eChinaJOBs APP Download

Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Jinshanling to Simatai Great Wall Trek

By eChinacities.com Add your comment Newsletter

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WeChat
  • Email
  • More sharing


Photo: kevinpoh

If you are tired of the maddening hordes of tourists on the most popular stretches of the Great Wall like Badaling or Juyonguan, then maybe it is time to try out some less crowded alternatives. The mountains surrounding our fair city of Beijing contain a veritable treasure trove of largely unspoilt stretches of the Great Wall just waiting to be explored by the intrepid trekker. These unspoilt and generally unrestored parts of the wall make up what is known as “The Wild Wall,” and wild it certainly is, with many of these sites virtually impossible to visit for the casual tourist.

Unspoilt Yet Accessible

Once upon a time all the areas of the Great Wall were wild, unspoiled and largely in ruins, but in the name of tourism development, several stretches have been rebuilt essentially from scratch, with all that entails in the lamentable form of parking lots, restaurants and souvenir stalls. Luckily, it is still possible to find places that are accessible but relatively unspoiled and in original condition. Jinshanling and Simatai are two such places. They are situated in the mountains northwest of the city on the border between Miyun County and Hebei province. Their main claim to fame is the trekking route stretching between them for about 6 kilometres, easily accessible for a day trip from Beijing.

The trek between these two scenic spots is probably one of the most worthwhile excursions you could take out of the city, and is definitely a must for anyone whose dreams of a visit to the wall don’t include crowds of tourists, fume-belching tour buses and tour guides with screeching megaphones. Here the only sound you can hear is the wind blowing over the long forgotten walls and howling through the empty doorframes of the watchtowers. The view of the Wall snaking its way over the mountains in majestic solitude is sure to make any sore legs or blisters worthwhile!


The Great Wall at Simatai. Photo: kevinpoh

Feel History Come Alive

Standing on the wall, the predatory birds circling overhead, pondering the history that created this structure… this is one of those precious, rare moments in China where you can actually feel history coming alive.

If you happen to feel an irresistible urge to raise your arms and signal your imaginary army of a thousand bowmen let arrows rain down over your Mongolian foes, do not worry! This is but a normal reaction to standing on one of the few parts of the wall virtually unchanged since those heady days in the Ming dynasty when battles with Northern barbarians were the order of the day.

This particular part of the wall was originally constructed much earlier than that and goes all the way back to the northern Qi dynasty between 550 and 577 AD. Through the ages, the Wall fell into disrepair until the Hongwu emperor of the Ming dynasty (who reigned from 1368 to 1398) decided to rebuild it in the face of ongoing Mongolian attacks on Beijing. It is the wall of Hongwu which we can see today in all its wild glory.

The Practicalities

Most people do the trek between Jinshanling and Simatai through a group trip arranged by one of the city’s many youth hostels. Though it is possible to go here by public transportation, we strongly recommend going on one of these hostel-arranged tours. It is very convenient since they will take you from a fixed location in Beijing to Jinshanling, and then pick you up in Simatai after you’ve finished the trek. The tours generally leave early in the morning around 08:00 and take approximately three hours to reach Jinshanling. You will have three to five hours to complete the 6 kilometres. These tours do not generally visit shops or include other unwanted stops on the way.

Please note that there is almost no shade on the trek apart from inside the numerous watchtowers. Since the hiking route passes through terrain that has not been developed for tourists, be aware that there are no railings whatsoever and some stretches of the trek are very precipitous and potentially dangerous.

Jinshanling Great WallView In Map
Add: Luanping County, Chengde city, Hebei Province
 地址:河北省承德市滦平县 
Tel: 031 4883 0222
Getting there: Take the long distance bus No. 980 or No. 970 from Dongzhimen to Miyun town. From Miyun town you will have to take a taxi or minibus the rest of the way. It should cost around 130 RMB for one car.

Simatai Great WallView In Map
Add: Gubeikou Town, Miyun County, Beijing
地址:北京市密云区古北口镇
Tel: 010 6903 1051, 010 6903 5025

Note: At the time of writing, the main gate of Simatai great wall was closed for restoration. Therefore individual travel is not permissible in the Simatai section of the Great Wall, although groups are still allowed in.  

For the latest China related news and stories sent right to your phone follow our WeChat account:

SinoBytes

Warning:

The use of any news and articles published on eChinacities.com without written permission from eChinacities.com constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: great wall hiking jinshanling simatai trek how to do jinshanling to simatai trek great wall treks Beijing trekking

You might also be interested in

  • 3 Tips to Make Reading Time Fun and Beneficial for Your Child

    How do you ensure that children stay interested in and enjoy their reading time? YCIS Beijing Primary School Curriculum Coordinator Jennifer Mills offers three tips on how to make reading fun and beneficial for your child.

  • Four Easy Steps to Bagging Beetles with Bona Fide Bug Traps!

    During his tenure at Yew Chung International School, Dr. Wickham has shared his passion for insects through both hands-on demonstrations and interactive experiments, some of which you can even conduct at home with your own children. The easiest and least supply-intensive of these experiments is ...

  • The 3 Best Chinese Cultural Sites in Beijing You’ve Never Visited

    Children in YCIS Beijing Primary School have the opportunity to explore Beijing with their teachers, discovering different aspects of traditional Chinese culture through field trips to cultural sites around Beijing that align with what they’re studying in class.

  • Eight Great Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Artistic Talent

    The Primary Art teacher at Yew Chung International School of Beijing tells you how to foster your childs creativity.

  • Language Learning Tips for Chinese Newbies

    If you’ve just moved to China or are looking to jump-start your language learning, YCIS Beijing Secondary School Chinese Curriculum Coordinator Jessica Sun have some essential tips that will make sure you’re learning the right way.

  • 3 Reasons Why Physical Education Matters

    China has become somewhat infamous for the abandoned sites left strewn throughout the country in its rush towards urban development. Some of the eerie destinations listed below take the prize as the top five most notoriously abandoned places in China.

0 Comments ( Add your comment )

No one has commented on this article

Add your comment

All comments are subject to moderation by eChinacities.com staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate. Please use the Classifieds to advertise your business and unrelated posts made merely to advertise a company or service will be deleted.

Please login to add a comment. Click here to login immediately.

Most Read in eChinacities

This week This month

Scan the QR Code to Follow Us!

Are you an expert on Beijing

Write about your favourite places and activities in Beijing to earn rewards.

How can I earn points? Post Blog

Hot Jobs Hot Classifieds

Hot Listings