Great Wall Sections
1. Badaling — the most popular section
Distance from Beijing: 72 kilometers (45 miles), 2 hours
Restoration: From 1953
Open: Summer: 6:30am–7pm; Winter: 7am–6pm.
Features: This section of the Great Wall has been open to the public the longest (since 1957, after some restoration work). It is the best preserved and the most popular of all the sections. It commands fine views of mountain scenery below, and has been visited by over 300 world celebrities such as Richard Nixon and Margaret Thatcher.
Facilities: Cable cars, Great Wall Museum, a circular-screen cinema, shopping and dining facilities, and some wheelchair access.
Typical tour time: 2 hours (3 hours in the peak season)
Eating: Badaling Hotel Restaurant, McDonald's, Yonghe King, Great Wall Commune Restaurant, and Jindian Friendship Restaurant.
Hotels: Badaling Hotel and Great Wall Commune.
Activities: Walking tours of the Wall, Badaling Great Wall Red Leaves Ecological Festival
- Badaling Great Wall and Ming Tombs Beijing Day Tour.
- Summer Palace & Badaling Great Wall Beijing Day Tour
2. Mutianyu — the longest fully-restored section
Distance from Beijing: 73 kilometers (45 miles), 1½ hours drive.
Restoration: Completely rebuilt to its original glory for your safety and enjoyment.
Open: All the year round, 7:30am–5:30pm
Features: A superb example of Great Wall fortifications, Mutianyu is uniquely designed with watchtowers and fortresses densely located along its length, and crenellations on both sides. First Lady Michelle Obama has visited it.
Facilities: Cable cars up/down and roller coaster carts down
Eating: The Schoolhouse/Subway
Hotels: Brickyard Eco Retreat, Home of the Great Wall.
Activities: Sightseeing, hiking
See Why Visit Mutianyu.
3. Simata — the most steep and dangerous section
Distance from Beijing: 120 kilometers (75 miles), 2 hours 15 minutes drive.
Restoration: Simatai has just undergone major restoration work to make it safer and more accessible.
Features: Steep and inspiring, Simatai was acknowledged as a World Heritage Site in 1987. The red leaves there are a fine sight in fall.
Facilities: Cable cars (80 yuan one-way ticket, 120 yuan round-trip); battery carts: 10 yuan one-way between the entrance and the Great Wall.
Open: All the year around, 8am–5pm
Eating: At farmhouses
Hotels: Youth Hotel at the foot of the Great Wall.
Activities: Hiking, photography
See Why Visit Simatai.
- 4-Day Jiankou to Simatai West Great Wall Hiking Tour
- 5-Day Jiankou to Simatai West Great Wall Hiking Tour
4. Jinshanling — a popular hiking route
Distance from Beijing: 154 kilometers (96 miles), 2 hours 10 minutes drive.
Restoration: Half restored and half wild
Features: There are well-preserved wall and dense fortifications and restored beacon towers.
Facilities: Cable car
Open: All the year around, 8am–5pm.
Eating: Jinshan Hotel
Hotels: Jinshan Hotel
5. Gubeikou — a totally wild and unrestored section
Distance from Beijing: 146 kilometers (90 miles), 2 hours drive.
Restoration: Wild, it is totally in its natural appearance.
Open: All the year around, all day. Entry costs 25 yuan.
Features: It boasts untouched Great Wall without any renovation, with Crouching Tiger Mountain in the west and Entwining Dragon Mountain in the east, with the former rather steep and latter relatively gentle.
Facilities: Cable cars
Eating: At farmhouses
Hotels: Farmhouses. There is an amazing Boutique Guesthouse called Great Wall Box House with 4–5 rooms and a courtyard with ruined ancient walls.
See Why Visit Gubeikou.
6. Jiankou — a totally wild and most dangerous section
Distance from Beijing: 100 kilometers (62 miles), 2 hours 50 minutes drive.
Restoration: None, completely wild.
Open: Not officially open to the public, but local villagers charge visitors 20 yuan per person.
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".
Eating: At farmhouses
Activities: A great section for keen photographers and those who want to challenge themselves on a hike.
