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Great Wall Hiking Between Jinshanling and Simatai

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Overview:

Some say that the hike between Jinshanling and Simatai gives you a truly "authentic" wall experience. My view is that any experience with the Wall is authentic, but if you're looking for breathtaking views in relative isolation, combined with some exercise, then this trek is definitely for you.

Location:

Jinshanling is 87 miles (140 km) outside Beijing. Simatai is 75 miles (120 km) outside Beijing.

History:

See Jinshanling and Simatai sections for histories of each part of the wall.

Features:

  • 7.5 miles (12 km) trek
  • Many watchtowers, including Watching Beijing tower where, on a clear day, you can see Beijing
  • Very steep, rocky with loose stones at times
  • Dramatic, breathtaking views
  • Getting there:


    While public busses go to these areas, the easiest, least amount of hassle will be to do one of the following:
  • Work with your hotel to hire a taxi to get you to Jinshanling (around RMB 300, US$ 37)
  • Sign up with a tour service that will take you via minivan
  • Essentials:

  • Costs: Admission passes for both Jinshanling and Simatai (RMB 75, US$10) + Simatai Bridge Pass (RMB 5, US$ 0.70). Fees can be paid at each point.
  • Recommended time for visit: Plan your whole day around the trek. Leave early from Beijing, allow at least 2 hours to arrive at your start point, 4-5 hours trekking time and another 2 hours to return to Beijing.
  • Best time for hiking: Spring and fall will offer the best views. Summer will be very hot and winter may be dangerous due to snow and ice.
  • Tips:

  • Start at Jinshanling. It will be more crowded at Simatai and therefore easier to find a way back to Beijing via bus or minivan.
  • Wear trekking gear. You are in for a serious hike.
  • Take along water and snacks. Vendors will be around at the start but may not follow you all the way (though they might if you look thirsty!)
  • Photos:

    See step by step photos from traveler David Turner at his image gallery: Hike from Jinshanling to Simatai.

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