How to Hike Jiankou Great Wall
This is a short guide to hiking the remote section of the Great Wall of China, Jiankou. Jiankou has never been restored since its construction in 1368, with many parts having fallen into disrepair. If you're hoping for a quieter spot, that's a little more extreme, this is definitely the place!
How to Get there:
Book a self-guided tour
We booked our tour through Viator. To be honest, it’s really just an expensive taxi service. They pick you up from your hotel, drop you off near the wall, wait in the car, and then drop you back at your hotel! It’s on you to decide where you want to go.
Although it’s not much, it’s exactly the kind of thing you need for a wild adventure on this remote section of the Great Wall. There are other full day options available via Expedia, which I’d go for if I was visiting again.
Getting to the wall
You start with a pretty intense hike through the forest and up a secluded path, before you even get to the entrance of the wall. The driver will explain the route to get there. From what we saw there was only one path to follow, so it would be difficult to get lost on the way! Once you reach the top of the hill there is a crumbled section of the wall which is your entry point.
Where to walk:
It’s a simple choice of left or right. Going left will eventually take you all the way to Mutianyu. If we had more time we would have loved to take that route. You get to experience both the original and more restored parts of the wall. It’s also more stable and flat compared to walking the other way!
Turn right and you’re met by a large tower. You have to scramble up a stack of bricks that feel like they could topple at any moment. Once you’re inside, you get beautiful views out of every window. Once you’ve scrambled your way out the other side, you start to make your way down what used to steps! Honestly, it’s a stretch to say that the wall is still standing. If you’re not fond of heights, this may not be the place for you! It goes steeply up and down, following the ridge of the hill. The wall stretches out as far as the eye can see. How far you decide to go is really only dependent on you and the time your driver is expecting you back.
Note: Make sure you leave more time for the walk back! It took us about twice as long on the way back up.
What you need:
Our tour came with two bottles of water, but be sure to bring a couple of your own. You’ll need more than you think!
We found litter to be a pretty big problem throughout China. We all have the responsibility to take care of the world around us. If you visit the Great Wall, please take rubbish back with you! Pick up any plastic that you see left behind. Let's look after these beautiful places so the next generation can continue to enjoy them.
Walking sticks will change your life when you’re hiking. The extra support will make everything a lot more comfortable for you.
Snacks / food
There are no places to restock when you arrive, so make sure you have enough to last the whole hike and journey back!