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Guide to Climbing the Great Wall

By Viator, May 2016

4 264 Reviews | Add your review

Many will be disappointed to know that the Great Wall of China isn’t, in fact, visible from space, but it’s nonetheless one of the most deservedly iconic landmarks in the world. Easily visited from Beijing, no trip to the capital city would be complete with a trip to this UNESCO World Heritage site. And believe it or not, you needn’t be a seasoned hiker to enjoy a day (or two) on the Great Wall, especially if you choose to visit with a local guide.

Temperatures are at their most pleasant and crowds are noticeably thinner in fall and spring, but even in the middle of summer, the wall is as majestic as ever. Some remote parts can even offer a break from the crowds, but with such a variety of accessible sections—both restored and wild—travelers can choose their perfect segment based on what they’d like to see and do.

Badaling
Most visitors to the Great Wall see the section known as Badaling Pass, located about an hour from Beijing. This portion features a cable car to ferry guests to the top of a flat stretch of the wall that spans out in both directions. While it's the most popular and crowded portion of the wall, it's also one of the most convenient and accessible.

Juyongguan
If you don’t mind doing a little climbing, Juyongguan is actually the closest portion of the wall to Beijing -- only 37 miles (60 kilometers) -- but it doesn’t have a single flat stretch in sight, and the steps are very steep and uneven.

Mutianyu
The Mutianyu section requires a full day’s journey, but it’s worth it for the scenic, flat stretch of wall, cable car and sparser crowds than the first two segments.

Jinshanling to Simatai
While much of the Great Wall is officially closed to tourists, those wishing to hike a portion of the wall can do so between Jinshanling and Simatai. This will allow you to see completely unrestored portions of the wall without another soul in sight.

Jiankou
Ideal for adventurous hikers, this steep section of the Great Wall is known for its wild beauty. This section hasn't been restored since its original construction, so parts are dangerous to climb for unfamiliar hikers.

Tours & Tickets

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Great Wall of China at Mutianyu Full-Day Tour Including Lunch from Beijing

4.5 star rating: Recommended 216 Reviews

This full-day Beijing sightseeing tour to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China provides an opportunity to experience steeper sections of the ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 6-7 hours

From USD $64.99

Great Wall of China at Badaling and Ming Tombs Day Tour from Beijing

4.5 star rating: Recommended 307 Reviews

See two of China's most popular destinations, the World Heritage-listed Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs, on one unforgettable guided day trip from ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $72.99

Private Tour: Great Wall of China at Juyongguan and Ming Tombs from Beijing

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 6 Reviews

See the best of China’s ancient civilization on this private full-day trip from Beijing to the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs. At the Great Wall, ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $87.00

Great Wall of China Small Group Day Trip from Beijing

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 101 Reviews

Discover the Great Wall of China on this small group tour from Beijing. Travel to the restored Mutianyu section and climb the Ming Dynasty watchtowers for ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 7-8 hours

From USD $109.00

Great Wall of China Hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Reviews

Explore unrestored and untouched section of the Great Wall of China from Jiankou to Mutianyu that grants magnificent views of the Great Wall stretching beyond ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $118.00

Great Wall Hiking Tour from Beijing: Simatai West to Jinshanling

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

Explore both untouched and restored parts of the Great Wall of China on this small-group hiking tour from Beijing. Follow your expert guide along the Simatai ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $121.67

One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 21 Reviews

As the most popular hiking trip of Great Wall around Beijing, it will show you both untouched and restored sections of the Great Wall at Simatai West and ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $136.00

Viator Exclusive: Great Wall at Mutianyu Tour with Picnic and Wine

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 15 Reviews

Scale the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and take in the views with a picnic at its peak, a Viator Exclusive that can’t be booked anywhere else. This ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $159.94

Viator VIP: Beijing's Forbidden City with Special Viewing of Treasure Gallery and the Great Wall Ruins at Badaling

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 17 Reviews

Enjoy a VIP tour of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Beijing – the Forbidden City and Badaling Great Wall Ruins. With your expert guide, gain special ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $195.90

2-Day Great Wall Hiking Tour from Beijing: Jiankou, Mutianyu, Jinshanling and Simatai West

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Reviews

This 2-day hiking adventure takes you along the Great Wall’s untouched and restored sections of Jiankou, Mutianyu, Jinshanling and Simatai West. Escape from ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 2 days, 1 night

From USD $255.99

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