Water Pass Great Wall (Shuiguan)
The Water Pass Great Wall is an indispensable part of the whole defensive system of Badaling Great Wall. It is famous for the grand Zhengguan Arrow Tower and the precipitous cliffs. Standing on it, you can feel the magnificence of the Great Wall that flies over the mountains like a huge dragon, and the greatness of ancient Chinese People who worked together and built the great project in spite of all the difficulties.
Why Visit Water Pass Great Wall?
Although not as famous as Badaling to its west and Juyongguan Pass to its east, this section is not crowded. Hence, you can better enjoy the scenery and climbing.
Compared with others, this section is precipitous, especially the east part. Therefore, it is a great destination for hiking lovers and energetic young travelers.
Located not far away from downtown Beijing, it can be reached without too many difficulties.
Basic Facts of Water Pass Great Wall
With a history of about 400 years, it was constructed under the supervision of the great general Qi Jiguang in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
It has a gross length of about 5 miles (8 km), and about 4 miles (6.8 kilometers), eight watchtowers, and one arrow tower have been renovated and opened so far.
It is V-shaped, with an arrow tower (Zhengguan Arrow Tower) in the valley and two sections of walls stretching along the mountains in the east and west. The east section has three watchtowers opened to visitors while the west section has five.
In the past, there was a stream flowing through the arrow tower, forming a natural defense, hence the name "Water Pass".
Some part of the wall was built on mountain cliffs, with the biggest slope of about seventy degrees and highest stairs of about 20 inches (50 cm).
There is a battlement wall on both sides. Hence, soldiers could defend against enemies from both sides.
|Admission Fee||CNY 40|
|Opening Hours||April to October: 6:30-17:30 |
November to March: 7:30-16:30
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How to tour Water Pass Great Wall?
Arriving at the scenic spot, you will be first attracted by the Zhengguan Arrow Tower which served as a water gate and a place to shoot arrows. It measures 52 feet (16 meters) in height, and 13 yards (12 meters) in average width. Such a splendid arrow tower is very rare. Standing on it, you can appreciate the Great Wall in the distance.
The Zhengguan Arrow Tower divides the Great Wall into two parts: the eastern part and the western part. Both parts have been restored and installed with iron handrails, making it easier and safer to climb.
The western part having five watchtowers is flatter, and suitable for even senior visitors and children.
The eastern part has three watchtowers is precipitous that some visitors have to seize the handrails tightly, and descend backward. Therefore, it may be more suitable for energetic young people.
There are many stone steles along the wall, which are engraved with "He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man". Some locals will charge CNY 2 or more for taking a photo by the stele. Please note that all of the steles are fake and the real one is on Badaling section.
When is the Best Time for a Visit?
The best time is April, May, September, and October. The temperature is moderate and the scenery presents its utmost beauty. It is warm in April and May when you can enjoy the colorful wild flowers in full blossom. In October, you can delight yourselves in the intoxicating red leaves. Try to avoid May Day Holiday (from May 1st to 3rd), and National Day Holiday (from October 1st to 7th) when will be more visitors.
How to Get There from Downtown Beijing?
It is located in Yanqing County, 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of central Beijing. One can take bus line 919 from Deshengmen to get here directly. Ticket fare is CNY 12 and it takes about 1.5 hours.
Operating Time of Bus 919
From Deshengmen: 05:45-19:00
To Deshengmen: 05:00-18:30
To reach Deshengmen, one can take subway line 2 to Jishuitan, Exit A, and walk eastward to reach the bus stop; or take bus nos. 5, 27, 305, 315, 380, 409, 625, 635 to get there directly.
What to Eat?
There are some restaurants near the entrance, but the food they provide is quite expensive. So, you may bring some food and water before departure.
Remember that Water Pass Great Wall is different from Badaling Great Wall. Some innocent visitors might be guided here instead of their intended destination of Badaling, especially during holidays or peak seasons. So, you are advised to double confirm this before joining a tour.