Old Dragon’s Head-Shanhaiguan-Sandaoguan-Jiaoshan-Jiumenkou Three-Day Hike

Route 3D : Three-day Great Wall Hiking Tour on Great Wall Take a trip through the eastern-most reaches of the Great Wall!


  • You will visit sections of the Great Wall that are often missed by western tourists, so you will see why they are one of China’s best kept secrets!
  • Explore the Great Wall from its easternmost point and then continue westward back to Beijing
  • Take part in a epic Great Wall voyage that will show you more than just the usual stop at Badaling
Stuff you should bring with you:
  • Tough hiking boots, sunscreen and sunglasses, and water
  • Backpack, and snacks or energy/protein supplements you want to have before lunch
  • Extra cash for driver/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-Old Dragon’s Head-Shanhaiguan (L+D, 3km/1.8miles, 1.5 hours)

We will meet you at your hotel in the morning between 7:30-8am, and from there we will make the 4 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. We will start our hike at Old Dragon’s head, also known as Laolongtou. Laolongtou is the most eastern beginning 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.

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”. The “First Pass under Heaven” is actually the east tower of the Shanhai Pass, called Zhendong Tower. It is 13.7 meters (44.95 feet) high with two floors. On the tower is a big board on which there are five huge Chinese characters 'tian xia di yi guan' (the ‘First Pass under Heaven”) inscribed by a calligrapher in the Ming Dynasty. 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 lofty Great Wall. Furthermore, the Jingbian Tower, Linlu Tower, Muying Tower and Weiyuantang Hall stand on the same axis with the Zhendong Tower. Depending on the complex geographic conditions, these five buildings provided a strong protective screen. We will then enter the Shanhaiguan Great Wall Museum, where we will learn about the history and military strategy of this section of wall, as well as see a display of military relics.

We will then make our way to our hotel for the evening, which is a short distance from the wall.

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

After waking up and having breakfast, we will pick up where we left of yesterday, and head towards Jiaoshan. Located at about 3km/2 miles from Shanhaiguan is the Jiaoshan Great Wall, and this will be our next stop. Like Jinshanling, the wall here is divided into restored and unrestored sections. We will start today from the restored section and pick off tomorrow on the unrestored section. The repaired section of Jiaoshan Great Wall starts from no.10 watchtower and ends at the No.3 watchtower. The gate of the wall is an imitation of the architectural style of the Ming Dynasty. Its appearance is very much like the Chinese character "\q". Measuring about 1.5 km (.9 miles), the whole journey is a 40-minute walk, the external side of the wall is precipitous, while the internal side is low and convenient for climbing.

Unlike the newly restored wall, Jiaoshan ancient wall provides you a sense of historical vicissitude. Walking on the dilapidated wall is a great challenge. The wall appears more and more crumbled and deformed as you forge ahead. In some sections, the wall is only built on one side, with the other side being the deep cliffs. In some sections, the mountain ridge is functioned as the wall, which is called by experts "mountain-supported wall". Watch your steps when you enter this zone. After a one-hour's difficult climb, you will arrive at Dapingding Peak, the main peak of Jiaoshan Mountain. You will get a panoramic view of the Changshou (Longevity) Mountain Scenic Area. To the south, you can see the full shot of Jiaoshan Great Wall and Shanhaiguan City, if weather permits, Laolongtou Great Wall and Bohai Sea can also be vividly recognized afar.

Jiaoshan Ancient Wall turns east from Dapingding Peak. It first noses down the eastern slope of Dapingding Peak, climbs over Liumianding Mountain and then arrives at Sandaoguan Pass, which is actually a twin watchtower. The travel from Dapingding Peak to Sandaoguan Pass takes about one hour, and also, it is a thorny track which is difficult to reach. You will have entered Changshou Mountain Scenic Area from Jiaoshan Great Wall at the end of this trekking.

It is no exaggeration to say Sandaoguan Great Wall is one of the most wondrous segments of the Great Wall. Amazingly, some segments of the wall here were built on cliffs at a 90-degree incline. It appropriately earned the nickname "The Wall Hanging Upside Down”.

After exploring Sandaoguan, we will head to our hotel for the evening, taking in a provincial-style dinner to replenish you for the final day of our trek.

Jiumenkou-Huangtuying-Beijing (B+L, 10km/6 miles, 4-5 hours)

After waking up for breakfast, we will drive to the Great Wall at Jiumenkou. The southern end of the wall here starts from lofty mountains, connecting to the section of the wall running from Shanhaiguan Pass. It climbs along the mountain ridge till finally arriving at the banks of Jiujiang River. The wide river doesn't stop the wall's resolute pace forward. A huge wall bridge stretches over the river, forcing its way to the north.

The most significant part, and the one we will see, is the section above the river. Seven hundred thousand hectares of rectangular stone slabs are embedded on the bed of the Jiujiang River, and the stones are held down by iron chain, which creates a historically famous sight of white stones. Nine arches standing above the stones serves as sluiceways, hence, the wall is called 'Jiumenkou', 'Nine Gateways' in English. The wall bridge is constructed over the arches connecting the two banks of the Jiujiang River. Two walled cities, both used as fortresses, are erected at both ends of the wall.

We will then come upon a village named Huangtuying to visit the ruins of a fortress. We can chat with the villagers, who are the descendants of the builders and guards of the Great Wall. We will then drive back to Beijing, dropping you off at your hotel, with your hike coming to an end.