Great Wall one-day hikes

Map_of_the_Great_Wall_of_China

 

For expatriates living in Beijing or tourists visiting the Chinese capital, hiking the Great Wall of China 长城 is a MUST. The Great Wall is actually made of sections built during different Chinese dynasties, all forming an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect their Empire against the invasions.

Today, some sections have disappeared, some other have been preserved and even extensively renovated, and still some are quite authentic. Around Beijing, we find most Ming sections, the newer and most impressive ones.  

 

Sections:

  • Badaling 八达岭
    • badalingOne of the most touristic section. Advice: not the best part but, near Beijing and easy to reach (car / train / bus).
    • Restored.
    • Cable car.
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: 70 kilometers
    • How to get there?
      • by car: G6, exit Badaling.
      • By Bus No. 877 / 880 / 919, departure from Deshengmen Bus Station (North of Deshengmen Arrow Tower (德胜们箭楼)) or tourist buses (Tourist bus No. 1 from Qianmen, Tourist bus No. 2 from Beijing Train Station, Tourist bus No. 3 from East Bridge, Tourist bus No. 4 from Xizhimen)
      • By train: S trains from Beijing North Railway Station to Badaling Railway Station
    • Entrance fee: CNY 45 (Apr. 1 to Oct.31); CNY 40 (Nov.1 to Mar.31)

 

  • Juyongguan 居庸关
    • Juyong passMa Temple (马神庙), Biaozhongci temple (表忠祠), Cloud Platform (Yù guān tiānqiàn 玉关天堑)…
    • Restored.
    • Website of the tourism office: http://www.juyongguan.com
    • Address: 北京市昌平区南口镇居庸关长城管理处
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: 50 kilometers (closest section of the wall from Beijing)
    • How to get there?
      • by car: G6, exit Juyongguan Great Wall 居庸关长城景区出口
      • by bus: Bus 345 from Dengshengmen 德胜门
    • Entrance fee: 45 RMB / person (summer) – 40 RMB / person (winter)

 

  • Xishuiyu 西水峪 (near Huanghuacheng)
    • huanghuachengAddress: 北京市怀柔县九渡河镇西水峪村
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: about 85 kilometers
    • How to get there? 
      • by car
      • by bus: bus 916 from Dongzhimen 东直门 to Huairou 怀柔, then Huanghuacheng 黄花城, then minibus to xī shuǐ yù 西水峪

 

  • Huanghuacheng 黄花城 or The “Lakeside Great Wall”

    • huangchengBeautiful scenery, besides the magnificent portion of the Great Wall in the water (Shuǐzhōng chángchéng 水中长城) and the Ming portion of the Great Wall (Míng chángchéng 明长城), check the Black Dragon pool (Hēi lóngtán 黑龙潭), Springs (Shānquán 山泉), Jasper lake (Bìyù tán 碧玉潭), Qing hope Valley (Qīng líng gǔ 清灵谷), the Sandy beach (Shātān 沙滩), the Ming dynasty Chestnut Park (Míngdài bǎnlì yuán 明代板栗园), the winding cliff (Pánshān zhàndào 盘山栈道), the lake peninsula (Hú xīn bàndǎo 湖心半岛), the great reservoir Dam (Dà kù dà bà 大库大坝),  Haoming lake (Hào mínghú 灏明湖)… 
    • Official website : http://www.huanghuacheng.com/index.php
    • Address: 北京市怀柔区九渡河镇西水峪村 (Jiuduhe Town, Huairou District) 
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: 70 kilometers
    • How to get there?  Beijing-Chengde Highway — Get off the Highway at Beitai Road (exit 12)
    • Entrance fee: 45 RMB / person

 

  • Longquanyu 龙泉峪长城
    • Longquan yuLocated about 20 km North of Ming Tombs, it takes 2 hours by car / bus to go there. Hike is about 10 km. 
    • How to get there?
      • By car: 京藏高速公路、昌赤路 Beijing Tibet expressway (North of Beijing, about 75 km, 2 hours)
      • By bus / public transportation:  Metro Line 13  to Xierqi  subway line Changping to Changping  (exit D)   ​​Bus 925 
    • Entrance fee: 45 RMB / person

 

