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Guide to Climbing the Great Wall of China

Guide to Climbing the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China isn't, in fact, visible from space, but it’s nonetheless one of the most deservedly iconic sites in the world. No trip to Beijing would be complete without time at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. And you don't need to be a seasoned hiker to enjoy a day (or two) on the Great Wall, especially if you visit with a tour guide. Here's everything you need to know.

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—you can choose the perfect segment based on what you'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—perfect for those pressed for time.

Juyongguan

This is actually the closest section of the Great Wall to Beijing at about 35 miles (56 kilometers) away, but a somewhat steep ascent keeps the crowds at bay—most opt for nearby Badaling instead. The views of the wall snaking up the mountain here are photo-worthy, and it’s close enough to the city to combine with visits to other attractions such as the Ming Tombs.

Mutianyu

Great for families and travelers with a full day to devote to the wall, the Mutianyu segment is a scenic, flat stretch of wall with great views and fewer crowds than Badaling and Juyongguan. A cable car lets visitors opt out of a steep climb, and a popular toboggan ride returns visitors to the parking lot.

Jinshanling to Simatai

The most popular Great Wall hike spans the six-mile (10-kilometer) stretch of largely unrestored wall between Jinshanling and Simatai. This four-hour walk offers the chance to see wild portions of the wall without many other tourists and is relatively close to Beijing.

Jiankou

Ideal for adventurous hikers, this steep section of the Great Wall is known for its historic beauty. This section hasn't been restored since its original construction, and seasoned hikers who take on the strenuous (and sometimes nerve-wracking) terrain will be rewarded with some of the wall’s most sublime scenery.

Huanghuacheng

Also called the Great Wall Under the Water, the section at Huanghacheng includes both restored and unrestored pieces, with three portions submerged beneath the surface of the Xishuiyu Reservoir. This section is popular with day hikers looking to experience a wilder Great Wall.

Gubeikou

History buffs and hikers alike head to this hard-to-reach segment of the wall that once played a critical role in protecting China from Mongol invasions. The ruined segment between Gubeikou and Jinshanling makes for a strenuous but rewarding day hike, although it is more commonly visited as part of multi-day hiking tours.

Huangyaguan

This fully restored portion of the Great Wall lies about three hours from Beijing. Those willing to make the drive (and cruise passengers visiting from Tianjin) get to explore a beautiful stretch of wall that sees very little tourist traffic. 

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

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

star-5
Discover the glory of ancient China on this full-day tour of two remarkable UNESCO World Heritage sites – the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs. Enjoy the undivided attention of your private guide as you walk along the wall at Juyongguan and learn how it was first constructed during the Han Dynasty. After a typical Chinese lunch (included), stroll the Spirit Way and explore the ancient Ming Tombs, built to house the emperors of the Ming dynasty.
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  • 8 hours
From
US$ 193.07
Price varies by group size
From
US$ 193.07
Price varies by group size

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

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

star-4
Discover two of China’s most incredible attractions during a full-day tour of the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs from Beijing. Accompanied by a guide, visit one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall and marvel at the spectacular scenery that surrounds the Badaling section. Then, explore the Chang Ling Tomb, a magnificent Ming emperor burial site. Appease your appetite with an authentic Chinese lunch and enjoy the convenience of round-trip transportation from your Beijing hotel.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$ 73.00
From
US$ 73.00
Taking safety measures

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

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

star-4
Escape the crowds around the Great Wall of China and visit the ancient Mutianyu section on a full-day sightseeing tour from Beijing. Accompanied by a guide, learn the history behind the 6th-century section and marvel at the spectacular natural scenery that surrounds it. See impressive parapets and defensive watch towers and enjoy an optional cable car ride if you wish (own expense). An authentic Chinese lunch and convenient, round-trip transportation from your Beijing hotel are also included.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$ 65.00
From
US$ 65.00
Taking safety measures

Full-Day Small-Group Great Wall Hike: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Full-Day Small-Group Great Wall Hike: Simatai West to Jinshanling

star-5
Take a break from busy Beijing for a full-day hike along the Great Wall of China, one of the world’s most famous monuments. Hike the section of the Great Wall from Simatai West to Jinshanling, a beautiful and less-crowded section of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. See parts of the Great Wall that have been carefully restored as well as sections that have not been retouched. After the hike, have lunch at a restaurant operated by local farmers before returning to Beijing.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$ 144.00
From
US$ 144.00
Taking safety measures

Private Great Wall Hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu

Private Great Wall Hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu

star-5
Explore the Great Wall of China from Jiankou to Mutianyu on a full-day hiking tour from Beijing. Enjoy great views and firsthand experience of this remote section of the Great Wall. Enjoy a moderately challenging hike with your guide along the mountain ridge that ensures a memorable experience of this world-famous monument that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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  • 9 to 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$ 218.00
Price varies by group size
From
US$ 218.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Mutianyu Great Wall Private Tour with Picnic and Wine

