The most beautiful curves of the Great Wall
A 10-km of the beaten path Great Wall camping trip where we pitch our tents on top of the Great Wall. You need a good physical condition and some balance for this trip as it is a 1,5-hour uphill hike. The camping spot is 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.
Hiking Distance: 10km
Hiking Duration: 4 h
Hike level: 3 medium/strong
Departure time: 9.30 am
Back in Beijing: 12.30 pm next day
The secret Sunset Great Wall section is located about 15 km north from the famous Badaling Great Wall. It’s a 2-hour drive from our meeting point at Lama Temple till our lunch place, a local farmhouse with view on 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 is now in perfect condition for easy hiking.
We continue hiking a bit more and looking for a nice flat place on the Great Wall. We put down our backpacks and pitch our tents. While the guides collect fired wood and prepare dinner, you can go explore more of the Great Wall. You will find more watch towers 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. 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.
Next morning, we wake up with a cup of coffee, watch the sun rise from behind the mountains. After a simple breakfast, we pack our tents hike a bit further on the wall and take a small trail through the forest down to stone valley where our driver will be waiting for us. By lunchtime we will be back in Beijing.
Hike Level 3: medium-strong
We rate this hike level 3 (medium-strong) as his trail starts with steep climb on the Great Wall where it can be slippery sometimes. You should be all right if you have a normal physical condition, as we never rush during our hikes.
History of the Chen Castle and ChinaHiking Sunset Great Wall:
The Chen Castle and the Sunset Great Wall were built in the early Ming Dynasty, about 600 years ago. This section of the Great Wall protected the Northern gateway of Beijing for over 250 years.
The army of Lizicheng, the Nomad King who championed an end to the Ming Dynasty, led numerous attacks on Beijing. As his army grew stronger, the imperial forces led by field marshal Sun Chuanting, where getting weaker due to famine and disease.
In 1644 Lizicheng succeeded in breaking the lines of the Great Wall at the Chen Castle and the Sunset Great Wall, conquered Beijing and forced an end to the Ming Dynasty.
Emperor Chongzhen hung himself on Coal Hill (Jinshan park) and was buried in Siling in the Ming Tombs area. His tomb is preserved in an excellent condition and people speculate on why all the trees in this spot have been struck by lightning.
Sun Chuanting died in battle at Tungguan. His wife committed suicide by throwing herself into a well. They were buried together in Huazhuang village in Shanxi province. Their grave was looted and destroyed during the ravages of the Cultural Revolution.
For years, the Chen Castle and the Sunset Great Wall structures fell into neglect for a long time. In 2012, the beauty of this Great Wall was rediscovered. During the winter of 2015, parts of the Sunset Great Wall were restored. We might encounter a few hikers during our trip, but it remains a rarely visited Great Wall section.
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