Great Wall Hiking from Huangyaguan Great Wall to East Qing Tomb
- This is a relatively easy hike that almost anyone can do.
- This hike also includes a visit to the often overlooked East Qing Tombs (Qing Dong Ling).
- The Huangyaguan section is designed to be a composite of the entire Great Wall of China, so you will learn much about the Great Wall’s function and design.
While this hike will be a bit long, it will easily be the highlight of your time in China. For those of you who feel the need to stretch their legs after being cooped up in an office in Beijing (or wherever you may be from), this is the perfect opportunity to get some exercise and adventure, while also having loads of fun!
Because everyone one of us have different abilities and limits when it comes to hiking, we offer 3 levels of difficulty that will better suit your needs while getting the most out of your Great Wall experience.
Please note while this hike is not overly difficult, there are some points where the hike gets a little challenging. The challenges mostly include narrow and small steps, along with at times some very steep climbing. For those of you who have knee or lower leg problems, you might want to consider the leisurely and first-time hiker level. If you are under the age of 8 or over the age of 70, you should also strongly consider the leisurely and first-time hiker level.
Picking you up from your hotel, we will make the drive to the Huangyaguan section of the Great Wall. Huangyaguan is about a 3-hour drive from the Beijing city center. Huangyaguan Pass of Great Wall was first built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550 - 557) and repaired in large scale with bricks during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). When appointed as the chief commanding officer in the Ji Garrison (one of the eleven garrisons of the Ming Dynasty), Qi Jiguang added watchtowers and other defensive works.
It is designed as a miniature of the entire Great Wall of China, thereby allowing you get an understanding of the entire wall in a fraction of the time. The entire section is built on an abrupt mountain ridge. Being endowed with both natural beauty and cultural interest, it has become famous as a natural beauty spot and a summer resort. The major scenic area is composed of Huangyaguan Pass and Taiping Mountain Stronghold. Starting from a tiny village near the wall, we will take our time exploring eastward the wall’s terrain.
After about an hour’s walk we will reach a peak overlooking the valley below. Form the peak we can also see the Huangyaguan Fortress, which was restored in 1984. From this vantage point, we will be able to see its Baguan pattern, a specially designed labyrinth designed to confuse and entrap the enemy. We will then walk down to the fortress for a fascinating and informative visit inside.
After a lunch near the fortress, we will make our way to the East Qing Tombs, spending the afternoon there. The Eastern Qing Tombs, often overshadowed in popularity by the Ming Tombs, is a sacred burial ground near Beijing, is one of the two tomb areas devoted to the emperors, empresses and imperial concubines of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911, the last feudal empire in China).The other is the Western Qing Tombs.
The Eastern Qing Tombs, which is among the finest, best-preserved and largest of the extant tomb complexes in China, is located along Changrui Mountain in the west of Malanyu Town, Zunhua County, Hebei Province. Along the south side of Changrui Mountain, the tombs of five emperors, four empresses, five imperial concubines, and one princess are arrayed based on the traditional concept of placing the most senior and most distinguished in the center.
Of all the tombs, Xiaoling is the biggest and most elaborate, standing as the focal point of the entire structure. The grandeur of thistomb may be attributed to its having been the first sepulcher constructed for a member of the royal family of the Qing Dynasty, so the builders hoped to set the tone for a prosperous future. Crossing through the Great Red Gate, you can see buildings of different sizes, all with roofs of yellow glazed tile, connected by the brick paths or 'sacred ways' that converge in the area of Xiaoling.
An example of the most exquisite architecture of the Eastern Qing Tombs is Dingdongling, the tomb of Empress Dowager Cixi . Although she handled affairs of state for more than 45 years, she never ascended the throne. (The only female ruler in Chinese history was Empress Wu Zetian in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Elaborate and highly refined decorations and carvings inside Dingdongling make it unique among the tombs of the Qing Dynasty. The main material used in the tomb, which took six years to build, was gold, the symbol of royal family.
After exploring the East Qing Tombs, we will meet our driver in the parking lot, who will take you back to your hotel in time for supper.
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!