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The Great Wall at Jinshanling is one of the best preserved 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. A tablet with the Chinese inscription for 'Jinshanling Great Wall' was set into this section.
Jinshanling's Great Wall is in a mountainous area 130 km (80 miles) northeast of central Beijing. This section of wall connects the Simatai Great Wall section in the east, and Gubeikou Section in the west.
Officially it extends from Longyukou (龙裕口 Lóngyùkǒu /long-yoo-koh/ 'Dragon Abundance Pass') in the west to Houchuankou (后川口 Hòu chuānkǒu& /ho-chwan-co/ 'Back River Pass') in the east.
The Great Wall at Jinshanling was initially built from 1368 to 1389 in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), 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.
The most special features of this section are the 31 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 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).
Hiking the Jinshanling and Simatai sections: A popular hiking route is to walk along the Great Wall from Jinshanling to Simatai, which takes about 4 hours.
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.
If you are interested in hiking the wild Great Wall, please see our recommended wild great wall hiking sections.
Cable cars: 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.
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:
A direct bus departs from Beijing at 8am to Jinshanling's Great Wall Ticket Gate, and returns at 3pm.
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
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 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.
One Day Jinshanling Great Wall Hiking Tour : the most popular Great Wall hiking tour
If you are not interested in the above Great Wall tour, please tell us your interests and requirements, China Highlights will create you a Great Wall Tour.
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.