Mutianyu Great Wall Private Tour with Picnic and Wine

star-4.5
Discover the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, complete with a gourmet picnic inside an ancient tower — a Viator Exclusive that cannot be booked anywhere else. Follow your guide up the Great Wall while hearing insightful commentary about this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your lunch features tasty local dishes and sparkling wine that you enjoy while gazing at the views. Upon your return to Beijing, have the option to get dropped off at the amazing 798 Art Zone.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$ 190.94
Price varies by group size
From
US$ 190.94
Price varies by group size

3-Day Private Hiking Adventure on the Great Wall: Gubeikou, Jinshanling and Simatai

3-Day Private Hiking Adventure on the Great Wall: Gubeikou, Jinshanling and Simatai

star-5
Discover one of the Seven New Wonders of the World on this private 3-day hiking adventure along the Great Wall of China, including accommodation and meals. Hike along famous sections of the UNESCO-listed wall at Gubeikou, Jinshanling and Simatai, and escape the crowds as you visit nearby villages and discover sections of the original wall. Covering between 4 and 10 miles (6 and 16 km) each day, the hikes are moderate and a back-up vehicle is available en-route.
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  • 3 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$ 755.00
Price varies by group size
From
US$ 755.00
Price varies by group size

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

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

star-4.5
Discover some of China’s most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites on a full-day VIP tour of the Forbidden City and the Badaling Great Wall Ruins from Beijing. Accompanied by an accomplished guide, catch a rare glimpse of two less public sites in the Forbidden City and explore the Treasure Gallery and Clock Exhibition Hall of the Palace Museum in relative solitude. Then, venture to the atmospheric Ruins of the Great Wall to gain fascinating insight into China’s greatest engineering achievement. Feast upon a bounteous feast of Peking duck to conclude this enriching and exclusive experience.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$ 199.00
From
US$ 199.00
Taking safety measures

Great Wall Hiking Tour from Beijing: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Great Wall Hiking Tour from Beijing: Simatai West to Jinshanling

star-5
Uncover the ancient mysteries of China’s Great Wall on a full-day small-group hiking tour from Beijing. Accompanied by an expert guide, trace the compelling curve of the wall, delving into the heritage of Simatai West and Jinshanling. Revitalize with an authentic Chinese meal cooked by local farmers and receive a certificate of completion to immortalize your achievement. Enjoy personalized attention from your guide on this small-group tour.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$ 301.34
Price varies by group size
From
US$ 301.34
Price varies by group size

Private Tour: Ice Lantern Festival and Badaling Great Wall

Private Tour: Ice Lantern Festival and Badaling Great Wall

Beijing recently became the only city to host both the summer and winter Olympics; see the 2022 Winter Olympic zone on this private tour from Beijing, which also includes a tour of the Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival and the Badaling Great Wall. Complete this tour with a Chinese dinner.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$ 218.00
Price varies by group size
From
US$ 218.00
Price varies by group size

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

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

star-3
Escape the tourist crowds of China’s Great Wall and discover the untouched sections of one of the world’s wonders on a 2-day hiking adventure from Beijing. Accompanied by an expert guide, explore the exquisitely preserved Jiankou, Mutianyu, Jinshanling and Simatai West sections as you hike amid spectacular scenery. See colossal towers and ancient structures dating back to the Ming dynasty and revitalize with delicious Chinese meals throughout your adventure. Relax over home-cooked dumpling meals at a local farmer’s house.
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  • 2 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$ 517.34
Price varies by group size
From
US$ 517.34
Price varies by group size

Beijing Hot Spring Experience with Great Wall or Forbidden City Option

Beijing Hot Spring Experience with Great Wall or Forbidden City Option

star-5
This private tour gives you the opportunity to choose to see the Great Wall of China from the village of Huanghuacheng or to opt for a Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City visit. With either option, stop for a traditional Chinese lunch at a local restaurant, and enjoy a Hot Springs spa treatment at Jiuhua Resort, including a full-body massage. Plus, this tour makes planning easier on you with round-trip transport included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$ 317.87
Price varies by group size
From
US$ 317.87
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Overnight Tour: Hiking to Jiankou Great Wall with Dumpling Cooking Experience in A Local Farmer's House

Private Overnight Tour: Hiking to Jiankou Great Wall with Dumpling Cooking Experience in A Local Farmer's House

Hike from Mutianyu to Jiankou is a better way to get the authentic experience of the Great Wall.  Besides hiking, you will also have a chance to explore one of local farmer's villages near by the Wall. You will learn how to cook Chinese dumplings from a farmer family.  Then, you will have a overnight stay in their guesthouse.
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  • 2 days
From
US$ 429.00
Price varies by group size
From
US$ 429.00
Price varies by group size


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