The Great Wall at Gubeikou was built along a mountain range, rising and falling. An important Great Wall pass, it retains its original bricks and stones from two separate dynasties, well-preserved and unrestored.
Important Facts You Should Not Miss
- Chinese: 古北口 Gǔběikǒu /goo-bay-koh/ 'Ancient North Pass'
- 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.
- Facilities: None
- Best times to go: spring and autumn
Where Is It - 2 hours' drive from Beijing
The Gubeikou Great Wall section is in and around Gubeikou District Town, 50 km northeast of Miyun County, and about 130 km northeast of downtown Beijing. This section is between the Baimaguan and Jinshanling sections. Hiking east, you will first reach Jinshanling, then Simatai.
Who Built it and When
Northern Qi Dynasty: The earliest Great Wall construction began in 556 during the Northern Qi Dynasty, but it was built with dirt and stone, and it's not well preserved. The best preserved watchtower of the Northern Qi Great Wall there is 'Big Flower Tower' (Dahualou).
Ming Dynasty: After about 800 years, in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), the Gubeikou Great Wall was extended and enhanced with more beacon towers and pass gates. The last construction took place in 1567. No rebuilding or renovation was done since then.
Features of Gubeikou
This section is built along the Yan Mountains, and the Chao River, where the town of Gubeikou is, divides it into two distinct parts. It was a key pass between ancient China and Mongol territory. It protected ancient China from Mongol/Manchu invasion from the north.
Gubeikou's Great Wall retains its original composition. It's a wild Great Wall section. The scenery is not as spectacular as at Jinshanling or Simatai. But this section is perhaps more interesting historically.
Two Different Parts Compose the Gubeikou Section
The Gubeikou section of the Great Wall of China contains relics:
- Wohushan (卧虎山 Wòhǔshān /wor-hoo-shan/ 'Reclining Tiger Mountain')
- Panlongshan (蟠龙山Pánlóngshān 'Coiling Dragon Mountain')
The Wohushan Part
The Wohushan length of Great Wall is 4.8 km (3 mi) long, west of Gubeikou Town. The highlight of Wohushan are the 'Sister Towers' (姐妹楼 Jiěmèilóu /jyeah-may-loh/), two watchtowers that stand close to each other. At the river side, these two towers look like two sisters standing by the river hand in hand.
The Panlongshan Part
The Panlongshan part of Gubeikou's Great Wall is about 5 km long, east of Gubeikou Town. Panlongshan was once said to include Jinshanling and Simatai West. General Tower and 24-Eye Tower are the highlights of the Panlongshan Wall.
24-Eye Tower (二十四眼楼 Èrshísìyǎnlóu /err-shrr-srr-yen-loh/) had 24 observation windows, six on each side, which was rarely seen at other sections. But only the west and south walls remain. Hikers continue from there to the Jinshanling section, as it at the east end of Gubeikou, where it meets Jinshanling at Longyukou (龙裕口 Lóngyùkǒu /long-yoo-koh/ 'Dragon Abundance Pass').
24-Eye Tower is about the 20th (relatively intact) tower on Gubeikou East, and the highest at over 400m altitude, presiding over Longyukou pass. The first 2 km of Gubeikou's wall from the town has virtually no towers standing.
- 2-Day Great Wall Mutianyu-Simatai Day-Night Tour
- 1-Day Jinshanling Great Wall Hiking Tour
- 1-Day Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Hiking Tour
Travel to Gubeikou Independently
There is no direct transport from Beijing to Gubeikou.
You could take a Beijing–Chengde train (e.g. K7717) to Miyunbei Station. Then take town bus 密6 to Dongcaiyuan Xiaoqu (东菜园小区). Walk to 300m east to Changcheng Huandao ('Great Wall Traffic Island'), south then southeast 150m, keeping on the right side of the road and taking the first exit from the traffic island. There you'll find a stop with bus 密25 to Gubeikou station.
Or take bus 980 from Dongzhimen Station to Miyun Station, then Miyun bus 密25 to Gubeikou.
Tour with China Highlights — hassle-free and flexible
There are lots of challenges and inconvenience with self travel, especially if you don't know these areas well.
A private tour, with experienced tour guide and driver, will mean you won't have to waste time on transport, getting lost, or worrying about emergencies. We offer a one-to-one tour guide service, where one tour guide is responsible for one tourist's safety, if needed.
Tailor-Made A Gubeikou Tour
If you are interested in hiking more of the wild Great Wall, please see our 5-Day Jiankou to Simatai West Hiking Tour. This tour contains the three top wild Great Wall sections around Beijing: Jiankou (the steepest section), Gubeikou, Simatai West, and also the most beautiful section, Jinshanling.
- 3-Day Jiankou to Jinshanling Great Wall Hiking Discovery Tour
- 2-Day Jiankou Wild Great Wall Camping Tour
- 5-Day Huangyaguan to Huanghuacheng Great Wall Hiking Tour
Preparing to Hike at Gubeikou
Hiking at Gubeikou is moderate, with some steep steps and uneven surfaces. There are no cable cars or surfaced paths. Hikers should climb with companions, and should avoid climbing under bad weather conditions, such as rain and thunderstorms.
What to Wear
Dress for hiking and dress for the weather. Choose comfortable footwear with good grip and support for the feet. Layers of clothes that can be taken on and off allow for greater comfort and temperature control.
Wear/bring sun protection in the summer and dress for sub zero temperatures in the winter. It can feel much colder on the wall than down in the valleys because of altitude and exposure.
What to Bring
Bring breathable waterproofs for protection from rain and wind. Umbrellas may be used here as the ascents and descents are not difficult, but may be inconvenient in strong winds. Bring a camera and money for souvenirs and refreshments. Bring snacks and water if you want to walk a long portion of the wall.