One Day Great Wall Hiking Tour from Lianhuachi to Mutianyu

Highlights:

  • This is a challenging walk but the whole family can do! Lianhuachi is a completely unrestored and wild part of the Great Wall! The Mutianyu Great Wall is restored, but not nearly as touristy as Badaling, making for a pleasant stroll on the wall.
  • The 2008 Summer Olympics brought Beijing (and all of China) to the forefront of the world, and cemented the country as one of the world’s new superpowers. This tour will show you the monumental sights of new Beijing’s crowning achievement, such as the Bird’s Nest Stadium and the spectacular Water Cube.
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off are included.

Trip Overview:

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.

Lianhuachi is a great place for a wild Great Wall hike. You will not find many people here on the wall, allowing you to spend some quality time with the Great Wall while giving you the space to roam and take your time. To the east of the road, the Great Wall at Lianhuachi is constructed from stone. To the west, it's constructed from brick. In one word, this is the original unrestored Great Wall, and it is this wild section of the Great Wall that we will be hiking. Hiking to the east, you can reach Shentangyu. This hike takes the better part of a day. Hiking to the west, you will reach Mutianyu in just a few hours. If you want more wild Great Wall hiking once you reach the beginning of the restored Great Wall at Mutianyu, you can go south (left) and explore the spur wall. Of course, you can also do an out-and-back hike in either direction, or both.

Lianhuachi was known as Qian Jiankou (Front Jiankou) during the time that the Great Wall was built in the Ming Dynasty. Today, in addition to the Great Wall, many restaurants and mountain villas make it a popular tourist destination. In fact, most people that come here barely even take notice of the Great Wall. Lianhuachi Great Wall is connected with the Mutianyu Great Wall, which was built with massive stones during the Ming Dynasty. Although it is an unrestored section of the Great Wall, you are able to clearly see the appearance, shape and contour of the wall.

This section of the wall is magnificent in terms of scenery. Vegetation and fruit trees are abundant along with the wall, while the beauty in spring and autumn is breathtaking.

The Mutianyu Great Wall is a masterpiece of restoration, with 22 original watchtowers. It is one of the most recognizable portions of the Great Wall, as many world leaders come here during their China visit (such as U.S. Presidents Clinton and Obama). Mutianyu means “Admire fields valley” in Chinese, and is the longest fully restored section of the Great wall open to the public. On our hike, if you look to the left, you will see a message engraved into the mountain encouraging you to “Cherish the teachings of Chairman Mao”. You will marvel at how the wall here winds through the mountain scenery. The walking here is simple, and you will avoid the crowds that converge on Badaling.

Toboggan Run at Mutianyu (extra for RMB50)

You'll surely be intrigued about taking the toboggan down from Great Wall to the entrance gate down the hill. You can ride as fast or as slow as you want. However, it is also a driving test. One person to a toboggan, you have a little handle with which you press down to go faster and pull up to stop. But if you are not intentionally pushing it, it will slow down anyway. "It is funny when we Westerners are on there, because we like to go a bit quicker than the Chinese (read a lot quicker) and you hear the shrill voices of locals shouting "brake! brake! Slow down!" It is hilarious. Go on it even if it is just to hear that." --taylorstonebridge on LonelyPlanet

People at age 70 have managed the riding successfully. Can you?

Many hikers wanted us to stop by the Olympic Green on the way back to Beijing to take pictures of the famous Bird's Nest and the Olympic Green, the center of the event that captivated the world for two weeks in August of 2008, and is where a majority of the Olympic events took place. Before our visit to the Olympic Green, we'll have a much needed period of rest and relaxation while also learning about one of China's most famous and renowned exports. At a famous teahouse located near the Olympic Green you'll have the opportunity to try the best tea in all of China, and at the same time you'll learn about China’s fascinating teahouse culture. At the teahouse you will learn about the intricacies of a Chinese tea ceremony, while also participating in a demo ceremony. After the demo, you have the option to shop for teas or tea cups, and you can also have a tour of the small Chinese Tea Culture Museum located inside.

After teatime, we'll go to the Olympic Green. The highlights that you will see today include the Bird’s Nest (officially known as the Beijing National stadium) and the Water Cube (the Beijing National Aquatics Center). The stadium gets its nickname from its outward design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implementing steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof, thus giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's nest". The Bird’s Nest hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletic events, and football final of the 2008 Summer Olympics, from 8 August to 24 August 2008. Since the Olympics' end, the Bird’s Nest has been used to host events ranging from opera to a ski park.

At about 5 pm, we'll send you back to your hotel or drop you to a location for your own dinner. If you want us to recommend you a nice Chinese restaurant, please ask your guide.

Stuff to bring on your hike
  • Tough athletic shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, and water
  • Backpack, and snacks or energy/protein supplements you want to have before lunch
  • Extra cash for driver/guide tips, and cable car
  • Don’t forget your camera!