  • Jiankou 箭扣
    • Jinkou3Between the Mutianyu – ten kilometers to the east – and the Moshikou. 28 towers on 20 kilometers. Scenic spots: “Sky Stairs”,  “The Eagles Flies Facing Upward”, Zhengbeilou Tower, Beijing Knot (connection with Huanghuacheng)
    • Never restored.
    • Address:怀柔区西栅子村(近箭扣长城) (Xizhazicun, Huairou district)
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: About 70 kilometers
    • Popular hike: Jiankou /Zhengbeilou to Mutianyu- 4 hours.
    • Entrance fee: 20 RMB / person

 

  • Mutianyu 慕田峪
    • mutianyuOfficial websitehttp://www.mutianyugreatwall.com/
    • Restored. One of the most touristic section, fully equipped resort (check map below).
    • Cable car.
    • How to get there?
      • 1.5 hour drive from Beijing: take Jingcheng expressway, exit 13
      • Bus: Bus from Dongzhimen No. 916 or 936 to Huairou (then change for mini bus to the Great Wall) or No. 867 to Hongluosi 
    • Entrance fee: 60 yuan / person + 15 RMB to take a shuttle bus from the touristic village to the Great Wall.

mutianyu2

 

  • Baimaguan 白马关
    • BaimaguanLocated in Miyun county, in Baimaguan Village (白马关村), 4km South of Fanzipai town (番字牌乡), about 20 km south to Miyun Reservoir.
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: About 120 kilometers
    • How to get there?
      • By Bus: Bus No. 980 to Miyun County, then transfer to a local bus to reach the Great Wall. 
      • By train: take train to Miyun then transfer to local bus or taxi.
      • By car: about 2 hours drive. Follow Chengde Expressway 进入密关路 to Miyun.
    • Entrance fee: 20 RMB / person 

 

  • Gubeikou 古北口
    • gubeikou-great-wall02Miyun county. There is a 10-15 km hike to Jinshanling from Gubeikou. This section is not yet very touristic (probably because there is (not yet) train or bus directly to there). One of my favorite section! 
    • Official website: http://www.gubeikoucun.com/
    • How to get there?
      • By car: Take G101, exit at gubeikou. 140 km drive, 2 hours. 
    • Entrance fee: 25 RMB / person

 

  • Jinshanling 金山岭
    • jinshanling great wall2Jinshanling section is about 10.5 km, between Longyu Pass (West) and Wangjing Tower (East). It is actually located between Gubeikou and Simatai sections. This section includes over 30 watch tower. Different hikes are possible (shorter / longer). Check the official website.
    • Partially renovated.
    • Official websitehttp://www.jslcc.com/en/index.php
    • Address: China, Hebei, Chengde, Luanping, 金山岭长城风景区
    • Cable car (40 RMB) from Small Jinshan Tower (小金山楼 Xiǎo jīnshān lóu)
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: About 150 km from Beijing.
    • How to get there?
      • By car: Over 2 hours drive. Take G45大广高速/S11京承高速/G45/S11
      • By bus: from Wangjing West (城铁望京西站) subway station, there is a bus going directly to Jinshanling.
    • Entrance fee: 65元 from March to November, 55元 from November to March)

 

  • Simatai 司马台 and Gubeishuizhen 古北水镇 (down Simatai Great Wall section).
    • gubeishuizhenNorth of Miyun county. The 5,4 km hike on the Great Wall Simatai section includes 10 towers. It is not possible anymore to hike from Simatai to Jinshanling. Scout Real Estate team went there scouting for you. Check our article! 
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: About 120 kilometers
    • Official website:
    • Cable car to Simatai Great Wall from Gubeishuizhen (160 RMB for round trip).
    • How to get there? 
      • By bus: Bus No. 980 from Dongzhimen to Miyun, then transfer to bus Mi 37 or Mi 50 or Mi 51.
      • By car: Take Jingcheng Expressway and take exit 24. More than 2 hours drive.
    • Entrance fee: to Gubeishuizhen (Gubei water town) is 150 RMB and access to Simatai Great Wall is 40 RMB (You need to book your ticket by phone one day in advance and YOU NEED TO BRING YOUR PASSPORT!)

