Jinshanling to Simatai Great Wall Hike

Address: G45 Daguang Expressway, Beijing, China

- Expensive


An exhilarating 10km ramble across a remote, unrestored stretch of Great Wall.

To really earn your Great Wall stripes, get off the touristy stretches and find your way out on to the wild wall. This popular, far-flung hike is the easiest way to do just that. About three and a half hours north of the city, your driver will drop you at Jinshanling, a small restored section of wall that quickly gives way to loose bricks, teetering watchtowers and eye-watering views of the mountain wilderness. Tough going at times, it should take about 4 hours to reach Simatai and your pick up. I persuaded my parents to give it a go (nearing 60 years old) and they were fine, though admittedly the words “never again” were uttered more than once in the bar that evening.

Value for money

Price advice

Economically it’s worth doing this hike as part of an organised tour unless you’re in a group of four or more. A tour should cost in the region of RMB 300 per person plus 50 RMB ticket fees for entrance to the final stretch of wall at Simatai.

Expert tips

Carry at least 1.5 litres of water per person in summer.

There’s a fair chance local villagers will follow you for the entire hike in the hope you buy a T-shirt or drink from them. They simply won’t be dissuaded, so just put up with them.

Recommended for

  • Seasoned travellers
  • Sporty types
  • Escaping the crowds
  • Great views / scenery
  • History
  • Nature / wildlife