The Ultimate Guide to Hiking China’s Great Wall: How to Get Off the Beaten Path and Avoid the Crowds

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info. 

Deciding on the perfect section of the Great Wall to hike can be hard. How do you avoid the crowds? What’s the best way to get there? Which area should I hike to get the perfect photo?

Well, as someone who has hiked NINE different sections of the Great Wall (some more than once), I’ve become a bit of an expert. 

Here is my ultimate guide to hiking China’s Great Wall, so you can make the most out of your trip!

Want to hike the great wall off the beaten path and avoid the crowds in China? Here's the ultimate guide to China's Great Wall sections for your next Beijing trip! #China #greatwall #beijing #Hiking #travel

Pin Me!

The Great Wall is More Than One Wall!

Most people think of the Great Wall as one big long wall that extends the full length of China. While small sections of the wall can be found as far West as Gansu province, the actual wall itself is a series of walls, rather than one continuous structure.

Because of this, you’ll need to choose an area or “section” of the Great Wall you’d like to hike. Thankfully, there are so many different options for any sort of traveler, so you’ll definitely find the right fit for you.

Hiking the great wall

Wild wall or refurbished wall?

Which Great Wall Section to Hike

Looking for the perfect section for you? Here’s a list of amazing Great Wall hikes that are officially open to tourists!

I’ve divided the sections between those which are officially open to tourists, the ones that require a bit of sneaking and or climbing to get on!

When it comes to the difficulty rating, I’ve ranked them “Easy”, “Medium” and Hard” which, of course, is open to interpretation. An easy section is one that is very accessible and doesn’t cause a lot of strenuous hiking or climbing. A “medium” section means that you will definitely get a good workout, so come prepared with water and good walking shoes!

The “hard” sections are ones that are pretty strenuous and challenging for the average tourist. None of these sections here require ropes or climbing gear, so if you’re a very experienced hiker and climber, you may find the “hard” hikes to actually be more of a “medium” level experience.

Now that we know the difficulty, let’s get onto the routes!

Grab Your Ultimate China Survival Guide!

Hiking the Great Wall no tourists

Here’s a nice picture of a refurbished section because I refuse to go to Badaling

Hiking Badaling: Very Touristy

By far the most popular section of the Great Wall is Badaling. So… don’t go there? Chances are if you’ve seen photos of an extremely crowded Great Wall, it’s most definitely Badaling.

Badaling is the closest section of the Great Wall to Beijing and is super popular with Chinese tour groups who often visit Badaling in the morning and the Ming Tombs in the afternoon. Badaling is also a Chinese tourist hotspot because this section was the main line of defense between the Mongols and the city of Beijing.

Badaling is definitely built for tourists. There’s a KFC near the entrance, and a “slow roller coaster” you can take to get off the wall if you don’t feel like hiking or taking the cable car down. There’s also a circular cinema, tourist villages, a Great Wall Museum and it’s accessible for those with physical disabilities.

While Badaling is definitely the closest and can be reached by a direct bus, I really don’t recommend visiting this section, unless you’re trying to get photos of a very crowded Great Wall. The amount of hawkers selling things, and tourists pushing and shoving is going to create a pretty sub-par experience in my opinion. Granted, I wouldn’t really know from personal experience because this is one of the only sections of the Grea Wall I HAVEN’T visited.

  • Hiking Time: 3 hours
  • Travel Time From Beijing: 1 hour
  • Admissions Fee: 35-40 RMB ($5-6 USD) + fees for the cable car or slow roller coaster if used
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take Bus 877 from Deshengmen to Badaling (get directions on TravelChinaGuide)
Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu still isn’t easy!

Mutianyu: Accessible and Fun

If you’re looking for a section that’s accessible and not too far from Beijing without all the crowds, Mutianyu is your best bet. Just like Badaling, Mutianyu has a cable car and a toboggan to descend and is accessible to those with disabilities. You can also take a (somewhat) direct bus there too!

Mutianyu is much more beautiful than Badaling and has a fraction of the crowds. I would still avoid Mutianyu on Chinese holidays or summer weekends, but otherwise, you’ll definitely have a great experience with minimal crowds.

Mutianyu is the most popular Great Wall section with foreign visitors for a REASON. If you’re looking for something fun, and accessible with the option of a moderately strenuous hike, Mutianyu is the perfect Great Wall section for your trip.

