I joined the Beijing Hikers walking group for a 20km walk along the Great Wall. There were about 30 of us in the group, meeting at 8am and paying around £40 for the day’s excursions. This covered coach transport from central Beijing to Gubeikou and then return from Simatai. It also covered water, snacks and a good meal with beers at the end.
The Beijing Hikers were a really friendly bunch of people including regulars and many one-off or infrequent visitors. This trip was from Gubeikou to Simatai via Jinshanling and was marked up as a 5+ indicating it was fairly difficult. The path was easy to follow – we just walked along the wall for 80-90% of the day – but the changing gradients were quite a challenge. Some of the sections are incredibly steep which had quite an effect on the legs by the end of the walk. Actually it took 2 days for the full pain to be appreciated by my legs with the muscles feeling as though they had been pummelled multiple times by multiple people.
The wall just seemed to go on and on for as far as we could see.
The countryside was fairly dry and rugged, and most importantly fairly tourist free! For most of the walk we seemed to have the wall all to ourselves, which was in stark contrast to any other trip we made around Beijing.
The Wall was in various states of repair. Some sections were perfect, while others were crumbled down to some degree.
After the trip, it was nice to see a map of where we had walked. As you can see there were basically no roads joining directly to the wall with about 15 min sections to and from the wall at the start and finish.
Duration 5:17 hours
Distance 9.5 miles
Path (Google Earth)