Gubeikou-Jinshanling-Panlongshan: Great Wall Two-Day Hike and Camping

Route 2G : Two-day Great Wall Hiking Tour on Great Wall

Highlights:

  • The Gubeikou-Jinshanling trek is an excellent hike for Great Wall enthusiasts, and you’ll also get to trek on the largely unknown section of Panlongshan, one of the most strategically important and ruggedly beautiful of any section of the Great Wall.
  • On this hike you will get the best of both Great Wall worlds, both majestically restored wall, as well as wild and dramatic unrestored “Wild Wall”, making the hike much more interesting than just a day trip to Badaling.
  • All major camping equipment and meals are provided, and you’re professional English-speaking guide will ensure you a stress-free and fun hike.

Stuff to bring on your trip:

  • Tough hiking boots, sunscreen and sunglasses, and water
  • Backpack, and snacks or energy/protein supplements you want to have before lunch
  • Extra cash for drive/guide tips along with money for either cable car or toboggan ride
  • Don’t forget your camera!

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

Day-by-day Hiking Itinerary

Beijing-Gubeikou-Jinshanling (L, D, 10km/5 hours of hiking)

Your guide will meet you at your hotel between 7:30-8:00am, and by private minivan we will head to the Great Wall at Gubeikou to start our hike. 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. Much of the hiking that we will do on Jinshanling today is relatively easy, as much of the wall here is restored and the surface smooth. Jinshanling 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. Among them, the most celebrated are the Big and Small Jinshan Watchtowers. The Wangjinglou Tower, the General Tower, the Black Tower and the Taochun Tower are also must-sees on the Jinshanling Great Wall. Each tower has its legend. Legend has it that the stone bars used to build the Wangjinglou Tower were carried to the mountaintop by Er Lang Shen, the nephew of the Jade Emperor. The general tower was named to commemorate Wu Guihua, a heroine who sacrificed herself to resist northern invader's invasion in the Ming Dynasty. The Black Tower and the Taochun Tower were christened to commemorate two girls, Heigu and Taochun, who made great contributions to the construction of the Great Wall.

We will stay in a local hotel near the wall or, if the weather is nice, we will camp in a Jinshanling watch tower!

Jianshanling-Panlongshan-Beijing (B, L, 8km/5 hours of hiking)

After waking up at 7:30am, we will wake to watch the magnificent sunrise come over the Great Wall. We will have breakfast,and then we will resume our hike on Jinshanling. 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.

After our time hiking on Jinshanling we’ll get in the car and make the quick drive to the Great Wall at Panlongshan, where we will resume our trekking. Panlongshan is a great place to hike the Great Wall. The climbing is challenging in places but the level of hiking is reasonable for the Great Wall. The architecture is interesting, the defense security features are unique, and scenery is excellent. In ancient times, both warring parties placed emphasis on securing the Panlongshan Great Wall, because each knew that once the wall was captured, the Gubeikou Great Wall would be readily occupied. Of its over 40 watch towers, the General Tower is the most famous. It is located at the commanding elevation of Panlongshan Mountain, from where wars were directed. There are four arrow windows on the north and south sides respectively, while each of the east and west sides has three arrow windows. This section of the wall is of unique construction: it is made up of earth walls, stone walls and brick walls. And it is also preserved in its original state.

After about 2-3 hours of hiking at Panlongshan we’ll again meet up with our van and you’ll be taken back to Beijing, where you will be dropped off at your hotel.