An epic Great Wall hike that covers 2 fantastic sections of the Beijing Wild Great Wall. We hike the amazing Wild Jiankou Great Wall and pitch our tents inside a watchtower. On the second day, we hike and enjoy the fanatic views of Gubeikou, Beijing’s oldest Great Wall.
Hiking Distance: 18km
Hiking Duration: 4h/day
Hike level: 3 medium/strong
Departure time: 9:30 am
Back in Beijing: 7 pm on day 2
Price: RMB 1600, RMB 1440 (kids 7-17), RMB 1280 (members), RMB 800 (kids younger than 7)
From our meeting point (Lama Temple subway station), we drive for about 2 hours till we reach on the picturesque Dazhenyu village. Before we start this Great Wall trek, we enjoy a good farmhouse lunch in a yard surrounded by chestnuts and with a view on the Jiankou Great Wall. The trip is an 8-km hike with a total ascend of 600 meters, so you need a fair bit of energy to make it to the top.
Taking a break at the first Jiankou Watchtower
The view from the beginning of the Jiankou Great Wall trek is love at first sight. The Great Wall drops down into WangQuan (Spring valley) and climbs back out almost vertical. We ascend about 500 meters and follow a small trail up the mountain for about 1 hour till we reach the Great Wall at the second beacon tower. From this point of the hike, it’s all about enjoying the scenery.
On the “Great Wall Road” to Our Camping Spot
As our trek on the Great Wall continues you can enjoy fantastic views of the valleys and the middle part of the Jiankou Great Wall. We walk through and over 7 beacon towers, the best-preserved ones are called the 5-eye watchtower and the Jade tower.
Just before we reach at the 6th tower, we pitch our tents inside a watch tower, cook dinner on a wood fire and watch the sunset with a glass of local wine. A small campfire will keep us warm while we gaze at the stars.
After breakfast, we pack our tents and leave this beautiful place without a trace. We hike down the mountain on an easy dirt trail for about 1 hour. Down in the Valley we stop in our friends Chestnut yard for a good local breakfast.
After breakfast we drive to our friends, next to the Gubeikou Great Wall. They are local farmers than run a small homestay at the back of a valley surrounded by the Great Wall. With a view of the Crouching Tiger Great Wall, we enjoy a delicious lunch in their backyard. Here our adventure starts.
It takes us only a 15-minute hike up the hill behind the farmhouse to get our first glimpse of the Gubeikou Great Wall. After a few turns on the small trail over the hill we arrive on top of the Great Wall. We hike from tower to tower and take breaks on top of a watchtower, a great chance to take some awesome pictures of this 1400 years old section of the Great Wall.
Gubeikou Great Wall
3 hours into the hike, we arrive at the highlight of today’s trail, the Gubeikou General Tower. From this tower, you can see the entire Gubeikou-Jinshanling-Simatai Great Wall ” . On a clear day, we can even see the Fairy tower, the highest tower at the end of the Simatai Great Wall. This view point is the best picture opportunity of the day.
Jinshanling-Simatai Great Wall (Our last viewpoint of the day)
From this view point we follow a small trail alongside the wild Jinshanling Great Wall, pas the remnants of a few old abandoned farmouse till we reach the end of the valley. Here our driver will pick us up and drive us back to Beijing. By 7 pm we will be back at our meeting point.
Level 3: Medium-strong
We rate this Great Wall trek level 3 because the trail on the first day includes a good uphill hike and we carry our backpacks all the way up the the campsite. The trail on the second day is fairly easy. No strong climbs on this hike. People with normal physical condition will be able to enjoy this trip.