Four-day Great Wall Trekking

Route 4A: Beijing-East Qing Tombs-Huangyaguan-Qianganjian-Sanjiebei–Jinshanling-Gubeikou

Highlights:

  • Exploring the best of the Beijing portion of the Great Wall
  • Seeing amazing panoramas and vistas that can only be seen by hiking these areas!
  • Seeing a section of the wall which exemplifies the entire wall in architecture, scenery, ruggedness, and military importance.
  • All meals are included!
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!

(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

Day-by-day Hiking Itinerary

East Qing Tombs-Huangyaguan (B+L+D, 1.5 hours of hiking)

Your English-speaking guide will come to pick you up from your hotel at about 7:30am. From there we will make the short trip to the East Qing Tombs. The Eastern Qing Tombs 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 the imperial 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 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 local hotel called the Huangyaguan Great Wall Hotel.

Please make sure that you wear long-sleeves tomorrow.

Huangyaguan- Qianganjian #2 Village (B+L+D, about 4-5 hours hiking)

Huangyaguan is situated in a beautiful valley in the heart of the Yanshan Mountains. We start our walk heading up the steep renovated steps towards what appears to be a sheer cliff face. This is where we encounter "Heavens Ladder", a steep climb of over 200 steps leading us up to the cliff face. Once we have caught our breaths, the path continues gradually up to the top of the ridge and once again to the old Wall, which follows the contours of the mountain. We’ll drop down into the nearby valley and clamber along the Wall as it gradually descends to the valley below. Afterwards we’ll meet our waiting bus and drive to Qianganjian village. We’ll spend the evening in the village. We’ll spend the evening in the village.

Qianganjian – Sanjiebei – Jinshanling (B+L+D, 3-4 hours of hiking)

After breakfast, we will make our way west along the wall into Jinshanling. This is the classic Great Wall hike that most Great 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 the Jinshan hotel at the foot of the wall, where we will stay the night. We will have dinner around 7 either at the hotel or a local restaurant.

Jinshanling-Gubeikou (B+L+D, 4-5 hours of hiking)

After breakfast, 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 backdrop.

In the afternoon, we’ll stop by a farmer’s house and yard in Panlongshan to do some traditional Chinese activities – trying paper-cut, working on grain-mill and grain picking. We’ll sleep in the yards. We will then drive back to Beijing, where you will be dropped off at your hotel, ending your hike with us.