Being one of the most famous landmarks of the world, the Great Wall of China is a perfect place for those who wants to go for a hiking adventure. There’s no doubt that the Great Wall of China is visited by thousands of people every year because of its beauty and exquisite historical structure.
What you’ll find in this article is a thorough guide for hiking the different sections of the Great Wall of China. Each section of the Great Wall will be explained in detail like how to get into that particular section, how easy or hard those sections are, where you can take a rest, and more.
Hiking at the Great Wall of China gives you a lot of options to choose from depending on your preference and also your fitness levels. There’s a section for each and every one. From extreme adventurers to chill hikers, the Great Wall offers incredible convenience no matter who you are.
The Main Sections of the Great Wall of China
- Badaling is one of the most popular section in the Great Wall that’s been visited by Chinese tourists a lot. You can reach this section just by a 2-hour drive from Beijing. In this section, you’ll find cable cars that are connected to and from the Wall. Not just that, there’s also the Great Wall Museum, a grand circular screen cinema, and some wheelchair access for PWDs.
- Badaling is also the most complete and well-preserved section of the wall. The section is also easily accessible by most people thanks to stairs and handrails that assists you, making you do little to no effort at all just by climbing to this section.
- Here are some other alternative ways to get into this section.
- Cable Car: If you don’t like to walk, then cable cars are here to save the day. Badaling is separated in two sections, and luckily, both sections has cable cars for you to ride on. Round trips on cable cars can cost you up to 140 RMB.
- Bus 887: Riding the bus 877 can take you around an hour to get to this section. The best part of this is that it’s cheaper compared to cable cars. For only 12 RMB, you’ll be dropped near the Pulley car lower station.
- Tourist bus line 1: If you want to be more comfortable, then this bus is for you. The tourist bus line 1 leaves from Qianmen Arrow Tower near Tiananmen Square around 5am to 11am. The downside of it is that it will take 1.5 hours before you reach your destination. It costs 20 RMB per person which is quite costly compared to Bus 887.
- The Badaling has an entrance fee of 40 RMB(April 1 – October 31) and 35 RMB(November 1 to March 31). This section is perfect for first time travelers because of its accessibility and magnificent views. You might want to avoid visiting this section during holidays because it’ll be fully loaded with people. There are lots of diners in this section too such as KFC, Yonghe King, Great Wall Commune Restaurant, and Jindian Friendship Restaurant.
- While Badaling is popular among Chinese tourist, Mutianyu on the other hand, is popular with foreign travelers. If you want to stay for the holidays in the Great Wall, then this section is for you. What you can find in this section are lots of nearby hotels and tourists attractions.
- It will take 1.5 hours to reach the section from Beijing, and there are also cable cars for you to tide on that’s similar to Badaling. You can find a lot of watchtowers in this section of the Great Wall that adds to the aesthetic style of the structure. You can also take a visit to the Mutianyu Village that’s located near the entrance of this section.
- Ways to get to this section.
- Cable Car: Looking at that 4000+ step climb can be a bit intimidating, so it’s a good thing that there are cable cars to help you reach this section.
- Dongzhimen Bus: From Beijing, you need to reach the Dongzhimen Bus station to ride this bus. From the station, you can ride the 916 Express Bus for only 12 RMB. It will take up to 60 to 70 minutes before you reach Mutianyu.
- Private Car/Taxi/Didi: If you’re wealthy enough, then getting a private car to reach this section can cost you up to 700 RMB. You can alternatively get a Didi car by downloading the Didi app where you can arrange a driver to take you there.
- Once again, Mutianyu is a section that’s fairly easy to hike on. The steep sections of the walk are smooth and restored so you don’t have to worry stumbling upon as you hike. The scenery of this section is breathtaking and perfect for those Instagram-worthy shots. The entrance fee of the section is only 40 RMB which is the same with Badaling. Diners such as Subway and Xinshuangquan Restaurant are available and if you want to go cheaper, you can dine at local hotels at your disposal.
