, you will be rewarded for all the sweat and blood you put into this hike by having a Peking Duck dinner, the signature dish of Beijing.
You may choose one of our exciting city tours to any of Beijing’s great sights and attractions. If you like you can visit the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs, or any other number of fantastic places. If the hike has worn you out, you can take a rickshaw tour of the hutongs of old Beijing. This will give you an overview of Beijing folk culture and daily life.
Day12 Exit Beijing
We will drive you to the airport for your flight to your next destination, thus ending your tour with us.