Great Wall Trekking of Gubeikou-Jinshanling-Simatai, Black Dragon Pool, Jiankou-Mutianyu

Come for a 9-day romp through the Great Wall and the natural wonders of North China!

Highlights:

  • Experience both the classic Great Wall hikes plus the rugged and photogenic Jiankou-Mutianyu
  • Explore local villages, giving you a better sense of China than Beijing ever could
  • View the exquisite natural splendor of the Beijing countryside that most western tourists miss
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off service included in the tour
  • 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 Capital International Airport and drive you to a conveniently located 4 star hotel in central Beijing. At 7pm, our guide will give you a briefing on the tour ahead, and the rest of the night is up to your discretion.

Beijing-Gubeikou-Jinshanling (L+D, 10km/6miles, 4-5 hours)

Our English-speaking guide will meet you at your hotel between 7:30-8am, and from there we will drive by private minivan to 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.

After walking on Gubeikou we will cross over to Jinshanling. It has five main passes and 67 watchtowers. Every 100 meters (328 feet), there is an enemy tower each of which is about ten meters (33 feet) high. Featuring various structures and having various functions, those watchtowers are either one tiered or two-tiered. On the first floor there are some windows for shooting arrows. The roofs of the towers are many and varied, flat, arched, quadrangular or octagonal. Some are used to store weapons and hay. Others are used as soldiers' bedrooms. Among them, the most celebrated are the Big and Small Jinshan Watchtowers.

After hiking for a bit we will conclude for the day at around 4 and head to a local hotel. Dinner will be either at the hotel or at a local farmers restaurant.

Jinshanling-Simatai (B+L+D, 10km/6miles, 4-5 hours)

After waking up at 7:30am, we will have breakfast, and then drive to resume our hike on Jinshanling. This is the classic Great Wall hike that most Great Wall enthusiasts have done. While Jinshanling in the west is mostly restored with grand watchtowers, as we head east the wall will start to gradually deteriorate, making the hike progressively more challenging, but also interesting to observe and compare. Soon we will cross over into Simatai, where there is the choice to either walk back to the lodge or take a zip wire - great fun but wait until you see it to make your choice!

The Simatai Great Wall is celebrated for its steepness. The Simatai Great Wall is divided into eastern and western parts by a lake, named the Mandarin Duck Lake, which is fed by two springs. One is warm, and the other is cold. Even in winter, the surface of the lake will never ice up. Tomorrow, we will have much more time to explore it.

Simatai-Guanfang Village (B+L+D, 10km/ 6 miles, 5-6 hours)

Starting our hike on Simatai, you will have some amazing opportunities to take some photos of true “Wild Wall”. The hike today will include mostly the eastern portion of Simatai, The eastern part of the Great Wall here has 15 watchtowers and was constructed on the steep ridge of the mountain. It looks like a winding dragon jumping out of the lake. There, tourists can appreciate the Stairway to Heaven, the Fairy Tower, the Heaven Bridge and the Wangjinglou Tower.

In order to reach the Fairy Tower, tourists must climb the 85-degree slope Stairway to Heaven, which is about 100 meters (328 feet) long and allows only one person to pass. Legend has it that the Fairy Tower was transformed from an antelope and that once the Lotus Flower Fairy lived there, hence its name. On the tower, there are some marble arches carved with lotus patterns.

With a height of about 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) above sea level, the Wangjinglou Tower is built on the highest part of the Great Wall. Between the Fairy Tower and the Wangjinglou is the Heaven Bridge, built across a deep abyss. Standing on the Wangjinglou Tower one can see the outline of Beijing City.

After hiking through Simatai, we will make our way through the local village of Guanfang. This evening you we will drive (approx 1.5hrs) to your new lodge in Wuzoulou - where you will be met by the sound of the Beatles (the band not bugs!) and enjoy a hearty dinner.

Wuzolou Mountain (B+L+D, 1.5 hours)

Today you climb Wuzoulou Mountain - this is the last part of the Wall area built in the Ming Dynasty. It is a fantastic day of completely different terrain, trekking through the trees and mud, rather than on the wall and steps.

You will have lunch at the top by the watchtowers and then start our descent down a winding, more exposed route back to the lodge. Our trek starts from 300m so you will climb approx 700m today. Tonight rest those weary legs and celebrate your achievements with another fantastic Chinese banquet.

Black Dragon Pool (B+L+D, 8km/5 miles, 4-5 hours)

After breakfast we will head for the Black Dragon Pool Park. Today’s trek begins on local trails as you ascend to the other side of the mountain. This section starts gently but there is loose rubble and rocks underfoot. The trail narrows as you ascend to the plateau at the top of the gorge and then down into the main Black Dragon Pool Park. After a leisurely lunch you continue through this beautiful national park walking over rock pools, across bridges and past waterfalls. This afternoon is mainly easy underfoot as you walk back to the main entrance/exit where the coach will be waiting to transfer you to your next lodging.

Jiankou-Mutianyu-Beijing (B+L+D, 10km/6 miles/ 4-5 hours)

After waking up and having breakfast, we will drive to start our final day of hiking, starting at Jianou. 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. Your stay will be in a 4 star hotel located in the heart of Beijing.

Beijing-free day

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.

Free royal foot massage is provided today. Relax and have a good rest!

Exit Beijing

We will drive you to the airport for your flight to your next destination, thus ending your tour with us.