In China's Yan Mountains stretches the Great Wall at Gubeikou, one of the most historically significant and difficult-to-reach sections of the Great Wall of China. This part of the wall once played a key role in protecting China from Mongol invasion and today stands as an untouched architectural feat—the last reconstruction work took place in 1567 and no renovations have been done since then.
Two hours from Beijing, the Great Wall at Gubeikou offers the opportunity for a relatively easy hike with picturesque views of the masonry stretching out to the east and west. Along the length of the wall are 143 ancient watch towers and three citadels, along with a number of other military constructions. While it's possible to explore this section on a long day trip from Beijing or as part of a single-day hike between Gubeikou and Jinshanling, it's more commonly visited as part of a multi-day guided hike of the wilder parts of the Great Wall.
Gubeikou is located in Miyun County, just over 60 miles (100 km) from central Beijing between the Shanhaiguan and Juyongguan passes. It can be reached by taking a bus from Sihui station to Chengde City or Luanping County and alighting at Gubeikou Tunnel. Many people visit this section as part of a longer hiking tour of the Great Wall.
Did You Know?
This section was first built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550–570) but was restructured centuries later when another line of brick wall was laid beside the original, thus forming the double-lined wall seen today.