- For the adventure seekers, say no more other than the Jiankou section of the great wall. This section offers the original Great Wall with little restoration applied. You’ll be greeted with steep and challenging climbs once you get here. If you’re up for a challenging hike, then the Jiankou section is definitely for you. You’ll also meet a lot of photographers in this section because of its exquisite greenery and wildlife.
- You won’t find any cable cars to get to this particular section of the wall. All you need is yourself because you’re going to take a long hike just to get here. There are two starting points where you can hike: The Xishanzi village and the Wofo Mountain Villa. To get to these starting points, you need to catch bus 936 from Dongzhimen Wai Station. Get off as Yujiayuan Station then, for Xizhazi village, get the H25 bus or catch bus H26 to Xinying Station and walk to Mountain Village.
- Remember, this section is for those seasoned adventurers that wants to take their hiking adventure to the extreme. Proper hiking gear is required and a walking stick is needed too to reach trickier areas. The entrance costs 45 RMB which is slightly higher compared to the first two sections we’ve tackled about. You may want to stock up your own snacks as there are no nearby eateries and diners to be found in this section.
- If you’re in for a moderate hiking experience on the Great Wall, then the Jinshanling is probably your best bet. This section as half restored and half wild. Which means that your hiking experience is as balanced as it can be. It’s like a combination of Badaling and Jiankou so to speak. You can reach this section by a 2-3 hour’s car ride from Beijing. You can alternatively ride a cable car instead for easy access.
- This section is great for those who wants hiking with a little bit of challenge. Then again, this section is filled with photographers because of its nature and wild life just like Jiankou. It will cost you 65 RMB to get to this section and for 150 RMB, you can camp in a campsite at the foot of the mountain. Local restaurants can be found near the ticketing office which serves tasty Chinese local foods. The Jinshan Restaurant can be found exactly outside the ticket gate.
- Talk about the most stunning and beautiful section of the Great Wall, the Simatai section is the real deal. This section can be reached by a 2-3 hours’ drive from Beijing. This section has steep hikes along with beautifully built architectural towers on its sides. In 1987, this section became part of the World Heritage Sites. The Simatai section will absolutely look stunning during autumn too. Transportation vehicles such as cable cars, battery cars, and zip lines are offered to transport you to and from the Wall, making it easily accessible for each and every one.
- You can’t find a bunch of tourists here and this is the only section in the Great Wall that can be visited during night time. There’s also the Gubei Water Town near this section where you can take a visit and spend the rest of the night. Because of wall damage, tourist numbers are only limited each hour.
- The section is actually easy and can be walked by newbies to expert hikers. It also has a few challenging climbs that can really test your strength, but you can take a rest by riding a cable car once at the top. The entrance fee for this section is 40 RMB which is cheaper compared to Jinshanling and Jiankou. If you’re looking for a place to stay, there are good hotels at the Gubei Water Town such as the Chengtao Xiaozhu Folk Inn and the Dhawa Jinshanling Hotel.
Other Sections in the Great Wall of China
- Huanghuacheng: This is the only section of the Great Wall that is by the lake. The fantastic view makes it so picturesque. You can also take a boat at the bottom to see the Great Wall from a different angle.
- Gubeikou: This is a section of the Great Wall that’s never reconstructed or restored, making it impossible to walk along. Seeing this part of the wall alone makes you appreciate the historical beauty of this particular section. It gives you a real sense of how old and strong this section of the Great Wall once was.
- Panlongshan: For photographers, the Panlongshan section is definitely for you. You can find a broken watchtower in this section which looks fascinating. You need to be cautious while walking in this part of the wall because the path is uneven and are already fallen away because of its old age.
- Shanhaiguan: You can reach this section by taking a 2.5-3 hours’ train ride from the Beijing South Station. This section is often called as the “First Pass Under Heaven” because it is the first pass of the Great Wall of China in the East. This section is also filled with Drum and Bell towers that are stunning to look at and a pinnacle of Chinese history.
- Laolongtou: This is the section of the Great Wall that meets the sea. Similar to Shanhaiguan, you will be greeted by lots of temples and towers around the Wall too. The Qinhuangdao offers a lovely seaside town for you to visit and enjoy on a warm spring day.