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You'll enjoy a walk on the wall and seeing the rugged mountain scenery at Juyong Pass, one of the most important forts on the Great Wall. The scenery is beautiful, and the fort and perimeter wall have been restored to their original glory.
This section of the Great Wall is in Guangou Valley, the most vulnerable northern access to Beijing. It is just outside the Beijing suburbs in Changping District, about 60 km (37 miles) or about 1½ hours northeast from central Beijing.
The Juyong Pass Great Wall section was built by the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) in this strategic valley that allowed direct access to Beijing. It was built during the reign of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang (1368-1398). He was the first emperor of the Ming Empire, and he wanted to fend off attacks from Mongolians who wanted to recapture the empire.
The Yan Kingdom built fortifications there as early as the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC), and the Warring States Period (476–221 BC). Before the Ming, the Yuan Dynasty (1276–1368) built three towers (stupas) here on the Cloud Platform that were destroyed by an earthquake at the end of their empire. The Cloud Platform remained.
During the Jin Dynasty (1115–1234), the pass was noted for its natural beauty.
The walls you can see now were built in the 1990s and the early years of the 21st century.
The Juyong Pass was considered one of the three most important passes in the whole Ming Great Wall. Big battles were fought here against Jurchens and Mongols, and then later against the Japanese. Genghis Khan led his army through this pass.
It is thought that the fort and wall was called Juyongguan because in the Qin Dynasty, when they were building the first united Great Wall across the northern frontier, common people were assigned to build this part of the wall. Ju (居) means dwell, and yong (庸) means mediocre or common. The world guan (关) can mean pass or gate.
The best time to visit the Juyong Great Wall is in late spring, summer, and fall before the snow falls. Winter weather is freezing and blustery, and the steps might be icy. In summer, you can see the green countryside all around. The countryside is bleak in winter.
It is best to try to avoid the major holidays when the wall might be packed with Chinese tourists: National Day Holiday (October 1–7) and Labor Day Holiday (May 1–3). Click here for what you can expect on the Great Wall in different seasons.
Juyong Pass is only about one hour and 20 minutes from Beijing. There is no convenient direct public transportation from Beijing to this part of the Great Wall, but there is public transport.
Traveling on your own you may meet a lot of hassles and trouble such as the language barrier, lining up for tickets, and figuring out the best travel routes.
Taxi from Beijing: A round-trip taxi should cost less than ¥400, driver's fee for waiting included. This could be split four ways. Here is the address: G6 Jingzang Expressway Exit, Changping, Beijing. Here is the address in Chinese to show the driver: 居庸关长城门口, 北京市昌平区昌平县.
Bus from Beijing: You could also take a bus all the way. Take Bus 345 at get off at Shahe. At Shahe, take Bus 昌 68 that goes all the way to Juyong Pass. Make sure the bus has the 昌 (Chāng) symbol.
Many companies may provide one-day group tours to Juyong Pass. The problem with these tours is that most of them stop at tourist factory stores or pricy tourist restaurants. If you are going with a Chinese tour group, be prepared for a noisy crowd following someone with a load speaker.
The most pleasant, direct, and interesting way to go is with a private tour such as ours. Our tours are known for being hassle free and individualized for our clients.
A private tour means more flexibility, and you will be taken care of by your private guide and the driver.
Our experienced guide will also help you learn more about the history of the Great Wall and Chinese culture. You'll make the most of your visit. We could easily make it a double Great Wall visit at nearby Badaling, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, or Mutianyu. Create a Juyong Pass tour>>
Water and snacks: Bring and snacks for the visit. You might not like the snacks and food available. Also, bring water and drink plenty of it to avoid heat stroke or exhaustion.
Clothing: Bring rain gear on a rainy day. Shoes with good traction are essential. Bring a sunhat and cover your skin if you have light skin.
The uneven steps make the hike up to the highest 13th tower difficult if you are unfit. It's 600m (2,000 ft) above sea level, 300+m above the valley floor, on the west side.
Instead of doing the long hike (2½ km) on the wall on the west side, you can take the shorter east side wall (1½ km), which only ascends about 200m (700 ft). Another option is to just walk around the valley bottom fort from the entrance, and not climb up the hill.
There are no lifts or cable cars as at other sections, so be sure you can handle your route given your fitness level and weather conditions.
Most people enjoy a walk on the wall whether they go all the way or do a shorter hike. Be aware that on hot sunny days, many people feel exhausted quickly and can get sunburn. So cover up.
Also, the stair climb up some 1,500 steps can be exhausting if you are not in shape. The steps are uneven and range from a few inches high to two feet high. It might be hard on your knees. Make sure you have good walking or hiking shoes for your hike.
Moderately priced rooms most tourists would want to stay at start at 62 USD. We can arrange your room for you and maybe even find you a discount. There is a hotel at Juyuguan, but it is easy to return to the city, and we don't recommend staying overnight for value-for-money reasons.
Badaling's Great Wall section: A longer and more famous section of the Great Wall is at Badaling. It is another restored wall section and is a place for an interesting long hike, but it's very crowded. It is only 65 kilometers from Beijing. You could visit both the same day.
For a less-crowded, but less popular, option see the 'Water Pass' Great Wall section, adjacent to Badaling, and closer to Juyongguan. As this section is not restored it would provide a contrast to Juyongguan.
The 13 Ming Tombs are often combined with a trip to Juyongguan as they are also north of Changping District.