Added by Michael Gabbert
Hike an untouched, unrestored "wild" section of the Great Wall of China.
The Jiankou section of the wall is known as the ‘Wild’ section due to its complete lack of restoration since its construction in the 1300s. This fact alone makes this area of the wall fascinating. Located 45 miles outside of Beijing (1.5 -2 hrs driving), getting to this area of the wall can be accomplished via 2 separate routes.
The first is to park at a nearby village (Xizhazi- 40°27'16.44"N 116°32'9.78"E) and hike up directly to the Zhengbei Watch Tower on the Jiankou section of the wall. The starting point of the hike can be difficult to find but a local guide or local villager can point you in the right direction. The hike up to the wall is approximately 1 ½ miles and 30-45 minutes. Once at the wall, you can climb directly into the watchtower or climb down to the most rugged area of the wall. If you do go down to the rugged cliffs, you will eventually need to climb back up to the watchtower to head in the necessary direction. (Note: there is likely a woman charging a 20 yuan fee to climb up one of the ladders to get to the watchtower. While it looks a bit shady, it is in fact legit. Pay the lady).
The other option is to start at the popular Mutianyu section of the wall and hike all of the way through it until you reach the Jiankou section. This option will take about 6-8 hrs round trip.
The Jiankou section is unique at every step of the way and you truly gain a respect for how impressive this wall is and how well it has stood up to the elements over the past 700 years. The hike is rugged, steep and not for beginners. Yet it is all of these attributes which make it an unforgettable experience and one which is truly off the beaten path.
- Hiking Shoes
- Jacket (depending on the season)
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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