  • Hiking Time: 3 hours round trip
  • Travel Time From Beijing: 1.5 hours
  • Admissions Fee: 40 RMB ($6 USD) + fees for the cable car or toboggan if used
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy/Medium
  • How to Get There: Take Bus 916 Express from Dongzhimen station, get off at the last station and then take a bus or minivan to Mutianyu (get directions)
Gubeikou great wall

Welcome to Gubeikou!

Gubeikou: Visit an Unrestored Section

If you’re looking to visit an off the beaten path, unrestored section of the Great Wall, you’ll love Gubeikou. On the Gubeikou section, it’s definitely possible to go quite a while without ever running into another person. It also really feels like you’re walking on history with the Great Wall crumbling around you.

Out of all of the sections of Great Wall that are officially open to tourists, Gubeikou is by far my favorite and the section I always recommend.

Compared to other sections of the Great Wall, Gubeikou doesn’t have a ton of very steep sections with lots of steps (yay!), however, the wall does have it’s moments where the trail dirt is a bit slippery (yes, some sections have dirt paths because the wall has crumbled!) so be sure to wear good shoes!

  • Hiking Time: 4 hours
  • Travel Time From Beijing: 2 hours
  • Admissions Fee: 25 RMB ($3.50 USD)
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy/Medium
  • How to Get There: Take the 980 Express from Dongzhimen to Miyuan and then M25 to Gubeikou (get directions on TravelChinaGuide) or a private car!
Lakeside Great Wall

Hello from Huanghuacheng!

Huanghuacheng Lakeside Great Wall: Relaxing and Scenic

If you’re looking for a scenic Great Wall section where you can take beautiful photos, relax with a picnic, and enjoy a nice boat ride, the Lakeside Great Wall is the section for you! While this area can get a bit crowded during Chinese holidays and sunny summer weekends, it’s nowhere near as crowded as Badaling.

If you want a stunning photo of you on the Great Wall next to a sparkling lake while you wear a flowy Instagram dress, THIS is your section. It’s also a great choice if you have young kids (they’ll love the boat ride). Bring a picnic or have a mildly overpriced lunch at the restaurant in the park. You can pay for a boat ride there and back, or hike around the edge of the lake, it’s up to you!

There is one point here where the Great Wall actually descends into the lake (which has a higher water level due to the reservoir nearby), however, of course, they had to ruin its beauty by putting a little mini waterpark RIGHT THERE. Seriously, China??

Note: There are MULTIPLE Huanghuacheng sections, so be sure to tell your driver that you want to go to the official ticket office where you can take a boat ride on the lake. They should know which one you’re talking about. If not, show them the photo above.

  • Hiking Time: 1-4 hours (depending on how much you want to hike) 
  • Travel Time From Beijing: 1 hour
  • Admissions Fee: 45 RMB ($6.50 USD)
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy
  • How to Get There: Hire a driver or get a special tourist bus (open April – October)
Jinshanling

THIS IS CHINAAAA!

Jinshanling to Simatai: CLOSED

This classic adventurous hike from Jinshanling to Simatai West has been closed for the last few years. While some guides are still offering this hike, which now involves sneaking off the wall to get around barriers etc. the entire route is not officially open.

The fact that Jinshanling to Simatai has been closed for YEARS while they refurbish has made me pretty sad since this was the very first section I ever hiked! (Don’t you love my crappy digital camera photo??)

If you’re looking for an off the beaten path adventure hike with beautiful scenery, I’d recommend Gubeikou and Jiankou for now, just because you don’t want to have to be sneaking on and off the wall, especially in a section they’re actively restoring.

**If you do have any information on the wall reopening, please leave me a comment below and I will amend this section!

  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Travel Time From Beijing: 3 hours
  • Admissions Fee: CLOSED
  • Difficulty Rating: Medium/Hard
  • How to Get There: Take a private car

Shanhaiguan: Where the Great Wall Meets the Sea

You know Eastwatch by the Sea from Game of Thrones? That’s basically Shanhaiguan. Known as the “First Pass Under Heaven” Shanhaiguan is the very first stretch of the Great Wall.

This section of the Great Wall is a really cool bucket list item, however, it’s actually nowhere near Beijing! While you can take a high-speed bullet train (check times and prices here) directly to Shanhaiguan, it’s actually much easier to visit from Qingdao!

Because Shanhaiguan is relatively accessible compared to other sections and is very scenic, it’s become super popular with Chinese tourists. Many summer vacationers in Qingdao make a little day trip to see Shanhaiguan and the accompanying museum. So, if you do want to visit Shanhaiguan without crazy crowds, I’d try winter and avoid Chinese holidays.

