Jinshanling – Simatai | Great Wall of China, 2006

Distance :  7.5 miles (12 km)imgp3794

Avg.Time :  4 hours

Start / Finish :

  • Jinshanling – Simatai
  • Public transport is available to both trailheads. That being said, a quicker, easier option is to hire a taxi or arrange private minibus transport with your hotel in Beijing. Generally takes about 2 to 3 hours to either trailhead.

Season :

  • All year.
  • Spring and fall offer the best chance of fine weather. Winter can also bring clear skies, however, snow and ice can make conditions a bit on the slippery side. Summer is generally hot and hazy.

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Maps / Info :

  • No map necessary. Simply follow the wall.
  • Bring all water and supplies. Alternatively, you may be able to buy both at elevated prices from vendors situated near the beginning and end of the walk.
  • Admission fee needs to be paid at either Simatai or Jinshanling.
  • Avoid the crowds by steering clear of weekends and public holidays. If you make an early start (i.e. overnight in Simatai or Jinshanling), you may have the entire walk to yourself!
  • 5 Great Wall of China Fun Facts:
  1. The Great Wall is the longest man-made structure in the world.
  2. It is a myth that the Great Wall can be seen from the moon without aid.
  3. The Great Wall is not one long continuous wall, but instead a discontinuous series of walls.
  4. The earliest sections of Wall were built by the Qin Dynasty between 260 and 210 BC.
  5. The Great Wall receives over 40 million foreign visitors per year.



Route / Conditions :

  • Thousands of steps, loose stones and quite a bit of elevation gain and loss, make this short hike a challenging proposition for those that are low on fitness and/or lacking appropriate footwear (i.e. something with good grip).
  • Spectacular views from start to finish.
  • Once you reach Simatai, I recommend continuing on just a little further by climbing up to Simatai ridge. Incredible views on a clear day; reasonably good on a hazy day.

Sleeping :

  • Most people do this walk as a day hike out of Beijing. If you decide to overnight in either Simatai or Jinshanling, there are multiple accommodation options in both locations.


Overview :

  • If you happen to be travelling in this part of the world, walking along the Great Wall of China is an experience not to be missed.
  • The final three photos above were taken by my cousin Nathan Larsen. He and his family, all of whom are keen hikers, visited China during the winter of 2005.


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