Hiking in Jiankou Great Wall

hiking in jiankou great wall

The Jiankou section of the Great Wall of China is a popular hiking destination known for its rugged beauty and stunning views. Located in the Huairou District of Beijing, this particular section of the Great Wall offers a more challenging and adventurous experience compared to other well-restored sections.

Location and Accessibility: The Jiankou section is situated approximately 73 kilometers north of Beijing and can be reached by road in around two to three hours. It is easily accessible and attracts both domestic and international hikers.

Historical Significance: Dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Jiankou section is renowned for its original and unrestored state. This section is characterized by its steep cliffs, crumbling walls, and unique architecture, making it a favorite among photographers and history enthusiasts.

Hiking Routes: There are several hiking routes available at Jiankou, each offering a distinct experience. Here are three popular routes:

  • a. Jiankou to Mutianyu: This route is one of the most common options. It starts from the Jiankou section, where hikers can enjoy the challenging ascent along rugged paths, steep slopes, and jagged cliffs. The hike continues until it connects with the Mutianyu section, which is a partially restored portion of the Great Wall. From there, hikers can either descend or continue hiking to enjoy the well-preserved Mutianyu section.
  • b. Jiankou to Xizhazi: This route is longer and more challenging than the Jiankou to Mutianyu route. It begins at Jiankou and extends further west to the Xizhazi village. Along the way, hikers will encounter steep inclines, dense forests, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. This route is recommended for experienced hikers seeking a more remote and less crowded experience.
  • c. Jiankou Loop: The Jiankou Loop is a circular route that combines the Jiankou section with the nearby Zhengbeilou Watchtower. This route offers a diverse range of terrains, including steep ascents, narrow paths, and picturesque watchtowers. It provides hikers with a comprehensive exploration of the Jiankou section and its surroundings.

Difficulty Level: Hiking the Jiankou section requires a moderate to high level of physical fitness and hiking experience. The trails can be steep, narrow, and uneven, often requiring careful navigation. It is essential to wear proper hiking shoes, carry sufficient water, and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Highlights and Scenic Spots: The Jiankou section offers breathtaking natural beauty and stunning panoramic views. Some of the notable highlights and scenic spots include:

  • Eagle Flies Facing Upward: This iconic feature resembles an eagle spreading its wings. It provides a stunning viewpoint and is a popular spot for photography.
  • Beijing Knot: This is where the Jiankou section connects with the Mutianyu section. The contrast between the unrestored and restored portions of the wall creates a unique visual experience.
  • Zhengbeilou Watchtower: Located near the Jiankou section, this watchtower offers a commanding view of the surrounding mountains and the Great Wall snaking across the landscape.

Safety Considerations: Hiking the Jiankou section requires careful attention to safety. Some key considerations include:

  • Hiking with a guide: It is highly recommended to hire a local guide or join a reputable hiking group who are familiar with the terrain and can provide assistance.
  • Adequate preparation: Carry essential hiking gear, including proper footwear, sun protection, extra clothing layers, sufficient water, and snacks.
  • Weather conditions: Check the weather forecast before embarking on the hike. The Jiankou section can be subject to extreme temperatures, so it’s important to dress accordingly and carry sunscreen or warm clothing, depending on the season.
  • Stay on designated paths: While the allure of exploring the unrestored sections may be tempting, it’s crucial to stick to designated hiking paths for safety reasons. Some areas of the Jiankou section can be unstable or have loose stones, so avoiding risky detours is essential.
  • Inform others of your plans: Before starting your hike, inform a reliable person about your itinerary, expected return time, and emergency contact details. This ensures that someone knows your whereabouts in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
  • Be cautious of your surroundings: Pay attention to your footing and the condition of the trail. Some sections may be steep or slippery, so proceed with caution and use handrails or hiking poles if necessary. Additionally, be mindful of potential hazards, such as loose rocks or branches.
  • Leave no trace: As with any outdoor adventure, practice responsible hiking by leaving no trace behind. Carry out all your trash and respect the natural environment. Preserve the historical integrity of the Great Wall by refraining from damaging or removing any artifacts.

By following these safety guidelines, hikers can enjoy an exhilarating and rewarding experience while exploring the Jiankou section of the Great Wall.

Remember, hiking in the Jiankou section requires preparation, physical fitness, and respect for the environment. It offers an opportunity to connect with history, witness awe-inspiring vistas, and challenge yourself amidst the majestic beauty of the Great Wall of China.

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