An epic 2 full days Great Wall hike combines the crumbled staircases and strange turns of the ChinaHiking founders’ secret Sunset Great Wall and Beijing’s highest Great Wall. We camp on top of the Great Wall and hike all the way to Beijing’s highest watchtower. This perfect viewpoint will grant you top pictures the endless Great Wall build over the surrounding mountain ridges.
Hiking Distance: 25km
Duration: 2 days
Hike level: 4 strong
Departure time: 9:30 am
Back in Beijing : 8:00 pm (day2)
Price: 1700￥ (1530 RMB for kids 7-17, 1360 RMB for membership, 850 RMB for kids younger than 7)
Day 1, The most beautiful curves of the Great Wall
The secret Sunset Great Wall section is located about 15km north from the famous Badaling Great Wall. It’s a 2-hour drive from our meeting point at Lama Temple till we arrive at our lunch place, a local farmhouse with gorgeous views of the Great Wall.
After a great lunch at the farmhouse courtyard we take a beautiful trail through the valley till we meet the Great Wall at its lowest point. Here we start hiking the famous steep staircases for a good hour, passing numerous guard towers on the way. The highest section of the Great Wall has been partly restored and it is in a perfect condition for easy hiking now.
We continue hiking a bit more and looking for a nice flat place on the Great Wall to camp. We put down our backpacks and pitch our tents. While the guides collect firewood and prepare dinner, you can go explore more parts of the Great Wall. You will find more watchtowers and the famous 180 degrees Great Wall Turn, a perfect place for pictures.
The camping spot is very magical, having a view on the highest Great Wall in the north, miles and miles of Great Wall in the south and the Chen Castle General Tower in the east. It is a great place to enjoy a wood fire cooked dinner and watch the sunset with beer or a glass of wine. We fill the evening with sharing stories around the campfire and fall asleep by counting the stars.
Day 2: The hike to Beijing’s highest watchtower
Next morning, we wake up with a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise from behind the mountains. We pack our tents, hike a bit further on the wall and take a small trail through the forest down to the stone valley. When we arrive our destination, a big breakfast at a local farmhouse will be prepared for us for the next highlight of this trip, the hike to Beijing’s highest watchtower. (without our backpacks )
A small forest trail leads us pass an old beekeeper and walk into the forest. The trail becomes smaller and steeper as we hike up the Bijia Mountain and the fantastic sceneries unfold as we walk further down the trail. After hiking around 2 hours, we reach the mountain ridge and see the Great Wall on the top. We relax and take some pictures as a break time.
We continue our hike for another 1.5 hours on the steep staircases of the partly restored Great Wall till we reach Beijing’s highest Great Wall watchtower. With its 360 degrees view over the mountains and miles and miles of Great Wall, there is no argue that Great Wall tower we are going to see is the most scenic view in Beijing. We cross the mountain top and follow a gentle downhill ridge trail for about 2 hours till we reach an authentic mountain village completely built with the Great Wall rocks and bricks. It’s a hidden cultural gem where just a handful of people still live in a traditional way.
Our driver will be waiting for us in that village to drive us back to a local restaurant for a well-earned late lunch before we head back to Beijing. By 6.30pm, we will be back at our Lama Temple meeting point.
Hike Level 4: strong
We rate this hike a level 4 (medium-strong) as its both days’ hike start with steep climbing on the Great Wall where it can be slippery sometimes. You should be all right if you have a normal to good physical condition, as we never rush during our hikes. In the first day, we carry our backpacks up to the camping spot. The second day we hike without backpacks.