Five-day Great Wall Trekking

ROUTE 5A: Gubeikou-Jinshanling-Simatai-xianghsuihu-Jiankou-Mutianyu-Huanghuacheng-Xishuiyu Great Wall Sections

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-Gubeikou-Jinshanling

You will meet your guide at your hotel between 7:30-8:00AM, and via private van go directly to the Gubeikou Great Wall. We will hike for about 10km/6miles, and it will take us a leisurely 5 hours. There is a military area where you are not allowed to hike on the wall, so you may walk into the quaint little village down the path and re-enter the wall at the Jinshanling section. Jinshanling is known for its beautiful watchtowers, and at the wall’s highest point, you can see Beijing from the “Watching Beijing” watchtower. Our hike will finish at around 4PM and drive to Jinshan hostel to stay overnight. Dinner is at 7PM, either at a local restaurant or at the hostel.

Jinshanling-Simatai-Xiangshuihu village

Wake up at 7:30 AM with breakfast in the hostel, and then we will drive to the Jinshanling section of the wall. From Jinshanling we will start hiking to the Simatai section of the wall. This hike will take around 4 to 5 hours. For many Great Wall hikers this is their favorite part of any of their hikes on the Great Wall, because this walk includes both beautifully restored sections of the wall early in the hike and also the unrestored “Wild Wall” later in the hike, allowing you to compare and contrast two different areas of wall. We may have a picnic lunch at one of the beacon towers, and in the afternoon you will have some great opportunities to take great photos of the authentic ‘Wild Wall”.

We will finish the tour at around 4PM and drive to Xiangshuihu village to stay overnight. You will be able to wonder around Xiangshuihu village, chat with the locals (maybe you’ll make a few friends!) and enjoy scrumptious BBQ fish for dinner.

Xiangshuihu-Jiankou

Wake up at 7:30 AM with breakfast in the hotel, and then head over to the Xiangshuihu section of the wall. Today’s hike is quite easy, as it will only take around 2 to 3 hours. Like at Jinshanling, Xiangshuihu features many watchtowers, and the lush forestry provides a perfect backdrop to our hike. We will also encounter some areas of “Wild Wall” as well, but for being unrestored it is in pretty good condition, so it won’t be too challenging.

From there we will make our way to Jiankou, a section that is increasingly becoming a hot spot for amateur photographers and “Wild Wall” lovers.

Jiankou-Mutianyu

The day starts at 7:30 AM for breakfast in the hotel, and then we will head over to the Jiankou section and continue to hike its striking and rugged terrain. Along the way we will encounter some watchtowers that have fallen into a state of disrepair. It is an interesting contrast compared with the restored section you will see later at Mutainyu.

From Jiankou you will cross over onto Mutianyu, a section of the wall that has been mostly 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 Chairman Mao”.

You can hike down to the parking lot, take the cable car, or slide down on the toboggan (lots of fun and highly recommended!). Our driver will be waiting to take you to lunch at a local farmer’s restaurant! After lunch we will drive back to your hotel. At the hotel you will have a chance to refresh yourself and have dinner. You will probably sleep like a rock after today’s hike!

Huanghuacheng-Xishuiyu

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.

After hiking on Xishuiyu, we will drive you back to your Beijing hotel, thus finishing your Great Wall odyssey.