  • Hiking Time: 1 hour (or longer if you want to hike far and then turn around)
  • Travel Time From Beijing: 2-3 hours
  • Admissions Fee: 15-40 RMB ($3-6 USD) depending on the time of year
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take a high-speed bullet train from Beijing or a train or bus from Qingdao
Great wall off the beaten path

Great Wall off the beaten path!

Secret Great Wall Sections

In addition to all of the official Great Wall sections, there are also some amazing hikes that aren’t technically open to tourists. Most of these sections have you climb a ladder onto the wall, and then pay a villager roughly 5 RMB ($1 USD) for the privilege.

While these sections aren’t officially sanctioned, you’re definitely not going to get in trouble for hiking any of them. Just be careful, and don’t hurt yourself up there!

hiking great wall

Amazing views from the top!

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng: Great Views!

This is where things get a little confusing in Huanghuacheng. In addition to the “Lakeside Great Wall” official Huanghuacheng, there are two other Huanghuacheng hikes. Personally, I recommend heading to the “Walled Village” to hike a small trail through a local village onto the Great Wall. It’s a bit confusing to find the wall, but just remember you will hike UNDER the wall before you can actually get on it. If you get lost, just say “Chang Cheng?” and people should help you.

Once you get up on the wall, you’ll need to hike towards Huanghuacheng Reservoir which is EAST. If you go West towards the large lake, that is a different section.

The hike is partially restored, partially crumbling, which makes for an awesome experience. While the hike itself is short, it’s VERY steep and involves basically climbing up a giant hill, and then back down. Once you reach the top, you’ll have an incredible view of the reservoir below.

After exiting the wall, you’ll probably have a restaurant owner ask you for money (again), so you can either pay her or eat lunch at her restaurant. Personally, I went with the food!

If you want to do a little more hiking and get some more photos, I recommend continuing onto the Huanghuacheng Reservoir.

Note: If your driver drops you off at the reservoir and NOT the town, don’t go to the reservoir. I would recommend crossing the road, asking the restaurants how to get on the wall, pay them, and then hike up to the top of the hill, get your photos, and hike back down (round trip). Then cross the road and visit the reservoir section if you have time.

  • Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
  • Travel Time From Beijing: 1.5 hours
  • Admissions Fee: 5 RMB ($1 USD)
  • Difficulty Rating: Medium
  • How to Get There: Hire a driver OR take the 980 Express from Dongzhimen to Miyuan and hire a driver from there.
huanghuacheng great wall

The Huanghuacheng reservoir!

Old Huanghuacheng Reservoir: Great for Photos and Camping, Not for Hiking

I highly suggest lumping this section in with the Walled Village to Huanghuacheng hike, mainly because it’s not actually a great section for hiking. I accidentally visited this section when looking for the Lakeside Great Wall the first time around, and basically, the wall just goes up and up and up a mountain forever.

That said, it is worth visiting for a few reasons! Firstly, you need to hike over the reservoir bridge, which is pretty cool and makes for some great photos. Then you hike up a trail and alongside the wall until you find a ladder where you can climb up onto the wall.

From here, I recommend taking some beautiful photos of yourself on the wall next to the water, rest, and enjoy the view.

If you want to camp on the Great Wall without getting caught, this is a good section too! When you climb up the ladder, head towards the large reservoir lake and away from the highway (up the mountain). Then just hike until you find a great spot!

Just be aware that many of the towers are filled with trash (and urine) here. Unfortunately, not everyone cares enough about this ancient historic treasure as many of us do.

  • Hiking Time: 1 hour (or more if you want)
  • Travel Time From Beijing: 1.5 hours
  • Admissions Fee: 5 RMB ($1 USD)
  • Difficulty Rating: Medium
  • How to Get There: Hire a driver OR take the 980 Express from Dongzhimen to Miyuan and hire a driver from there.
Jiankou Great Wall

Wow this hike was intense!

Jiankou to Mutianyu: For the Intense Hikers

Looking for a challenging off the beaten path adventure? Try Jiankou! Your driver will drop you off in Xizhahai village and point you to a trail. You’ll then hike this trail up a mountain for almost an hour (SERIOUSLY) until you finally reach the Great Wall!

