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Jinshanling Great Wall  — Most Popular for Hiking and Photography

Jinshanling Great Wall — Most Popular for Hiking and Photography

Written by Kelly PangUpdated May. 17, 2022

Jinshanling Great Wall,  130 km (80 miles) northeast of central Beijing, is one of the best-preserved and most photogenic parts of the Great Wall with many original features. It got its name because it was built on the Greater and Lesser Jinshan ('Gold Mountain') Ranges, known as the "paradise of photographer".

  • Chinese name: 金山岭 Jīnshānlǐng /jin-shan-ling/ 'Gold Mountain Ridge'
  • Restoration: Half restored and half-wild
  • Activities: hiking, photography
  • Opening hours: 8:00am–5:00pm
  • Best times: spring and autumn, especially May and June for the beautiful green mountain scenery and comfortable weather.
Jinshanling Great Wall

Where is the Jinshanling Great Wall?

jinshanling location map

Jinshanling Great Wall is in a mountainous area of Luanping County, Chengde, Hebei Province,  about 2½ hours' drive from Beijing. This section of the wall connects the Simatai Great Wall in the east and Gubeikou Great Wall in the west.

Officially it extends from Longyukou (龙裕口 Lóngyùkǒu /long-yoo-koh/ 'Dragon Abundance Pass') in the west to Wangjinglou Tower (望京楼 Wàngjīng Lóu/wung-jing-lohho-chwan-co/ 'Viewing Capital Tower') in the east, with a total length of 10.5 kilometers (6.5 miles). Only 5-6 kilometers (3.1-3.7 miles) are open to visitors. 

Recommended Jinshanling Great Wall Tours:

Jinshanling's History: Who Built It and When? 

The Great Wall at Jinshanling was built 650 years ago in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), initially built from 1368 to 1389, and in 1567 and 1570 rebuilding of the Wall was mainly directed by General Qi Jiguang (1528–1588).

Poems and tablet writings can be found on the Great Wall there, left from the time when Qi Jiguang directed its rebuilding.

Features of the Jinshanling Great Wall

  • Architectural Features: Restored and Original Wall
  • Dimensions: 10.5 kilometers (6.5 miles) long, averaging 7 meters high and 5 meters wide.
  • Densely-spaced watchtowers: 5 passes,  3 beacon towers, and 67 watchtowers (about one in every 150 meters).

The most special features of this section are the 67 watchtowers. According to the different terrain, the watchtowers were built in different shapes: tall or short, rectangular or square, with three to five embrasures. Most watchtowers are on one or two floors.

A rare three-floor watchtower can be found at the west end of the Jinshanling section (which unfortunately is currently a military restricted area).

Why visit the Jinshanling Great Wall?

Jinshanling Great Wall is best for hiking

Less Crowded: Jinshanling's Great Wall has retained its original look since its construction several hundred years ago. It is relatively isolated and offers a great view.

Best Hiking Route: Hiking the Jinshanling and Simatai sections offer you breathtaking views and stunning photo opportunities. This most popular hiking route is about 6 km (4 miles) and takes about 3 hours.

Recommended Jinshanling Great Wall Tours:

Ascent and Descent of the Jinshanling Great Wall

There are cable cars from the ticket gate to a path, 200 meters long to Little Jinshan Tower (小金山楼 Xiǎo jīnshān lóu /sshyaoww-jin-shan lo/ 'Little Gold Mountain Building'). It is only three watchtowers from the west end of Jinshanling's Great Wall.

jinshanling tourism map

The Best Times to Visit Jinshanling Great Wall

Jinshanling Great WallJinshanling in Spring

The scenery at Jinshanling has a range of seasonal beauty. The best time to visit is in spring or autumn. In the early mornings of spring and summer, you can see a remarkable view, known as a 'cloud sea', below you from the Wall. But it's very hot on the Great Wall in summer. May and June are the best months to visit for the green mountain scenery and comfortable.

We advise our customers to try to avoid China's major holidays when the wall is packed with Chinese tourists:

  • Labor Day Holiday — 5 days in/around the first week of May
  • National Day Holiday — 7 days in/around the first week of October

How to Get to the Jinshanling Great Wall?

Going Independently — Jinshanling Shuttle Bus

A direct bus departs from Beijing at 8 am to Jinshanling's Great Wall Ticket Gate, and returns at 3 pm.

Get on at Subway Wangjing West Stop (城铁望京西站). To get there by subway take Line 13 or 15 to Wanjjing West (望京西), use Exit B or D, and walk east 100 or 200 meters. The journey is about 2 hours unless you meet a peak season traffic jam. The schedule may be adjusted, so confirm before departure.

Good to know: If there are less than 20 passengers, another public bus will take you to where a Jinshanling Scenic Area shuttle bus will pick you up as follows.

Pick up at: 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:30 pm.

Return at: 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 3:00 pm

Tour with China Highlights — hassle-free and flexible

Tour Jinshanling with China HighlightsTour Jinshanling with China Highlights

Though some of the steps on the Wall are very steep and uneven with loose stones at times, the Jinshanling section is still very safe.

A private tour, with an 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 you are interested in hiking the wild Great Wall, please see our recommended wild great wall hiking sections. Or you can tell us your interests and requirements, China Highlights will customize a Great Wall Tour to meet your needs.

Recommended Jinshanling Great Wall Tours:

Hotel and Restaurant at the Mountain Foot

Jinshan Restaurant and Jinshan Hotel are just outside the Great Wall Ticket Gate.

  • Jinshan Restaurant: This quite big restaurant is in an antique-style building. You can taste or buy local food. It offers roast whole lamb and campfire parties.
  • Jinshan Hotel: offers various styles of rooms. It has two-, three-, and four-bedroom suites. It's a good place for families to stay. And you are suggested to stay one night at the mountain foot and get up early for hiking. You will find there are no tourists and a cooler for hiking.

Prepare Well For Hiking

Prepare for hiking the Great Wall

There are cable cars and shuttle buses available to avoid the trek up to the wall. But the steps of the Great Wall at Jinshanling are rather steep and uneven, with loose stones at times. Hikers need to be in good physical condition to complete this hike.

You are suggested to wear hiking boots that can protect your ankles because there are rough parts where you may easily get a sprain.

Bring snacks and water to keep your energy. There are restaurants at the Great Wall Tourist Area entrances at Jinshanling and Simatai, and you can have lunch in a local restaurant.

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