Four-day Great Wall Trekking

Route 4B: Beijing-Jinshanling-Gubeikou-Panlongshan-Huanghuacheng-Xishuiyu-Jiankou-Mutianyu

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

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

Your English-speaking guide will pick you up from your hotel at about 7:30 am. Form there we’ll make the drive to Gubeikou, which should take about 3 hours. At Gubeikou, we’ll get started on our trek. Gubeikou Great Wall occupies a strategically important location, which is difficult to access. Situated between Shanhaiguan Pass and Juyongguan Pass, and about 62 miles to Beijing, it is the bastion protecting the northern gateway to the capital. There are 14 beacon towers, 143 watchtowers, 16 strategic pass, three citadels and many other military constructions. Many of them are famous cultural relics, such as the Big Flower Beacon Tower of the Northern Qi Dynasty, Fairy Tower, General Tower, and the dominant Wangjing Tower. We’ll hike until we reach the landmark of the General Tower. We will have lunch on the wall, and the countryside in front of us will provide the perfect backdrop. We’ll continue on to Jinshanling in the afternoon. We’ll then 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 yard of the farmer’s family.

Panlongshan (B+L+D, 3-4 hours of hiking)

After breakfast, we’ll hike from Panlongshan for about 4 hours. For lunch we’ll have a traditional Chinese meal at Meizhou restaurant. We’ll then drive to Huanghuacheng village for the evening, staying in a farmer’s house.

Huanghuacheng-Xishuiyu (B+L+D, 4 hours of hiking)

Wake up at 7:30AM with breakfast at the hotel. We will then continue our trek, this time from Huanhuacheng to Xishuiyu. Huanghuacheng, like Jiankou, is fast becoming popular with hikers and tourists who are looking for something a little different in their Great Wall experience. When you reach the middle of the wall you will be able to see that the countryside is swathed in yellow, as masses of wild flowers come into bloom. We will then cross over onto the Xishuiyu section.

Today’s hike is not very long, but quite special-part of the wall is under water! In 1974 China built the Xishuiyu Reservoir, and when the water level rose, some low-lying sections of the wall were submerged under water. Seen from the dam of the reservoir, this stately sunken wall is still visible under the water’s smooth and glimmering surface. Following today’s hike we’ll drive to Jiankou, where we’ll sleep at an inn in the village.

After hiking on Xishuiyu

Day 4 Jiankou-Mutianyu (B+L, 4-5 hours of hiking)

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’ll then drive back to your hotel in Beijing, ending your tour.