 

  • Jiangjunguan 将军关
    • 将军关Northeast of Pinggu district. Jingjunguan is a very nice and traditional village
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: About 100 kilometers
    • How to get there?
      • By car: About 1.5 hours drive via S32京平高速/S32
      • By bus: Bus No. 918 from Dongzhimen to Pinggu City, then take small bus to Jiangjun village.
    • Entrance fee: 25 RMB / person.

 

  • Huangyaguan 黄崖关
    • huangyaguanLocated  in the north of Ji County. It’s about 130 km North of Tianjin.
    • Official websitehttp://www.huangyaguan.net/
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: About 110 kilometers
    • How to get there? 
      • By car:
        • Follow Airport Expressway (Jīchǎng gāosù) S12 机场高速/S12 and Jīngpíng gāosù S32 京平高速/S32 to Běibù huòyùn tōngdào 北部货运通道 in Pinggu district 平谷区.
        • Take exit Běibù huòyùn tōngdào/xià gè zhuāng 北部货运通道/夏各庄 from Jīngpíng gāosù S32京平高速/S32.
        • Then Shùn píng lù 顺平路 and Mǎ píng xiàn 马平线 to Shěng dào/jīn wéi gōnglù 101省道/津围公路/S101 in Tiānjīn shì jìxiàn 天津市蓟县.
      • By bus:  Take a bus from Sihui Long Distance Bus Station (四惠长途汽车站) to Jixian County (about 2 hours). Then take a taxi from Jixian to Huangyaguan (50 RMB, about 1 hour).
      • By train:  Take a train from Beijing East Railway Station to Jixian County Railway Station. Then take a taxi.
    • Entrance fee: 50 RMB 

 

  • Xiangshuihu 响水湖长城
    • xiangshuihuAddress: Dazhenyu Village, Bohai Township, Huairou District (北京市怀柔区响水湖长城旅游风景区)
    • Official websitehttp://www.bjxshcc.com/
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: About 80 kilometers
    • How to get there? 
      • By bus: Take Express bus line 916 or 916  from Dongzhimen to Huairou North Avenue Station, then line H34 or H51.
      • By car: About 1h15 drive.
        • Take Dà guǎng gāosù G45大广高速/ Jīng chéng gāosù S11京承高速/G45/S11 to Xìng huái dàjiē 兴怀大街 in Huáiróu qū 怀柔区.
        • Take exit G111/ Xìng huái dàjiē/yànqī hú 兴怀大街/Yànqī lake 雁栖湖 from Jīng mì gāosù 京密高速.
        • Then follow Kāifàng lù 开放路 and Fǔ qián dōng jiē 府前东街 to Fǔ qián jiē 府前街.
    • Entrance fee: 32 RMB

 

  • Lupigan 鹿皮关
    • northwestern Lupiguan Pass of the Shicheng Town in MiyunBlack Dragon Pond Scenic Spot: a 220-meter high, 4-kilometer long valley.
    • Address: Shicheng Village, Miyu County (密云县石城乡鹿皮关)
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: About 100 kilometers
    • How to get there?
      • By bus: Take bus No 980, 987, or 970 from Dongzhimen to Miyun District, and then transfer to a special bus ( Mi 62 or Mi 63) toward Shicheng County.
    • Entrance fee: 36 RMB / person

 

  • Laolongtou 老龙头
    • LaolongtouOld dragon head Great Wall section. 5 km South of Shanhaiguan great wall section. Also going into the sea. South of Ninghai city. The Ninghai Fortress area was fully renovated. 
    • Distance from Beijing downtown: about 300 km.
    • Renovated section. 
    • How to get there?
      • By car: ABout 3.5 hours without traffic.
        • Follow Jīng hā gāosù/jīng chén gāosù G1京哈高速/京沈高速/G1 to Dōnggǎng běi lù 东港北路 in Qínhuángdǎo shì hǎigǎng qū 秦皇岛市海港区.
        • Take exit Qínhuángdǎo dōng/shānhǎiguān S024/秦皇岛东/山海关 from Jīng hā gāosù/jīng chén gāosù G1京哈高速/京沈高速/G1.
        • Then take Guódào/yàn sāi dàdào 102国道/燕塞大道/G102 to Shěng dào/lǎo lóngtóu lù 266省道/老龙头路/S266 in Shānhǎiguān qū 山海关区.
      • By train:  Take train from Beijing to Shanhaiguan Railway Station. Then bus No.25.
    • Entrance fee: 60 RMB

