Code: GW17

One Day Great Wall Hiking from Jinshanling to Simatai

Important Notice:
The Simatai Great Wall partially reopened on January 1, 2014, after being closed for renovation since July 2010. Only ten watchtowers are now open to visitors and a new building Gubei Water Town (Beijing Wtown) is also open at the foot of the wall. However, the path connecting to Jinshanling Great Wall is blocked, therefore, the classic Jinshanling to Simatai hike is currently closed. There is no news on when the path will be open. We will update you as soon as we get more news about the wall.

Small agents or illegal private guides might offer you this hike through unofficial paths, but we suggest that you do not go with them as it is illegal and risky. You can climb either Jinshanling or Simatai sections, or other sections which will provide you with the same wild and genuine experience, such as Gubeikou and Jiankou. See our Jinshanling Guided Hiking and Simatai Independent Tour.


Hiking duration: 4 – 5hours
Direction: Jinshanling– West section of Simatai
Difficulty: ★★★★★
Best Time to Visit: April to June; September to October
Highlights: Simatai joins the Jinshanling section at the border between Beijing and Hebei province. The wall here has never been restored and its original 400-year old appearance has beenwell preserved. Because it is full of challenges and set in splendid natural scenery, this section has been a favorite for hikersand photographers from all over the world. Most magazine photos of the Great Wall of China are taken from this section.


Zhuanduokou, starting point of
Jinshanling hiking


The dilapidated watchtower

Itinerary:
As it takes about 3 hours one way from downtown to Jinshanling, you'd better set off early in the morning. You are advised to arrive at Dongzhimen Station by 8:00am and take bus No. 970 or No. 980 to Miyun County. The first shuttle bus No. 980 starts at 6:30am, and runsevery 10-20 minutes. At Miyun, you can hire a car or take a taxito Jinshanling. Bear in mind to bargain with the driver and settle the price at about CNY50 per car. You will arrive at about 11:00am. As there are no food outlets on the wall, you might like to have lunch at a small restaurant at the foot of the wall unless you have brought along some take-away food and bottled water. A special tourist bus from the Wangjing West Subway Station (intersection station of Line 13 and Line 15) to the attraction is also available, but it only operates on weekends and holidays between April and November. The bus leaves from the Exit B of the Wangjing West station at 8:00am, and gets back to the city from Jinshanling at 3:00pm. You only need to pay CNY 120 per person and enjoy a one-day tour package including the round-trip bus fares and the entrance fee for Jinshanling.


The damaged part of the wall


The ruined Jinshanling

This route from Jinshanling to Simatai is about 10.5 kilometers, with 43 watchtowers (18 watchtowers on Jinshanling, 17 watchtowers on the west section of Simatai and 8 watchtowers on the east). The watchtowers on this section stand close to each otherat intervals of 50-100 meters. The whole trip takes about 4-5 hours. Hereunder is the detailed information:

The admission fee toJinshanling is CNY65 from March 16th to November 15th and CNY 55 from November 16th to March 15th (no need to worry if you take the tourist bus). Walking along the road leading to the scenic resort, you will find the "China Jinshanling Great Wall" building. Your challenge hike starts here.


Hiking on the wall


Hiking on the wall

Tips: At the foot of the wall, some local people offertour guide services, charging CNY 30-50. They will also sell souvenirs. It's up to you to decide if you'd like company on the hike - otherwise just ignore them.

Crenel Building (Zhuanduokou Tower) is the first tower you will see and also the entrance to Jinshanling. This part is not terribly damaged, so it is not that tough to climb. Walking eastward from Crenel Building, you will approach the 2ndwatchtower (Qiangduolou Tower) and then the 3rd watchtower East Terrace (Dongfangtai Tower). Continue to hike northeast until you find a turnoff to the southwest which is leading to Open Tower (Changlouzi Tower) and Sifang Terrace (Sifangtai Tower). Ignore this turnoff and continue to walk eastward to the 4th watchtower Storage Tower (Kufanglou Tower) and the following 5th and 6th watchtowers of West Tower (Xichenglou Tower) and West Terrace (Xifangtai Tower). Climb forward toShalingkou Pass. Go on to pass the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th watchtowers, then a turning watch tower erected on the cliff in front of you, which is the 11th watchtower Little Jinshan Building. The 12th watchtower Large Jinshan Building is just about 100 meters ahead. From here, the wall becomes more dilapidatedand shabby, which makes us conscious of the need to protect it. The road is steeper and more ruined on the left part. You must mind your steps as both sides of the wall are cliffs. It's better to hike the wall with companions in case of any emergency.