Warning: Jiankou section is definitely not recommended for seniors, kids, and people suffering from vertigo. Evaluate the risk before heading to the Wall.
See Why Visit Jiankou.
7. Huangyaguan — an annual marathon race site
Distance from Beijing: 118 kilometers (73 miles), 3 hours drive.
Restoration: Fully restored.
Features: The Great Wall Marathon is held on Huangyaguan's Great Wall each May.
Facilities: Farm houses and hotels around provide dining and accommodation.
Typical tour time: 1½–2 hours
Eating: There are farmer-owned restaurants providing local food.
Hotels: Huangya Villa
8. Huanghuacheng — the unique section with wall immersed in the water
Distance from Beijing: 75 kilometers (47 miles), 1½ hours drive.
Restoration: Most parts have been restored, with a few wild parts.
Features: Some parts of the wall are immersed in the water, and there is a 500-year-old Ming Dynasty chestnut orchard at the foot of the wall.
Facilities: Cruise boats
Open: All the year around
Eating: At farmhouses
Activities: Hiking, camping (May–September recommended)
9. Juyongguan — the First Pass under Heaven
Distance from Beijing: 60 kilometers (37 miles), 1½ hours drive.
Restoration: From 1992
Open: Peak season 8am–17pm; low season: 8:30am–4pm.
Features: An 18-kilometer canyon winds its way alongside Juyongguan's Great Wall section, where peaks rise one behind another. It boasts of being ‘the First Pass under Heaven', and is the closest section to Beijing.
Facilities: Hotels around provide dining and accommodation.
Typical tour time: 1½-2 hours
Eating: Great Wall Commune, Jindian Friendship Restaurant
Hotels: Juyongguan Great Wall Hotel Beijing, Juyongguang Youth Hotel
- 4-Day Essence of Beijing Tour A from $445*
- See the top sights of Beijing, including the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
- 6-Day Great Wall Hiking Around Beijing Tour from $885*
- Includes Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, Simatai and Huangya Pass.
- 8-Day Essence of China Tour – Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai from $1463*
- See the top sights of China's Golden Triangle, including the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
- more Great Wall Tours *Prices based on 2 persons
Hi Christine, how long will you stay in China, please? The Jiayuguan Great Wall is far far away from Beijing. It is in Gansu Province which is about 1500km. There is no direct fligh from Beijing to Jiayuguan. You will have to transit in Xian or other city. It almost takes one day on the way. If your time permits, we would like to work out an itinerary for your reference.
Besides the Mutianyu Great Wall in Beijing, we also recommend the Forbidden City, the Tain'anmen Square, Temple of Heaven, the traditional local residence Hutong, the Summer Palace, etc.
For more Great Wall sections in Beijing, the wilder sections of the Great Wall such as Jinshanling Great Wall, Gubeikou Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall, and Jiankou Great Wall are also suggested. And they are just in the suburb of Beijing, no need to fly several hours to get there.Whitney Liao Replied on 02:45 AM Mar. 05 2014
Hi Rebecca, yes, you can. Welcome.Whitney Liao Replied on 04:08 AM Feb. 21 2014
There are five sections of the Great Wall recommended in Beijing, Badaling, Juyongguan, Mutianyu, Jinshanling and Simatai sections.
The first two are nearer (1.5 hrs away from the downtown), Badaling is the first section open to the tourists and it’s best-preserved, it is more famous and attracts more tourists, so it would get very crowded in peak seasons.
Juyongguan is famous for its steepness and magnificence, but it isn’t equipped with round way cable cars, senior tourists and young children may not enjoy the tour fully.
Mutianyu is also well-known, but it is less crowded and tourists on the section have greater views on the Wall.
For the last two ones, they are far (3 hrs) but are the least developed ones and it is perfect to take a hiking trip for energetic tourists from Jinshanling to Simatai (lasts for about 4.5 hrs). But Simatai is closed at present.Carol Wang Replied on 7:59 PM Jan. 28 2014
Hi Shelley, may i know how many persons are there in your group and when do you plan to do the tour? I will send you a proposal when i have the information.
Simon Huang Replied on 9:11 PM Nov. 06 2013