Home China Guide The Great Wall of China The Best 10 Sections/Parts of the Great Wall to Visit

The Best 10 Sections/Parts of the Great Wall to Visit

The Great Wall of China starts beyond Jiayuguan in China’s northwest, passing over deserts and grasslands, going along mountain ridges, and finally ends in Hushan in Liaoning Province 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 around Beijing’s north and east. We list the top ten below in order of recommendation, followed by a listing of Great Wall sections throughout China that are open for tourism.

great wall close to Beijing

1. Mutianyu — the most magnificent fully-restored Great Wall section

The Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall

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 — most popular Great Wall hiking route

Jinshanling Great Wall

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

Recommended tour: 1-Day Great Wall Hiking between Jinshanling and Simatai 

Continue to read: The breathtaking vista  of the Great Wall at Jinshanling.

3. Jiankou — totally wild; the most dangerous/steep 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: Incredible architectural features of the Simatai Great Wall section

5. Huanghuacheng — unique wall and reservoir scenery

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 - Wild Wall, Ancient Battle Site

Gubeikou Great Wall
  • 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 Great Wall forts

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

Continue to Read: Secrets to China's ancient military stronghold in Juyongguan Pass.

8. Huangyaguan — an annual Great Wall 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

Continue to read: What makes Huangyaguan a Great Wall marathon site

9. Shanhai Pass — the Most Important Pass of the Great Wall

The wall meets the sea at Shanhai Pass
  • Location: Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, 3½ 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

Continue to read: The big crowds and fabulous scenery of the Badaling Great Wall

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

Visit the Great Wall of China with China Highlights

Jinshanling Great Wall

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