Hiking on the wall


Climbing on the wall

From now on, you can only "climb" on the wall (i.e. scramble up). Continue to hike northeast from Large Jinshanlou Tower and you will pass the 13thto 18thwatchtowers, namely Yaogou Building (Yaogoulou Tower), Unnamed Building (Wuminglou Tower), Houchuan Building (Houchuankou Tower), Shazi Building (Shazilou Tower), General Building (Jiangjunlou Tower) and Corner Building (Guaijiaolou Tower). By the way, between the Unnamed Building and Houchuan Building, there is Houchuan Pass, from whicha path stretches and leads to the foot of the mountain.

From the Corner Building, you will enter the Simatai section. There will be someoneasking you to buy entrance tickets, which are CNY40 per person. This part has always been described as 'dangerous steps, densewatchtowers, various structures, artful design, and the beauty ofrare relics'. Parts were built along steep crags. Hikers must pay more attention to loose and broken steps. Different kinds of watchtowers are close to each other. Moreover, the environment of this section is also very good. There is a reservoir with limpid water all year round, which will give you quite a different feeling from theroughness of the wall.


Hiking on Jinshanling
The the path is rugged
Travelers should pay attention


Travelers take adventures to
get through the dilapidated part,
though there is a detour.

Simatai section is more dangerous and broken than Jinshanling. It is divided into east and west sections by the Reservoir. There are 17 watchtowers on the west section and 15 watchtowers on the east. Today, you will hike through the west section and the first 8 watchtowers on the east sections.

Starting from the Corner Building, you will pass anunnamed building (1st tower, not the one on Jinshanling), Black Tower (2nd), Tower with three holes (3rd) and Tower with five holes (4th), then turn left and continue to pass through the Small Arc-roof Building (5th), Large Arc-roof Building (6th), Wall made of real bricks, Nianzigou Tower (7th), Tower with three holes (8th), Tower with four holes (9th), Henggou Building (10th) and four unnamed buildings (11-14th). Now you will arrive at the 15th Watchtower – Little Hutong Building. Climb over the 16th watchtower (Sanyanlou Tower), you will get to the last watchtower of the west section - Corner Building (Zhuanjiaolou Tower). Here the Simatai is cut off by the Hot Spring Lake (the Reservoir). Take the chair-lift to cross over and reach the east section, or just walk across the chain bridge over the lake.


Hiking on the wall


Hiking on the wall

Option One: After getting to the east section of Simatai, you will climb through 8 watchtowers to reach the White Cloud Building (Baiyunlou Tower), where you can take a chair-liftto the foot of the mountain.

Option Two: If you are too tired to finish all the 8 watchtowers, you can take the cable car at the second watchtower to the lake half way down the mountain.Then take a battery-powered boat to the parking lot. Otherwise, there is a hillside road at the second watchtower leading to the foot of the mountain.

Option Three: If you are still full of energy after arriving at the 8th watchtower (White Cloud Building), you can continue to climb forward to Wanghailou Building (the 11thwatchtower) and General Building (the 12thwatchtower). The section after the 12th watchtower is not open to tourists. For the way back, you need to return to the 8thwatchtower and then climb down the mountain.

After getting to the foot of Simatai, you can hire a car to Machang, where there are lots of buses to Miyun County. The charge is about CNY20-30 per car. Take a bus to Miyun Bus Station at a cost of CNY5-10 per person. You'd better get to the Miyun Bus Station by 18:00 inorder to catch shuttle bus No. 980 back to Beijing.


Simatai


The cable car down wall

 Some kind tips:
1. This section of the wall is loose and dilapidated, so it's dangerous to hike through. You'd better go with some friends or hire a local guide.
2. Do not take photos while walking. If you want to take photos, stop and find a safe place.
3. Bring enough water with you. There is no water on the wall. When drinking water, we suggest you sip slowly instead of gulping. Drinking too fast will make you feel thirsty sooner. By the way, there are no toilets on the wall.
4. The wall is badly weathered and rocks crumble easily. Be cautious. As the road is shabby and dilapidated on the way, scrambling up is sometimes the best and safest way to move forward.


Watchtower of Simatai section


Simatai Section

 More Great Wall Hiking Routes: 
Mutianyu Hiking: Mutianyu hiking routes with practical travel tips
Jinshanling Hiking: starting from $69 per person
Simatai Exploration: One day hike tour to Simatai and Gubei Water Town
Jiankou Hiking: Expedition route to wild Jiankou section
Hiking to Huangyaguan
: one day suggestion route