Home China Guide The Great Wall of China Great Wall Sections - Which Section to Visit

Great Wall Sections - Which Section to Visit

The Great Wall of China starts from Jiayuguan in China’s west, passing over deserts and grasslands, going along mountain ridges, and finally ends in Shanhaiguan on China’s east coast. It has a length of over 6,000 kilometers.

The Most Popular Sections of the Great Wall of China Are Close to Beijing.

1. Mutianyu — longest fully-restored Great Wall section

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The Mutianyu section is the most popular among foreign travelers. This is the most child-friendly section.

  • Location:  73 kilometers (45 miles) from Beijing, 1½ hours drive
  • Features: A superb example of Great Wall fortifications, Mutianyu is uniquely-designed with watchtowers and fortresses densely spaced along its length, and crenellations on both sides. First Lady Michelle Obama has visited it.
  • Activities: sightseeing, hiking
  • Tour Time: half a day
  • Facilities: cable cars up/down and cart railway down

Recommend tours:

See more on why Mutianyu is so popular with foreigner travelers.

2. Jinshanling — a popular hiking route

Jinshanling Great Wall in mists

The Jinshanling section is part of a popular hiking route from Jinshanling to Simatai. The Great Wall at Jinshanling is half restored and half wild. It is also the most beautiful section of the Great Wall.

  • Location: 154 kilometers (96 miles) from Beijing; 2–3 hours drive.
  • Features: half restored and half wild, quiet with fabulous vistas of the wall snaking up and down
  • Activities: hiking, photography
  • Tour Time: a day
  • Facilities: cable car

Read more on the popular hikes and architecture of the Great Wall at Jinshanling.

3. Jiankou — totally wild; the most dangerous section

jiankou great wall

The Jiankou section’s broken wildness and perilous steepness make it the most dangerous section of the Great Wall.

  • Location: 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Beijing, about 3 hours’ drive.
  • Features: Completely original, wild, and untouched, some sections are really steep and dangerous. It winds its way along mountain ridges in the shape of a "W".
  • Activities: photography, serious hiking
  • Tour Time: a day
  • Facilities: none

Most Popular Jiankou Hiking Tours

See how steep and dangerous Jiankou’s Great Wall is.

4. Simatai — the pinnacle of Great Wall architecture

Simatai Great Wall

The Simatai section incorporates different characteristics of each section of the Great Wall.

  • Location: 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Beijing, 2–3 hours’ drive.
  • Features: Steep and inspiring, Simatai was acknowledged as a World Heritage Site in 1987. The red leaves there are a fine sight in fall.
  • Activities: hiking, photography
  • Facilities: cable cars (80 yuan one-way ticket, 120 yuan round-trip); battery carts (10 yuan one-way through Simatai Tourist Village); zip-line to Simatai’s West Wall; boats on the reservoir up to East Tower

Recommended tours:

Continue to read about the unique architectural features of the Simatai Great Wall section.

5. Huanghuacheng — a unique section with wall immersed in reservoirs

huanghuacheng lakeside great wall reserve

Huanghuacheng’s section of the Great Wall is noted for its perfect blend of lake scenery and ancient wall.

  • Location: 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Beijing, 1½ hours’ drive.
  • Features: Some parts of the wall are immersed in water, and there is a 500-year-old Ming Dynasty chestnut orchard at the foot of the wall.
  • Activities: hiking, camping (May–September recommended)
  • Facilities: cruise boats

Read more on Huanghuacheng’s Great Wall section.

6. Gubeikou — a much-attacked section, it remains wild

Gubeikou
  • Location: 146 kilometers (90 miles) from Beijing, 2 hours’ drive.
  • Features: Wild and unrestored, Gubeikou protected an important pass to Beijing from northern Mongol areas. Over 130 battles happened there.
  • Activities: hiking
  • Facilities: None

Find more on why Gubeikou was so important to defending ancient Beijing.

7. Juyongguan — One of the Greatest Forts of the Great Wall

Juyongguan Great Wall
  • Location: 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Beijing, 1½ hours’ drive.
  • Features: The closest section to Beijing, it is wheelchair-friendly, so suitable for handicapped travelers. It is one of the greatest forts defending ancient Beijing. Genghis Khan once led his troops through Juyong Pass during his conquest of Chinese territory.
  • Activities: hiking
  • Typical tour time: 1½-2 hours

Read more on Juyongguan’s mighty fort.

8. Huangyaguan — an annual marathon race site

Huangyaguan Great Wall
  • Location: Ji Country, Tianjin, 3 hours’ drive from Beijing.
  • Features: The Great Wall Marathon is held on Huangyaguan's Great Wall each May.
  • Typical tour time: 2-3 hours
  • Facilities: sightseeing buses to the mountain top

Find more on Huangyaguan.

9. Shanhai Pass — East End of the Great Wall

The wall meets the sea at Shanhai Pass
  • Location: Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, 3.5 – 4 hours’s drive from Beijing.
  • Features: Shanhai Pass was a very strategic pass in the Great Wall of China. It served as a frontier defense against the Manchus. It is the east end of main Ming Dynasty Great Wall, where the Great Wall meets the sea.
  • Tour time: one day

Continue to find out about the military power of ancient China at Shanhai Pass.

10. Badaling — the most crowded Great Wall section

Badaling Great Wall-the most crowded wall
  • Location: 72 kilometers (45 miles) from Beijing, 2 hours’ drive
  • Features: The most popular section among Chinese tourist groups, it is always very crowded.
  • Facilities: cable cars, Great Wall Museum, circular-screen cinema, and some wheelchair access.
  • Tour time: half a day

Read more details on Badaling Great Wall section

All Great Wall Sections

The Great Wall of China crosses nine provinces and municipalities: Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, and Liaoning; over 2,000 km (1,300 mi) in distance, but the length of wall is many times longer.

great wall of china map

In Tianjin Municipality:

Huangya Pass

In Liaoning Province:

Hushan/ Tiger Mountain, Jiumenkou

Visit the Great Wall of China with China Highlights

China Highlights can provide you with a hassle-free private or small-group tour of the Great Wall of China. See below for our most popular Great Wall tours:

Or we can tailor-make a Great Wall tour according to your requirements