Four-day Great Wall Trekking

Route 4C: Beijing-Old Dragon’s Head-Shanhaiguan- Jiaoshan – Sandaoguan-Dongjiakou-Chengzhiyu-Xiaohekou-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

Beijing - Old Dragon’s Head - Shanhaiguan (L+D)

We will meet you in the morning at 7:30 a.m. You’ll enjoy a combination of a Western and Chinese breakfast on the first floor restaurant of your hotel. From there we will make the 4.5-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.

After lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, we’ll have a tour to the Great Wall Museum to learn about the history of the Great Wall. You’ll also learn about the history and military strategy of this section of wall, as well as see military relics. We will start our hike at Old Dragon’s Head, also known as Laolongtou. Laolongtou is the most eastern section 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. This hike takes about 40 minutes.

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 impressive Great Wall.

For the night we will stay at the Jinshan Hotel and have a tasty dinner of Northern Chinese cuisine to get you started for tomorrow’s hike. Be sure to wear a long sleeve shirt, as we will be walking through lots of bushes tomorrow.

Jiaoshan – Sandaoguan - Dongjiakou (B+L+D, 5-6 hours of hiking)

Today we will hike from Jiaoshan to Sandaoguan (Three-layer of Wall Pass), which will take us 5-6 hours. We’ll hike from the bottom of Jiaoshan Mountain up in order to enjoy the beautiful bird’s-eye view of Shanhaiguan city in the early morning sun-light. Hiking partly on the wall and partly by following a wild mountain trail in a northeasterly direction for about three to four hours, you will find yourself in the beautiful valley overlooked by Mt. Longevity: huge stones, quiet forest and crystal creeks. In the shadow of Mt. Longevity sits the little village of Sandaoguan with about 35 families living in it.

After a brief lunch, we’ll walk down to Sandaoguan village. After a short rest, we will drive about one and a half hours to Dongjiakou village, where we will stay in the local farmer's home. It’s very simple, but clean (two-bed, with no private washroom and hot water for shower).

Dongjiakou-Chengzhiyu-Xiaohekou Great Wall ( B+L+D, 8-9 hours of hiking)

In the early morning after breakfast, we will hike up the mountain in Dongjiakou village for the beautiful arch-stones that contains amazing reliefs, and Cihou, a ruined fortress that can only be seen in this part of the Wall (about one hour). Then we will go around Dongjiakou village to more closely examine the ruins of the fortress and chat with the villagers, who are the descendants of the builders and guards of the Great Wall. The hike takes about 2.5 hours or 3 hours. Lunch is at Dongjiakou.

The rest of the trek to Xiaohekou takes us about 5 hours, passing Chengziyu village on the way (where we will have our lunch). At the end of the trek, we will drive from Xiaohekou to the nearby Qingfeng hostel (two-bed one room, with private washroom).

Jinshanling-Gubeikou (B+L+D, 4-5 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.

We will be continuing our hike westward from Jinshanling until we reach the General Tower at Gubeikou. 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.

After lunch, we will drive back to Beijing, and you will be dropped off at your hotel, ending your trek with us.