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Best Times to Visit the Great Wall of China | Weather, Scenery and Packing

Best Times to Visit the Great Wall of China | Weather, Scenery and Packing

Written by Sunny XieUpdated Apr. 28, 2022

The Great Wall of China has spectacular views at all times of the year, but the best time to visit is in the fall (September–November), with less rain, comfortable temperatures, and more clear days for you to enjoy hiking and photography.

As most people visit the Great Wall sections near Beijing, this article is focused on that area. Follow the guideline below:

Great Wall Weather and Best Time to Visit

Great Wall Weather: What Scenery to Expect

Spring (March-May) — Warm and Fresh

Great Wall in SpringGreat Wall in Spring

Weather: The weather in spring in Beijing is delightful. March is still quite chilly to hike on the Great Wall. April and May are the recommended time when the daytime temperature is on average 11–24°C (52–75°F). However, it can be windy and there are sometimes dust storms in the city.

Scenery: The plants on the mountains turn green, and the blossoming flowers make the fresh spring Great Wall vistas even more beautiful.

Clothing: Take a warm jacket as the mountains are cooler than in the city, especially in the mornings and evenings.

Recommended Great Wall Tours in Spring:

Summer (June-August) — Hot and Crowded

Great Wall in SummerGreat Wall in Summer

Weather: Summer in Beijing is usually hot with sizzling temperatures at noon in the city. However, the Great Wall is cooler as it's higher up, away from all the concrete, and it gets more rain. Its average high temperature is 30°C (86°F).
July and August are the months when most of the year's rain falls, so expect some downpours. Beware of thunderstorms.

Scenery: Blooming flowers dot the mountains and leaves turn dark green. The Great Wall snakes its way like a silver necklace, standing out clearly in the strong mountain sunlight. Everything looks better in the bright sun, but it may be too bright/hazy for the best photography.

Clothing: Pack for sun and rain. Bring sunglasses, sun cream, and a hat to protect you from the strong sunlight. But, bring waterproofs in case of rain. Umbrellas can be awkward on steep, wild, Great Wall sections, especially in wind, otherwise, they're fine. If you’re going to hike on the Great Wall, we recommended you take two fast-drying T-shirts and a pair of hiking boots or sports shoes.

Sun Protection: There are no trees or bushes on the Great Wall to provide you with cool shade. The only shade you'll find is when you arrive at the beacon towers on the Great Wall. It is necessary to take sun protection, like a hat, a pair of sunglasses, and sunscreen cream, with you.

Recommended Great Wall Tours in Summer:

Autumn (September-November) — Cool and Clear

Great Wall in AutumnGreat Wall in Autumn

Weather: Fall is often recommended as the best season to visit the Great Wall. The weather is generally comfortable, though changeable. The sky is often deep blue and clear, offering the best chance to see the Great Wall snaking off into the distance. The average temperature range is 8–18°C (46–64°F).

Scenery: When fall comes, the mountains are blanketed by colors of red, golden, yellow, and brown, creating amazing views, which complement the grays and paler colors of the Great Wall well.

Clothing: Pack a warm jacket, as it can be quite cool in the mountains, especially in the mornings and evenings and if you camp there.

Recommended Great Wall Tours in Autumn:

Winter (December-February) — Cold and Windy

Great Wall in WinterGreat Wall in Winter

Weather: Beijing is cold and dry with occasional snow in winter. The temperature is usually below freezing, averaging -10–4°C (14–41°F).

Scenery: The mountains and the Wall itself are often covered with snow in winter, offering awesome snowy scenes.

Clothing: Prepare down jackets, thick windproof trousers, long johns, sweaters, hats, and gloves. You might also need a mask/scarf to protect your nose on windy days, snow glasses to protect your eyes, and snow boots or crampons. 

Recommended Great Wall Tours in Winter:

Choosing the Best Times to Meet your Travel Needs

When your travel needs meet the right time, you will have a better travel experience, that should yield fantastic memories that last a lifetime.  

The best times for pleasant weather: September and October

The best times for avoiding crowds: early September (when school is just started), December to March 

The best times for snow-capped Great Wall views: mid-November to March 

The best times at different Great Wall sections:

  • Mutianyu or Badalingvisit in the afternoon to miss the large Chinese groups.
  • Simatai: visit in the evening when the Wall is lit up.
  • Jinshanling or Gubeikou: depart for the Wall in the early morning to ensure enough time for hiking or more great photos on the Wall.
Visit Simatai Great Wall in the evening when the Wall is lit upVisit Simatai Great Wall in the evening when the Wall is lit up.

The Worst Times to Visit the Great Wall

Try to avoid the following dates, when traffic jams, over-crowding, transport stress, and high prices will affect your experience.  

The Worst Times to Visit the Great WallThe overcrowded Badaling section of the Great Wall

Public Holidays

Public holidays usually last from 3 to 7 days, and these are the golden times for domestic travelers to go for a tour. The public holidays that may affect your Great Wall travel experience are:

Weekends

The Great Wall was built on the mountain ridges that are far from the city, which keeps weekday crowds away. During the weekends, local citizens rush to the suburbs to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. You will not only find the traffic busy on the way but also more crowds on the Wall.   

Summer Vacations

The Great Wall is very popular with families from mid-July to late August when children are out of school.

How to Escape the Crowds at the Great Wall

What if your Great Wall travel dates meet the worst times? Follow the suggestions below to avoid crowds on the Great Wall.

Depart early in the morning, and be the first to climb the Wall on that day.

Or plan a late arrival (around 2 hours before closing time). Though you may need to have a quick walk on the Wall, you get nice pictures with fewer people. Or maybe enjoy a breathtaking sunset if the weather allows.

Visit comparatively less-crowded sections like Jiankou, Simatai, Jinshanling... More on different sections of the Great Wall, and which one(s) to choose>>>

Recommended Great Wall Tours with Fewer Crowds:

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