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Best Section of the Wall to Visit and Hike

Which section should you choose to hike?

In general, busy and popular Badaling, scenic Mutianyu, hike along Simatai, and see wild Huanghuacheng or Jiankou. Come and explore your favorite one! Or choose one from our friendly-made Great Wall tour itineraries.

1. Badaling Great Wall: the most Popular and Visited Section

If you read travel books or travel brochures then this is mentioned as the most popular section of the wall. Also note popular means swarming with tourists.  Popular also means tour companies love it. If you do want to visit this section then get there very early in the morning, especially on the weekend or come in Winter and enjoy.

The scenery is impressive with the wall snakeing off over the hills in the distance. The two sections of the wall go in either direction, left or right, from the main entrance. Walk as far as you can in either direction and you will be rewarded by seeing the breathtaking veiw of seeing the wall winding over the hills.

2. Mutianyu is the most beautiful section, and not busy and crowded as the Badaling.

The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is a masterpiece of restoration, with 22 original style watchtowers. Mutianyu, meaning ‘Admire Fields Valley’, is the longest fully-restored Great Wall section open to tourists.

Visit Mutianyu to see the Great Wall in its awe-inspiring former glory, winding through mountain scenery, with easier walking conditions and fewer crowds.

Mutianyu Great Wall

3. Juyongguan is the Closest Section to Beijing Downtown

Juyongguan is the cloese section, so if you are in a rush and just want a quick peak at the wall, this is it.

Jaiyuguan (Jiayu Pass) is the most western end of the Great Wall. Also known as “the First and Greatest Pass under Heaven”, Jiayu Pass is the best preserved and most magnificent military building among the passes of the Great Wall.

It is one of the main passes of the Great Wall, along with Juyong Pass and Shanhai Pass. It is located at the narrowest point of the western part of Hexi Corridor, and was a key passageway of the ancient Silk Road. It commands fascinating views of the boundless Gobi Desert and the snow-capped Qilian Mountains.

If going by bus then it is the same bus that goes to Badaling so tell the bus driver this is where you want to get off. (No.919Bus)

4. Huanghua Cheng Run not by Government but Locals

Huanghua has an unofficial status as some of the wall runs through land not government run. Some local landowners ask for a small fee for access to the wall. You can also view this section of the wall from the Huangchuacheng Lakeside Reserve. Entrance is RMB25. The reserve is mainly visited for its excellent vistas of the wall.

Huanghua Great Wall

5. Jiankou is Free of Charge for Hiking and Visiting

Located on the mountain ridge of Xizhazi Village, it connects to Mutianyu in the east and joins Huanghua Cheng in the west. It is free to visit the Jiankou section of the wall

Warning: This one of the most dangerous parts of the wall to visit. It is in a state of disrepair, the bricks, walls & steps are loose and unsteady. It is best to go in a group and not on your own.  Due to its unique style, steep mountains and beautiful scenery it has become a photographic hot spot.

6. Simatai is Currently Closed to the Public Due to the Reconstruction

The Simatai section of the Great Wall is one of the few sections to retain the original appearance of the Great Wall. Incorporating a variety of characteristics of other sections of the Great Wall, Simatai also displays some unique features of its own. It is often described with the following five words: perilous, dense, diverse, artful, and peculiar.

With densely-dispersed watchtowers snaking along the mountain ridges, Simatai looks spectacular. In 1987, Simatai was acknowledged by UNESCO as one the World Heritage Sites. Visit Simatai Great Wall, witness in person the magnificence and glory of this man-made masterpiece.

7. Jinshanling is the best starting point to start the 10KM track to Simatai.

Even though it is only 10km it will take 4 to 5 hours to walk it. The trail through stunning mountain terrain is steep, rugged, stoney and wonderfully scenic and exhilarating which is why so may people do it. This section also has 24 watchtowers along the way. To do the walk from Simatai to Jianshanling will take uo the entire day when you take into account the time to and from Beijing.

Jinshanling Great Wall

8. Best to Stay Overnight at Shanhaiguan Pass

The Jiao Shan part of the wall is as far from Beijing as it goes. Best done as an overnight stay. This is where The Great Wall meets the sea. This old historic Ming dynasty garrison town with its walls is a good excuse to visit. It is popular with Beijingers, especially as it is close to the sea. This section has been restored and can get busy during holiday season.

There is now a new express D5 Train that leaves from Beijing at 9.20am and arrives at 11.27am. Otherwise there are also express D trains to Qinhuangdao that take 2 hours. Then 20 minutes by taxi to Shanhaiguan.

Have a question about your Beijing trip planning? Simply tell us your travel ideas and we will handle the rest. No deposit is needed until you are totally satisfied with all tour plan details.

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