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

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

By Chris QuanUpdated Dec. 27, 2021

Though the Great Wall is over 6,000 kilometers long the best 10 sections to visit are near Beijing: 1) the best-restored, Mutianyu, 2) the most beautiful, Jinshanling, 3) the wildest, Jiankou, 4) Simatai, 5) Huanghuacheng, 6) Gubeikou, 7) Juyongguan, 8) Huangyaguan, 9) Shanhai Pass, and by far the most crowded 10) Badaling.

Beijing Accessibility & Restrictions for Visitors

Beijing is conditionally open and can be visited by foreign travelers. If you are planning a trip to Beijing and want to know more details, please contact us. Alternatively, you can check our popular Beijing tours for inspiration.

1. What you will need to visit:

  • Green health code
  • Mask
  • Registration form for temporary residence (required by hotels)

2. If you come from areas with medium or high risk, you need to be quarantined for seven days.

3. Popular attractions that are open include (but are not limited to):

  • The Forbidden City (including indoor exhibition halls)
  • The Great Wall
  • The Temple of Heaven
  • The Summer Palace

 Contact us for updated travel information

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

Recommended Tours:

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 tour: 1-Day Beijing Highlights Tour with the Great Wall at Mutianyu

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

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2. Jinshanling - most popular Great Wall hiking route

Jinshanlling Great WallJinshanling 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 Private Great Wall Hiking Trip at Jinshanling

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

Recommended Tours:

3. Jiankou - totally wild; the most challenging/steep section

Jiankou Great WallJiankou 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 Tour: 1-Day Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Hiking Tour

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

 recommend destinations for China winter tour

4. Simatai - the only section opened for a night tour

Simatai Great Wall

The Simatai section incorporates different characteristics of each section of the Great Wall. And visitors can have a night tour on 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

Continue to read: Incredible architectural features of the Simatai Great Wall section

Most Popular Simatai Great Wall Tour: 4-Day Great Wall Night Tour

Recommended Tours:

5. Huanghuacheng - unique wall and water 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.

Recommended Huanghuacheng Great Wall tour: 2 Days Huanghuacheng Great Wall Camping Tour


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.

Recommended Tours:

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

  • 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 - where the Great Wall meets the sea

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

Recommended Tours:

10. Badaling - the most popular section among Chinese tourists

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

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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.

In Beijing Municipality:

In Hebei Province:

In Tianjin Municipality:

In Liaoning Province:

Recommended Tours:

The Best Way to Explore China's Great Wall

great wall hiking

The best way to explore the Great Wall is to travel with a professional guide. Your guide will presents the Wall's history, shows you the best photo spots, and generally makes your trip enjoyable. Read more Great Wall hiking information.

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:

Contact us for updated travel informationcontact-us-updated-travel-information

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