Eventually, you’ll find a ladder you can use to climb up, and of course, some overpriced drinks. If you don’t have enough water, this is a good time to stock up! Once you get up the ladder, go LEFT (towards the tower) not right. Right is dangerous and should only be attempted if you’re a very experienced hiker with proper gear.

This Jiankou hike is amazing. Not only is the wall crumbling and unrefurbished, but there are also sections where you’ll have to climb through towers, slide down on your bum, and there’s even a pretty steep section where you’ll just need to hang onto the wall and slide your way down while trying not to fall on your face.

The great thing about this hike is that you will see VERY FEW other people. We actually became friendly with the one family, and one solo hiker we met because we were literally the only ones!

Grab Your Ultimate China Survival Guide!

Mutianyu Great Wall

My parents, Chris and I hiking Mutianyu!

Jiankou to Mutianyu: How to Get Off the Wall!

Once you reach the end of Jiankou, the wall turns into Mutianyu! Apparently, there is a spot around here where you can get off the wall (I never found it), so if you’re like me and most of my friends, you’ll probably end up hiking all of Mutianyu to get off the wall. I was NOT expecting this and was so tired my legs basically collapsed on me when I finally made it to the parking lot.

The good thing is that you can take a cable car or the toboggan slide off the wall! However, you will have to pay to do this. The downside is that the Mutianyu parking lot is crazy and you’ll have to take a bus to the parking area to meet your driver and exit through the official Mutianyu tourist gate. That’s a lot of extra walking I wasn’t anticipating either…

I honestly had no idea how intense this whole thing really is until I tried it… with my parents. Whoopsies! At least they felt very proud of themselves afterward for doing such a demanding hike!

Interested in the hike? I love this post from Earth Trekkers which goes into detail!

  • Hiking Time: 1 hour to the wall, 2 hours for Jiankou, another 1.5 hours for Mutianyu (4-5 hours total)
  • Travel Time From Beijing: 1.5 hours
  • Admissions Fee: 5 RMB ($1 USD) + cable car or toboggan fees if used
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard
  • How to Get There: Take a private car to Xizhahai village and have them pick you up at Mutianyu (or follow the Mutianyu bus directions home).
  • Special Instructions: Hiking shoes will be much better than running shoes. Bring hiking poles if you have them.

Great Wall

Huanghuacheng Water Wall (Shuicheng): Beautiful But Dangerous

This is another section I hiked by accident… Again, Chris and I were looking for the easy Lakeside Great Wall and were dropped off at the small town where you can get on the unofficial Huanghuacheng section. Our driver told us to “hike to the lake” and “hike A to B”. So, once we got on the wall, I opened Apple Maps and… hiked to the lake.

Our driver meant to tell us to go right and hike to the reservoir, but we saw the big lake from the Lakeside Great Wall on our mapping app and hiked that way instead.

This section of the Great Wall is absolutely stunning, but almost NO ONE hikes this way because it’s actually dangerous. There is one point where you have to kind of climb/jump from the wall through a tower window where there’s a solid 30-foot drop below. Also, a strong gust of wind can push you off the wall, so be careful!

Finally, when you reach the end of the hike you’ll get the most INCREDIBLE view of the Huanghuacheng lake. I mean… there’s a reason why I use the photos all the time.

Just be aware that you SHOULD NOT try to get off the wall once you hit the lake. Seriously DON’T. It might look like you can just hike down to the parking lot, but it’s super, super dangerous. I was so scared at one point I started crying.

I kept saying “Why do all these sites keep recommending this section? It has to be safe right??” Nope. No, it’s not. I was hiking the wrong section. Whoopsies!

Basically, I recommend hiking to the view of the lake, then turn around and hike back. You can get off where you got on (round trip), or you can keep hiking along the wall until you hit the Huanghuacheng reservoir section!

  • Hiking Time: 4 hours round trip + another 1.5 hours to do the Walled City to Huanghuacheng section
  • Travel Time From Beijing: 1.5 hours
  • Admissions Fee: 5 RMB ($1 USD)
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard (only because it’s a little dangerous)
  • How to Get There: Hire a driver OR take the 980 Express from Dongzhimen to Miyuan and hire a driver from there.
  • Special Instructions: Wear good shoes so you don’t slip! Make sure you have phone credit in case you hurt yourself and need help
Gubeikou

Hike with a group!

Great Wall Hiking Tours Through Travel China Guide

If you don’t want to try navigating all of this yourself, I highly recommend doing a hiking tour. Most hotels and hostels do provide tours to the most popular sections, but if you’re looking for a good company to go with, I recommend checking out Travel China Guide’s Great Wall Hiking Tours.

