Top 9 Sections of the Great Wall to Visit in Beijing

Written by Sally Guo Updated Apr. 6, 2021

With a total length of 21,196 kilometers, it’s estimated the Great Wall would take an average visitor 18 months to walk. But generally, no matter how interested you are in exploring the wall, it is unlikely for you to have 18 months spare to do this hike.

So which sections should you choose to see? This article lists general information about the best sections of the Great Wall to visit. 

Best great wall sections to visit in Beijing
Best great wall sections to visit in Beijing

1. Mutianyu: Fully-Restored, Most Child-Friendly Section

The Mutianyu Section has a better-restored shape with the most intense watchtowers compared to other sections. 

This longest fully-restored section of the Great Wall was rebuilt with smooth and even steps, which are child-friendly. Former First Lady Michelle Obama visited it. 

 It is quiet with fewer travelers compared to the Badaling Great Wall section. 

The Mutianyu Section
The Mutianyu Section

2. Jinshanling: Most Popular Section for Hiking

The wall at Jingshanling is partially repaired with many authentic watch towers on the wall. Jinshanling is known for its high density of watchtowers, with 67 well-preserved watchtowers along 6.5 miles (10.5 km) of the wall. 

It is the most popular hiking route. On the way, you will climb steep steps and go through authentic watch towers. 

The scenery is BreathtakingMost of the stunning Great Wall pictures are taken in this section. The section spans along a mountain ridge, offering a beautiful backdrop and amazing panoramic views.

Jinshanling Great Wall
Jinshanling Great Wall

3. Simatai: The Section Opens at Night

Simatai is a steep section of the unrepaired Great Wall. Some part of it is very steep which close to that in the Jiankou Great Wall.  It traverses clifftop mountains and dips into valleys; however, it is safer than the Jiankou. 

The wall opens at night with the Great Wall illuminated by lights tracing along the mountain ridges, creating an enchanting spectacle. 

At the foot of the wall lies Gubei Water Town. There you can enjoy a serene boat ride or even choose to stay overnight for a uniquely tranquil night. 

Recommended tourNight Tour on Unrestored Wild Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall
Simatai Great Wall

4. Jiankou: Steepest and Most Challenging Section

Jiankou is famous for its steepness. It is a largely untouched wild wall with some parts completely crumbled and collapsed.

Jiankou is extremely steep and challenging, with slopes over 80 degrees; some parts are closed due to danger.

The scenery of the wall is dramatic with the grey wall ruins meandering through mountain peaks.

Recommended tour: 1-day Jiankou Great Wall Hiking Tour

Jiankou Great Wall
Jiankou Great Wall

5. Huanghuacheng

The Huanghuacheng Great Wall is located beside a lake. It forms a unique blend of the ancient wall and the lake scenery.  Sections of the wall lead directly into the water so this great wall section is also called the"Water Great Wall".

The wall is stunning in spring when the mountains are covered in wildflowers.   

The Huanghuacheng Great Wall is easily accessible yet less crowded compared to sections like Badaling and Mutianyu. 

Huanghuacheng Great Wall
Huanghuacheng Great Wall

6. Gubeikou: a Gentle Wild Wall

The Gubeikou Great Wall is a completely unrepaired section. However, It features gentle slopes and is not very challenging. It is suitable for family trips, including children. 

Thanks to its strategic position, this place served as a battlefield for over 130 wars between Chinese royal families and marauding Mongol tribesmen.

The Gubeikou Great Wall is close to some other famous sections such as Jinshanling, Simatai, and Jiankou. The Gubeikou to Jinshanling hiking route is very popular among hikers. If you want to explore more, you can even extend your hiking trip to Simatai.  

This section of the wall is very quiet with much fewer travelers, compared to more popular sections like Badaling, and Mutianyu.  

Remember to find an experienced local guide when you visit this section of the Wall because without knowing the stories of battles that happened here, the site won’t really come alive to you.

Gubeikou Great Wall
Gubeikou Great Wall

7. Juyongguan - the Wall closest to Beijing

Juyongguan Great Wall is close to Beijing, which is only about 37 miles (60 km) from Beijing. 

This section has numerous relics and ruins that showcase the wall's military history.

Because it is close to Beijing, this section of the wall is always crowded. 

Juyongguan Great Wall
Juyongguan Great Wall

8. Huangyaguan: The Great Wall Marathon Site

Huangyaguan Great Wall is well repaired. The Great Wall Marathon is held on the Huangyaguan Great Wall each year in May.

It is the quietest repaired Great Wall section. You will find almost no travelers on the way. 


Huangyaguan Great Wall
Huangyaguan Great Wall

9. Badaling: Most Crowded Section

Badaling Great Wall
Badaling Great Wall

Explore the Great Wall with China Travel

The Great Wall is definitely a must for any travelers to Beijing. Join China Travel to explore this majestic ancient wonder. Experience its grandeur and admire the stunning scenery while walking or hiking. Contact us now to book a Great Wall tour.

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