The Huanghuacheng Section - the “Lakeside Great Wall”
Huanghuacheng's Great Wall area is a beautiful tourist spot, combining mountains, lakes, and ancient Great Wall of legendary solidity. It is the latest section to become popular with hikers. It provides a challenge for hikers because the paths are steep and out of repair.
Important Facts You Should Know
- Chinese name: 黄花城 Huánghuāchéng /hwung-hwaa-chnng/ 'Yellow Flower City'
- Location: Jiuduhe Town, Huairou District of Beijing City; 70 km (43 mi) north of Central Beijing
- Restoration: Most parts have been restored, with a few wild parts.
- History: The construction lasted 188 years, from 1404 to 1592.
- Length: 13 km (8 mi)
- Activities: Hiking, boating
- Opening hours: 8am–5pm (weekdays), 7:30am–5:30pm (weekends)
- Eating: At farmhouses
- Features: a wild original section, a restored section mainly made of big stone slabs, three sections immersed in water
Huanghuacheng's Purpose: To Protect Emperors - Alive and Dead!
To enhance the defense of the northern border, the emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) built an outer Great Wall and an inner Great Wall. The Huanghuacheng section is part of the inner Great Wall that connects the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in the east, via Jiankou, and Juyong Pass in the west.
Also to protect the mausoleum: After Emperor Yongle began his reign in the capital Beijing, he built a mausoleum at Tianshou Hill, south of Huanghua Town. Therefore, Huanghuacheng's Great Wall is not only to defend Beijing, but also a wall to protect the mausoleum (which later became the Ming Tombs). It is "the essence of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall".
The "Lakeside Great Wall" - More-Varied Scenery/Activities
Less-Traveled, But More to Do…
Huanghuacheng section is an uncrowded section. You can experience different activities like taking a boat on the lake to appreciate the Great Wall on the surrounding mountains. You can hike around the lake and across the dam instead of climbing the mountains.
Beautiful Lakeside Scenery
The Great Wall at Huanghuacheng is surrounded by mountains with verdant vegetation, lots of flowers, and other seasonal beauty. During summer the countryside around Huanghuacheng's Great Wall is swathed in yellow, as masses of wild flowers come into bloom.
The Huanghuacheng wall is divided by reservoirs, and some parts are even immersed in the water, which is a very unique characteristic, distinguishing it from other sections of the Great Wall.
Original Great Wall, Steep Climbs, Great Views
This section's wild wall is pristine, and hasn't been repaired like the Badaling Section. Its stone rebuilt section is not as magnificent as the restored Mutianyu Section, but it retains its original composition from when it was built. And then there's the underwater wall that nowhere else has…
Some stairs are very steep, but you will be satisfied with the achievement and the scenery when you climb to the top.
Transportation Tips for Independent Travelers
Route 1: Go to Dongzhimen (东直门) by bus 24, 106, 107, 123, 132, 206, etc.; or subway line 2, 13, or the Airport Express Line. Take Bus 916 from Dongzhimen to Huairou Town (怀柔汽车站), and then the'Huairou–Waterside-Great-Wall Direct Bus' (怀柔–水长城专线车, a blue minibus) to Huanghuacheng.
Route 2: Take the Changping–Jiuduhe (昌平–九渡河) Bus at Changping Long-Distance Coach Station (昌平长途汽车站) or Changping's Changling Intersection (长陵路口) to Jiuduhe Filling Station (九渡河加油站), then the'Huairou–Waterside-Great-Wall Direct Bus' as above.
Accommodation and Restaurants at Huanghuacheng
The nearest restaurants are small local ones in the valley bottom, in villages just outside the tourist area. The nearest hotels are in Changping or half the way from Huairou.
(Because there are reservoirs, it's a "water-source conservation area", so no hotels and restaurants are allowed to be built in the catchment.)
Storu of "Metal Soup Great Wall"
Chinese: Jintang Changcheng (金汤长城 /jin-taang chaang-chnng/ 'metal soup Great Wall', meaning firm and solid Great Wall).
While one nearby reservoir is called Huanghuacheng Reservoir, the name of its nearby village is Jintang Village.
The Story of the "Metal Soup Great Wall"
A general named Cai Kai, who led the construction of Huanghuacheng Great Wall, was beheaded after completion of his task, because the emperor mistakenly believed other ministers' lies that his job was sloppy. But when a survey report, stating that the walls were solid, steep, and exemplified the finest workmanship, reached the emperor, the emperor realized that he had misjudged General Cai Kai.
The emperor ordered a tomb and memorial stele to be erected in honor of the loyal general. He also had the characters 金汤 inscribed on the face of a huge rock below. the wall.
Tour Huanghuacheng with China Highlights
If you would rather design your own Huanghuacheng tour with our help, tell us your interests and requirements, and China Highlights will tailor-make your Great Wall tour.
- The Mutianyu and Jiankou sections of the Great Wall are only about 20 km (12 miles) or 40 minutes drive away, and the Ming Tombs even less.
- If you want to see more of the Great Wall near Beijing, see here for most popular Great Wall sections.