Not only do they have plenty of day trips to different sections of the Great Wall, but they also have longer Beijing and China tours that include a Great Wall visit, as well as specialized Great Wall activities. Try their one day Great Wall repair volunteer program, or even embark on a helicopter tour of the Great Wall!

Check Out Their Tours!

what to wear great wall

Wear layers!

What Should I Wear on the Great Wall?

What you wear really depends on which section your hiking. Just remember that the Great Wall is not flat, contains tons of stairs, and sometimes involves a hike just to get on the wall, so dress accordingly!

Wear Hiking Clothes and Good Shoes

Most of you will want to wear athletic clothes and good walking or running shoes. You’ll be really annoyed with yourself if you wear uncomfortable shoes, jeans, or a dress unless you’re going to Badaling, Mutianyu, or the Lakeside Great Wall, where you can take a boat or a cable car. That said, even those sections have some nice hiking, so you’ll definitely want to dress in athletic clothing so you can take advantage!

I also highly recommend wearing layers. The wall can sometimes be very hot with the sun directly on you, or supper chilly if it’s windy. I typically wear shorts or leggings, good running shoes, and a tank top with an Under Armour half-zip over the top. If it’s very cold I wear a lightweight puffy coat!

You May Want Hiking Shoes for Some Sections of the Great Wall

If you’re hiking a crumbling section like Jiankou, Gubeikou, or Water Wall you’re probably going to want hiking shoes or boots. While it isn’t necessary to go out and buy hiking shoes (I did all of these sections in running shoes), I highly recommend wearing them if you have them, especially if you think it might rain!

Gubeikou Great Wall

…or you could cover your outfit with a rainbow hat

The Perfect Instagram: How to Wear Nice Clothes For Your Great Wall Photos

Honestly, I would not recommend wearing a pretty dress on the Great Wall unless having a perfect Instagram photo is your only objective. If you do want to look really cute, I suggest wearing athletic clothes and then throwing a loose dress on over the top. You can always take off your shoes for the photo (barefoot on the Great Wall!) or bring a pair to change into.

If you don’t want to change, I’d recommend heading to the Lakeside Huanghuacheng wall where you can take a nice boat ride, and only hike up a small hill of stairs to get on the wall. Take your photo and then get off because you won’t want to hike the whole thing in a dress and sandals!

great wall what to bring

Me and my day pack!

What to Bring on Your Great Wall Hike

Here are the major essentials you don’t want to forget for your Great Wall hike!

1. Pack a Day Pack

Ideally, a small daypack is perfect for hiking the Great Wall. You can fill it up with your essentials and keep your hands free! If there are two of you, you can always share a backpack. When I hike with Chris, he usually carries the backpack and I carry my DSLR and a Packsafe crossbody bag with a small water bottle and my phone+charger for Instagram stories, video, and GPS.

2. Lots of Water

I recommend one LARGE water bottle per person. Stick it in the side of your backpack and use the extra weight as motivation to drink more water. While some sections do sell water, you really don’t want to rely on it and get dehydrated on the wall!

Personally, I like to bring one large water bottle and a small collapsible water bottle for easier drinking. I keep the small water bottle in my crossbody purse, and fill it up from the big one! It can really be a pain to always try and take out the big water bottles, especially when they’re on your back.

Hiking Great Wall

It’s a big trek so bring water!

3. Bring Snacks

While some of the Great Wall sections do have snacks on the wall and restaurants in the surrounding area, I’d rather be safe than sorry, especially on a long hike! Definitely eat breakfast before you leave and pack some snacks for your hike. Hit up a Chinese convenience store or hole in the wall shop and grab some fruits, nuts, bread, or whatever you want to keep you going!

4. A Camera or Good Smartphone

Personally, I love to bring my DSLR so I can get great photos, but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea! Thankfully smartphones do a great job now, so you can always use that instead! That said, you can definitely see the difference in the quality of my DSLR and smartphone. I accidentally forgot my nice camera when I hiked Jiankou to Mutianyu and it shows.

Want to know about my gear? I use a Nikon D3100 and a Sigma 17-50 mm lens!

5. Wet Wipes

Wipe the sweat off your face and dirt of your hands with wet wipes. Perfect for cleaning yourself up for lunch or a snack!