 

  • Shanhaiguan 山海关
    • shanhaiguanLocated at 15 km from Qinhuangdao in Hebei province. This is the section where the Great Wall goes into the sea. Interesting sections around Shanhaiguan include Old Dragon Head (老龙头), First Pass under Heaven (天下第一关), (East of the Drum Tower in the center of the old town), Five Buddha Park /Jiao Shan (角山) (2-3 km north of the north gate), 
    • Includes fortress, all renovated.
    • How to get there?
      • By train: 4 hours by regular train from Beijing or 2 hours by express train (D train). Take train to Shanhaiguan Railway Station
      • By Bus: Bus No. 25 or no. 33 to Qinhuangdao
      • By car: Drive through S1 Expressway (京哈高速公路) to Qinhuangdao. It takes about 3.5 hours (300 km).
    • Entrance fee: May to October: CNY 50 / November to April: CNY 15

 

Official Beijing Sightseeing Buses to the Great Wall

Tourist buses are a special public service for tourists to access directly to scenic spots. It is a government-run company and it provides one-day tour package services. You have 2 buses stations in Beijing: Tiananmen Square and Xuanwu Gate (Xuan Wu Men). Tourists using those buses will not get into trouble with illegal one-day tour package runners. 
Phone: 8353-1111
Website: http://www.bjlyjszx.com/

  • Route (A):
    • Destination: Badaling, Ming Tombs
    • Departure: Qianmen Bus Center (south of Tiananmen Square, Exit C of Qianmen Subway Station)
    • Hours: 06:30 -10:30 (April 1 to Oct. 15)  / 07:00 – 10:30 (Oct. 16 – Mar. 31)
    • Cost of the package: 190 RMB, including admission fee and round trip
  • Route (B):
    • Destination: Badaling Great wall, summer Palace
    • Departure: Qianmen Bus Center (south of Tiananmen Square, Exit C of Qianmen Subway Station)
    • Hours: 09:30
    • Cost of the package: 180 RMB, including admission fee and round trip
  • Route (C):
    • Destination: Badaling Great Wall
    • Departure: Qianmen Bus Center (south of Tiananmen Square, Exit C of Qianmen Subway Station)
    • Hours:06:30-11:00 (April 1 to Oct. 15)  / 09:00 – 10:30 (Oct. 16 – Mar. 31)
    • Cost of the package: 100 RMB, including admission fee and round trip
  • To Mutianyu Great Wall
    • Departure: Xuanwumen (Exit B of Xuanwumen Subway Station)
    • Hours: 08:30
    • Cost: CNY 95  including admission fees and round trip
  • To Huanghuacheng Great Wall
    • Departure: Xuanwumen (Exit B of Xuanwumen Subway Station)
    • Hours: 08:30
    • Cost: CNY 94  including admission fees and round trip

 

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Organisations offering Great Wall hikes & tours:

Mike, a blogger sharing tips and information for independent travellers, doesn’t really suggest to sign for an organised tour, as it is more expensive than paying for a public bus or even a private car or taxi and the risk of being trapped in a scam (getting to the wrong place, ending paying more for less. We are sharing here a selection of safe options if you prefer not to go by yourself! 

  • Beijing Sideways: Beijing Sideways is offering sidecar tours from Beijing city center. Unique experience. Try ou their “1 Day Wild Great Wall sidecar tour”: you will spend a wonderful day riding mountains, hiking on the Great Wall without tourists and enjoy a delicious lunch on the Great Wall.

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  • China Horizon Travel
    • China Horizon Travel is part of the French Connection, and SCOUT can only recommend you this travel agency for a Great Wall tour (and other destinations in China and Asia).
    • Website: http://www.chinahorizontravel.com/
    • Mobile: +8618811052299 or +8613910237299
    • Email:  info@chinahorizontravel.com
  • Pekin Accueil, a French association helping the integration of French speaking people in Beijing, organises once a month a hike around Beijing
  • Beijing Hikers: they organise hikes around Beijing, including hikes on the Great Wall http://www.beijinghikers.com/

 

Sources

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0510/features/hiking_great_wall.html

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About Marketing

I am living in China since 2007. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!