For the more adventurous at heart, spend two days hiking along a lesser-visited portion of the Great Wall. Start your hike at the Gubeikou section and hike west to Jinshanling. Parts of the wall are covered with vegetation, and you hike along a trail in some portions. Overnight at a hotel near the wall and hike the rest of the way to Simatai the next day. Enjoy breathtaking views on this active addition to any China trip!
Admire Jinshanling, considered to be the most well-preserved section of the Great Wall
Spend two days hiking along a lesser-visited portion of the Great Wall
Relax in a comfortable hotel offering the closest location to the wall for hikers
Meet your guide this morning in your Beijing hotel lobby shortly after breakfast and drive 2.5 hours to Gubeikou, the starting point of today's trek. This section of the wall was originally built in 1378 to assist in China's defense of the Mongols from the North. Set amidst the Panlon (Hidden Dragon) and Woho (Crouching Tiger) Mountains, follow past Gubeikou's numerous watch towers and garrisons. Half way through, wind your way into a valley through several farms to bypass a military area, before rejoining the wall at the Jinshanling section. Named after the Jinshan Mountains it straddles, this section holds nearly 70 watchtowers built in different architectural styles. Look carefully as you hike and you may spot old poems and stories etched into the brick. The 5-6 hour trek concludes with your arrival and descent at Jinshanling's main gate and a short walk to the nearby hotel. This basic yet comfortable hotel offers the closest location to the wall for hikers.
Hiking Distance: 10-13 km (6-8.5 miles). Moderate to difficult with uphill & downhill trails.
Day 2: Jinshanling Great Wall, Return Beijing
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Today, check out of your hotel and meet up at the gate to continue trekking on the wall where you left off the previous day. The Jinshanling section is considered by many scholars to be the most well-preserved section of the Great Wall as most of its original features remain intact. The first two hours of your 4-5 hour trek ascends along the Great Wall with impressive scenery on either side. Arrive to Dongkou at the eastern end of the Jinshanling Great Wall, and take a path downhill towards Simatai, a section of the wall that was blocked off from the Jinshanling section. Arrive at your vehicle in the parking lot and drive the hour and a half back to Beijing.
Hiking Distance: 8-10 km (4-6 miles). Moderate to difficult with steep uphill and downhill trails.
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.