6. Optional: Hiking Poles

Those of you hiking hard or crumbling sections like Jiankou may want to bring hiking poles. Hiking poles may also be a good idea for those of you with knee problems because they can help take the weight off your knee joints while you go up and down all of the (many) stairs.

Great Wall hike

Huanghuacheng crumbling tower

How to Avoid the Great Wall Crowds

I know many of you are worried about avoiding the crowds in China, but thankfully when it comes to the Great Wall, it’s actually pretty easy!

DON’T Hike Badaling

My first tip is just don’t hike Badaling… DONE! No, but seriously, there’s no need to hike Badaling unless you’re on a strict tourist schedule and plan to visit the Ming Tombs afterward. Honestly, the Ming Tombs are cool and all, but I’d much rather have a full day out hiking the Great Wall. If you want an easy section to visit just book a tour or hike Mutianyu.

Avoid Chinese Holidays

My #1 tip for avoiding Chinese crowds is to steer clear of Chinese holidays. The big ones to avoid are National Week, Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), and May Day. To be honest, though, this is only really important if you’re heading to Badaling, Mutianyu, Lakeside Great Wall, or Shanhailing!

Choose an Off the Beaten Path Section

If you really want to avoid the crowds, hike any of the more off the beaten path sections. Gubeikou is always a safe bet if you don’t want to get lost or accidentally hike the wrong section. Avoiding the crowds (even during Chinese holidays) is easy as long as you go to places Chinese people don’t typically visit. Most of the Chinese tourists in Beijing are on tours, and these tours always go to the same few places, so they’re easy to avoid!

Huanghuacheng Great Wall

I love the Great Wall!

Need Help Planning Your Trip to China? Get Your Free Guide!

Planning a trip to China can be a serious undertaking, especially if you’ve never been before! Thankfully, I’ve created the Ultimate China Survival Guide, an intensive guide to help you navigate your China adventure.

In the guide, I’ll give you 6,000+ words of advice to help you plan your trip, 3 customizable itineraries, a map and directions to the Huanghuacheng Reservoir section and more!

Grab Your Ultimate China Survival Guide!

Here's how to get off the beaten path on your China Great Wall Hike! Visit a section of the Great Wall with no crowds on your next trip to Beijing! #travel #China #beijing #greatwall

Pin Me!

Any Questions or Advice?

Do you have any questions about hiking the Great Wall? Do you have a favorite section I’ve mentioned here? What about a section that’s not in the post?

Be sure to ask your questions and share below! I’m always checking back for new comments and questions so I’ll be sure to get back to you ASAP!

Comments

comments

About Richelle

Expat, traveler, and spicy food lover, I've spent the last few years living in China and traveling around Asia. In my spare time I enjoy salsa dancing, exploring night markets and stuffing my face with street food.

5 comments on “The Ultimate Guide to Hiking China’s Great Wall: How to Get Off the Beaten Path and Avoid the Crowds

    • I’ve hiked Jinshanling in the past and can attest to how stunning it is. I see it’s included in the list above alongside Simatai as being closed.

      Good to know that you can hike part of Jinshanling in the opposite direction!

      (Not the author, just her similarly Great Wall obsessed fiance)

    • Great suggestion! I know that for that section you need to climb off the wall a bit since it’s technically closed. Did you have any difficulty with that or did you use a guide? I didn’t include that section because I haven’t done it myself and I heard it can be a bit confusing with trying to get on and off the wall and didn’t want to recommend something I hadn’t personally experienced. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

      • It must only be closed in the other direction because the part I hiked was open when I went – this was in June 2018 and there was an official ticket office (which I accidentally bypassed but saw on my way back) and even a cable car and a few ladies selling refreshments. Still barely any tourists. I didn’t have a guide and it was fine :) I actually got the idea of hiking this section after reading your older blog post about the Great Wall… I suppose I just hiked it in a different direction than you: not towards Simatai, but towards Gubeikou. I didn’t go all the way to Gubeikou (not sure it’s open all the way there), but turned around and walked back after a couple hours. I have a short blog post about it if you ever need more information :) http://backpackingpeople.com/jinshanling-great-wall-of-china/

        • That could actually work! I know Gubeikou to Jinshanling is closed and Jinshanling to Simatai is closed, but maybe you can actually do an official round-trip hike from Jinshanling TOWARDS Gubeikou. They put some sort of military area right at the end of Gubeikou and closed off the wall with a gate, so maybe you just don’t go all the way?

Leave a Reply: