Walk from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

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So I use the word “Walk” instead of hiking or trekking to raise your confidence if you are still hesitating in the process of planning your scenic trip from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall on your Great Wall tour.

Yes, there are tons of online trip reports on the incredible steepness of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower  to  Tianti (Sky Ladder) and Beijing Knot along Jiankou Great Wall.  We are not advising anyone to scramble that section if you don’t have any rock climbing experience armed with special equipments though maybe you are an experienced travelers.

Starting from Zhengbeilou Watchtower on Jiankou Great Wall ( east of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower  and  Sky Ladder),  walk eastwards along the rugged Wall and get to the restored Mutianyu Great Wall, a relatively easy walk with stunning views.

At the time of my writing, Jiankou Great Wall is still officially unopened to the public due to its risky hike as well as the government’s policy to protect the “wild wall”.

If you choose to walk from Zhengbeilou at Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall, the risk involved would be less.  But still you should apply for travel insurance for your coverage of injury or accident.  See more travel tips for your great wall walk below:

Travel Tips

1. Things to take: good shoe wear, sticks, cap, sun-glasses, sunscreen, bottles of water, snacks, pocket knife, lip balm and first aid kit.
2. Use toilets at the entrance of the Wall. No toilets on the hiking route. Please always carry toilet paper.
3. Carry bottles of water in your travel bags.
4. Wear pants and long-sleeves even in summer to hike through jungles and bushes.
5. Be a green and responsible hiker, taking nothing but photos and leaving nothing but footprint.
6. Avoid bad or extreme weathers: rain, storm, lightening and foggy days.
7. Use a local tour guide and a local villager as your guide.
8. Mobile phone

On Nov 26 (Tue), 2013 ( Beijing Time UTC+8),  we, a group of five from Tour Beijing, had a fam trip from Xizhazi Village, up to Zhengbeilou (Jiankou Great Wall), on to Mutianyu Great Wall.

Now please follow us to see and feel the walk from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall.

The weather on On Nov 26 (Tue), 2013

Clear

Temperature: -5℃ – 7℃
PM-10: 15
Humidity: 19%
Wind:   North Breeze
Sunrise: 07:11am
Sunset: 04:52pm
Historical Data:  Historical Climate Data for November  in Beijing

A Brief Introduction to Xizhazi Village
Xizhazi Village  is often chosen as the starting point for scaling up Jiankou Great Wall.  38km northwest of Huairou and and 120km north of downtown Beijing。

Xizhazi Village  is nestled in a valley north of Jiankou Great Wall and south of Heitou Mountain ( 1534 m sea-level ), the highest mountain in the northern Beijing within the Heituo Scenic Area. So entering Xizhazi Village, you have to pay entrance fee RMB 20 for Heitio Scenic Area ( the ticket doesn’t mention Jiankou Great Wall.).

“Xizhazi” literally means “west wooden palisades”. The village is such named because in the past it used “wooden palisades” as a village wall. Xizhazi Village was formed around Mid-Qing Dynasty (1368 – 1644) with a sea-level of 615m.

Xizhazi Village has 6 natural sub-villages:

Team 1 Xizhazi: Nangou Village
Team 2 Xizhazi: Nanjili Village ( up to Zhengbeilou Tower )
Team 3 Xizhazi: Qianzhazi Village
Team 4 Xizhazi: Houzhazi Village
Team 5 Xizhazi: Jiushuikeng Village ( up to the Upward Flying Eagle Tower ), not recommended.
Team 6 Xizhazi: Duishi Village

Scaling the moutain up to the Zhengbeilou Tower, you start from Nanjili Village ( Team 2 0f Xizhazi Village ); scaling the mountain up to the Upward Flying Eagle Tower and Tianti (Sky Ladder), you start from Jiushuikeng Village (Team 5 of Xizhazi Village).

Jiankou Great Wall Map

Jiankou Great Wall Map

2.5 Hours Drive from Downtown Beijing to Xizhazi Village

It is a 2.5-hour drive from downtown Beijing to Xizhazi Village.  First drive along Jingxcheng Expressway and get off at the Exit 14. Then drive along Fanqi Road (范崎路) for about 27km, passing by Mountain Bar (山吧), and several hills till turning left at the head of Badaohe Bridge (八道河桥).

Then continue to drive about 4km along the mountain road before getting to the entrance gate at Xizhazi Village for Heituo Scenic Area ( 黑坨山景区), entrance fee: RMB 20.

A tourist toilet by the entrance gate. We are going to start from Nanjili Village ( Team 2 of Xizhazi Village),  so we continue to drive till seeing a signboard at the fork road and turn left, soon we get to Nanjili Village.

Nanjili is a small village at the foot of Jiankou Great Wall with 6-7 families. Some of them offer homestays: 13436827632 Huzi Family. A trodden dirt road behind the village leads up to the mountain.

First drive along Jingxcheng Expressway and get off at the Exit 14.

Then drive along Fanqi Road (范崎路) for about 27km.

Getting to the entrance gate at Xizhazi Village for Heituo Scenic Area ( no mentioning of Jiankou Great Wall).

Getting to the entrance gate at Xizhazi Village for Heituo Scenic Area
Nanjili is a small village at the foot of Jiankou Great Wall with 6-7 families.
Nanjili is a small village at the foot of Jiankou Great Wall with 6-7 families.

Nanjili is a small village at the foot of Jiankou Great Wall with 6-7 families.


One Hour Scrambling from Team 2 of Xizhazi Village (615m) up to Zhengbeilou Tower (975m)
I use the word “scramble” instead of climb” simply because the one hour ascent to Zhengbeilou Tower from Team 2 of Xizhazi Village is the most difficult part on your trip from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall.

This one hour uphill walk is done along a narrow and steep bushy mountain path in a beautiful pine forest. Very often you have  to have your hands on rocks, roots, and bushes for balance.

Zhengbeilou Tower is most visited by Jiankou hikers, a starting point for the walk eastwards Mutianyu. Zhengbeilou Tower is a massive 4-eye watch tower at the sea level of 915m with a panoramic view of  the Upward Flying Eagle Tower  to  Tianti (Sky Ladder) and Beijing Knot in the west and Ox Horn Edge Wall in the east.

This massive tower is 90 degree up without any steps or ladders. To climb up, you have to use a makeshift wooden ladder made by local villager who collects RMB 5 for each tourist in tourist season. On the top of the tower, you are able to have a good view of the surrounding wall sections and mountains.

 Scramble along a narrow and steep bushy mountain path

Scramble along a narrow and steep bushy mountain path

Zhengbeilou Tower is insight.

Zhengbeilou Tower is insight.

Hike up Zhengbeilou through a wooden ladder

Hike up Zhengbeilou through a wooden ladder

Standing on the top of Zhengbeilou Tower, you able to have a panoramic view of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder and Beijing Knot in the west.

A panoramic view of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder and Beijing Snot in the west.

A panoramic view of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder and Beijing Snot in the west.

Have a close look at the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder

Have a close look at the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder

Have a close look at the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder

 

On the northeast,  you will clearly see the Upturn “U” Wall –  the Ox Horn Edge Wall.  Taking a photo with the Ox Horn Edge as a backdrop.

Taking a photo with the Ox Horn Edge as a backdrop

Taking a photo with the Ox Horn Edge as a backdrop

2 Hours Walk from Zhengbeilou Tower (Sharp North Tower) to the restored Mutianyu Great Wall.
It is a scenic walk from Zhengbeilou to the 23th tower of Mutianyu Great Wall.  Along the way, we suggest you avoiding to hike the Ox Horn Edge Wall ( an upturn “U” form of the Great Wall) which is crumbling and treacherous.

The plants, grasses and large bushes grow here along  the “U” section of the Wall, leaving only small paths to walk through. If you insist in scrambling the Ox Horn Edge Wall, it will take another one hour hiking.

Steep slopes with loose bricks and stones also add the difficulty of your climbing the Ox Horn Edge Wall up and down. So just skip the Ox Horn Edge Wall by walking a short cut along a dirt path below the wall instead of hiking uphill along the crumbling steep brickwork.

The rest of the hike is relatively manageable though you still have to walk through the crumbling brickwork with  many soil-grown obstacles, the totally unrestored section of the Wall. Walking up and down, twists and turns. In 2 hours, you will reach the 23rd watch tower,  the final restored tower on Mutianyu Great Wall in the west starting from the first watch tower in the east.

The impressive scene viewed from the gate of Zhengbeilou Tower

The impressive scene viewed from the gate of Zhengbeilou Tower

The impressive scene viewed from the gate of Zhengbeilou Tower

Zhengbeilou seen from the east side

Zhengbeilou seen from the east side

Zhengbeilou seen from the east side

Walking along the rugged brickwork to the east direction

Walking along the rugged brickwork to the east direction

Walking along the rugged brickwork to the east direction

We decide to give up the hike along the Ox Horn Edge Wall for safety and time reasons.

We decide to give up the hike along the Ox Horn Edge Wall

We decide to give up the hike along the Ox Horn Edge Wall

We walk off the wall and take a short cut by walking a dirt path linking the other side of the Wall ( just 5 minutes walk).

We walk off the wall and take a short cut by walking a dirt path

We walk off the wall and take a short cut by walking along a dirt path

The wall was built of  massive stone and slabs

The wall was built of massive stone and slabs

The wall was built of massive stone and slabs

This tower is ruined with broken walls.

This tower is ruined with broken walls.

This tower is ruined with broken walls.

We are walking through the dense bushes and many soil-grown obstacles,which force us to follow a narrow crumbling path on the totally unrestored wall.

We are walking through the dense bushes

We are walking through the dense bushes

A drainage ditch used to drain rain from the wall

A drainage ditch used to drain rain from the wall

A drainage ditch used to drain rain from the wall

The masonry and mortar clearly seen on the unrestored wall.

The masonry and mortar clearly seen on the unrestored wall.

The masonry and mortar clearly seen on the unrestored wall.

The slabs paved steps and floor on the wall

The slabs paved steps and floor on the wall

The slabs paved steps and floor on the wall

We are walking towards Mutianyu Great Wall

We are walking towards Mutianyu Great Wall

We are walking towards Mutianyu Great Wall

 

1.5 Hours on Mutianyu Great Wall and downhill
In 1,5 – 2 hours, you will reach the restored section of the Great Wall at Mutianyu.  Mutianyu Great Wall is a restored wall with 23 watch towers snaking along the ridge from the first watch tower in the east up to the final tower (23rd tower) in the west,which is linked to Jiankou Great Wall.

If you feel tired after walking directly from Zhengbeilou Tower,  you may take a cable car down to the hill from the cable car station below the 14th Watch Tower.

If you have strong legs, you may walk downhill from the 10 or 8th watch tower, or you may walk to the 6th tower where you are able either to take a cable car or toboggan downhill.  Cable car: RMB60. At the time of my writing, no need to buy the entrance ticket for Mutianyu Great Wall if you walk from Jiankou Great Wall.

In 2 hours, we reach the 23rd watch tower, the western tip of Mutianyu Great Wall.

we reach the 23th watch tower, the western tip of Mutianyu Great Wall

we reach the 23rd watch tower, the western tip of Mutianyu Great Wall

Walking down the wall

Walking down the wall

Walking down the wall

Continue to walk down

Continue to walk down

Continue to walk down

Walk down from the 20th tower to the 19th tower

Walk down from the 20th tower to the 19th tower

Walk down from the 20th tower to the 19th tower

We are moving to the 14th tower and 10th tower.  You can take a cable car downhill at the cable station below the 14th tower. Or walk downhill from the 10th tower or 8th tower. Or you may walk to the 6th tower to take a chairlift or toboggan downhill.

We are moving to the 14th tower and 10th tower

We are moving to the 14th tower and 10th tower

Below the 14th tower is a large platform with a special accessible lane from the cable station.

The 13th Tower on Mutianyu Great Wall

The 13th Tower on Mutianyu Great Wall

The 13th Tower on Mutianyu Great Wall

We are getting off the 10th tower and walking down the hill, finishing our fam trip from Jiankou to Mutianyu.

We are getting off the 10th tower and walking down the hill

We are getting off the 10th tower and walking down the hill

Travel Tip:  Hassle-free Jiankou Great Wall Guided Tours and More
Don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route? No worries, We at Tour Beijing have some options for guided tours to Great wall Tours:

Mutianyu Great Wall Group Day Tour
Mutianyu Great Wall Half  Day Private Tour
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Tour
Hike from Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall Tour
Hike from Jinshanling to Simatai Great Wall West Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall and Underground Palace Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Forbidden City + Tiananmen Square Day Tour
Hiking Cross the Wild Great Wall at Shixiaguan

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

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26 Responses to “Walk from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall”

  1. Morgane says:

    Hello,

    I’m a foreign student in China and my parents as well as a friend are coming to visit in July. I of course want to take them to the Great Wall, but I don’t want to go to a crowded place.

    I did the hiking from Jinshanling to Simatai in 2010 (in january), also went twice to Simatai that year (february and april). Last year I took my grandmother to Mutianyu, and this year I went again to Simatai (in march) as I heard it has reopened.

    I got really disappointed with the new Simatai scenic area, the fake Ming village, the huge car parking and the crowds of tourists. I have wonderful memories of the first time I got there, alone on the Wall with my family.

    My parents are 50/55 years old but with a good health condition, my friend and I are 25. My friend can be afraid of high in certain situations.

    I really want them to live an unforgettable experience, as I had in Simatai before it closed.

    Could you please help me choose a tour and give me some advice?

    Thank you so much in advance!

    Morgane

  2. Daniel says:

    Hello Morgane,

    Yes, I totally agree with you that the area around Simatai Great Wall has been too much commercialized. As far as I know, the four big companies have made advantage of the wild great wall trying to turn the area into a high-end resort. Of course, their purpose is making money instead of creating good experience on the Wall.

    But things are not too bad. We still have some stretches of the Wall less crowded and little restored, like Gubeikou Great Wall, Jiankou Great Wall and Shixiaguan Great Wall and the list could be much longer.

    1. Gubeikou Great Wall ( open to the public, few domestic tourists )
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/travel-review/gubeikou-jinshanling-great-wall-hiking/

    2. Shixiaguan Great Wall ( open to the public, few domestic tourists )
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/great_wall/2_day_great_wall_hiking/broken_great_wall.php

    3. Jiankou Great Wall ( from Zhengbeikou Tower to Mutianyu Great Wall, not yet open to the public, take care )

  3. KHAIRULHIZAM says:

    Hi, I planned to walk from Jiankou to Mutianyu this incoming mid October 2015.My friends and I are want to know if we need a guide for just for the walk, how much the cost will be per person? (Just for the walk).

  4. Daniel says:

    Hi KHAIRULHIZAM,

    Personally I suggest you have a guide to escort the hike from Jiankou. But you should have your own decision on whether you need a guide or not.

    Check out the link for the tour information:

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/hiking_tours/jiankou_mutianyu_great_wall.php

  5. Audrey Marcaggi says:

    ello !

    I plan to do the Zhengbeilou-Mutianyu hike this saturday with my parents (60 years old), my boyfriend and my brother (both 30). As we heard that it could be tricky to find the path I m looking for a guide.
    Would it be possible for you ?
    And at what price, considering that we already have accomodation ?

    Best regards,
    Audrey from Hangzhou

  6. Daniel says:

    Hi Audrey Marcaggi,

    Thanks for your enquiry about the scenic walk from Jiangkou to Mutianyu! One of our staff members will email you for the details late today. Thanks!

  7. Alan Lau says:

    Hi Daniel,

    am planning to do a trip next week to hike from Zheng Bei Lou to MuTianYu with my Fiance.

    Can you please advise on how much cost will your tour be?

    Best,
    Alan

  8. Daniel says:

    Hi Alan Lau,

    Thanks for your enquiry! Glad that you are interested in Jiankou-Mutianyu hike day trip. As for the price, please check out the link below and book online. Basically one of our staff members will email you with 24 hours. Thanks again for your enquiry!

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/hiking_tours/jiankou_mutianyu_great_wall.php

  9. Zuan says:

    Hello

    Can we book one of your tours on

    May 19 th or 20th 2016 for two people

    and how long does it take + much would it cost’

    Kind regards

    Reto Zuan

  10. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Zuan,

    Sorry for my delayed reply!

    One of our staff members will contact you tomorrow for the details.

    By the way, many experienced travelers enjoy the hike from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall.

    Alternatively, the hike from Gubeikou Great Wall to Jinshanling Great Wall is also challenging with beautiful views. Check out the link below:

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/travel-review/gubeikou-jinshanling-great-wall-hiking

    Have a good time in Beijing!

  11. Irene says:

    Great description.
    How much for 2 people. Tour september 14th 2016?
    Thank you

  12. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Irene,

    Thanks for your enquiry! You check out the link below for the prices:

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/hiking_tours/jiankou_mutianyu_great_wall.php

  13. Petter says:

    Hi!
    I’m going to hike from Jiankou (Zhengbeilou tower) – Mituanyu.
    I am wondering whether it is too dangerous to go down the Oxhorn Edge. I am fit and used to mountain hiking, but I do not have any special climbing experience, nor equipment. Is it too dangerous to go this part without any climbing equipment?

    Also, if I decide to go around on the mountain path, where will I find the start on this path? Is it a single path without junctions, so I can’t get lost?

    What towers is between Zhengbeilou and Mutianyu?

  14. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Petter,

    1. Ox-horn Edge
    Hiking Ox-horn Edge is strenuous. It is steep, up and down, treacherous and overgrown. If you are fit and hike gingerly, you will make it without any climbing equipment.

    2. The Shortcut to avoid the treacherous Ox-horn Edge
    It is a breeze to find the detour to avoid the energy-consuming half-moon wall (Ox-horn Edge). Roughly at the first broken tower – the starting point for the Ox-horn Edge wall, there is a beaten path or the shortcut leading all the way to the other side of the Wall. It is a single path without junctions. No worry! Talking on the paper looks a bit complicated. When you are there, you will be clear for sure.

    3. Towers between Zhengbeilou and Mutianyu
    There are several ruined and broken towers dotted on the overgrown sections of the wall between Zhengbeilou and Mutianyu. But we don’t know the exact names of each tower.

    Have a good trip!

  15. Jeff says:

    Hi,
    I’m interested in hiking the Jiankou to Mituanyu section and have interest in the Upward Flying Eagle Tower as well with a guide of course. I am not an experienced hiker, but am very sure footed and in good shape accustomed to walking 10 to 15 miles each day. From the fitness perspective I believe I will be fine, but I am unsure of the hiking aspect of the tour where equipment is recommended. Other than poles, and the proper footwear and clothing what other equipment is recommended and would I be in over my head?

  16. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for your inquiry! One of our staff members will contact you soon for the details. Much appreciated for your patience!

  17. mihai says:

    Hello,

    I want to do the hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu, but I want to start west of Zhengbeilou.
    It looks like there is another starting point, called Jiankou on the map, which also appears to be closer to the road.
    So, is it possible to hike from Jiankou to Zhengbeilou? How long would it take?

    Thank you!

  18. Daniel says:

    Hi mihai,

    You can hike from west of Zhengbeilou. But we only organize the hike from Zhengbeilou to Mutianyu. Thanks for your inquiry!

  19. John Miller says:

    My friend and I are planning to arrive in Beijing the morning of 8 April, leave most items at a hotel, bus to Jiankou, find a place for the night, walk from Zhengbeilou to Mutianyu the next morning, then bus back to Beijing.

    Can you please advise what guide services you can provide, and the cost/

    Many thanks, John

  20. Daniel says:

    Hi John Miller,

    Thanks for your inquiry! I’ve sent your request to our service center and one of our staff members will contact you later today. But your request looks a little bit vague and I don’t know exactly what you want. It seems you are independent travelers on a self-guided tour.

    Anyhow, they will contact you and hope you will tell them what you need for your hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu.

    Hope you have a good time in Beijing!

  21. Damaris says:

    Hello Daniel,
    I recently read that Tower 20 going from Zhengbeilou to Mutianyu is closed.
    How can you get trough the other side of Tower 20 coming from Zhengbeilou?
    When was the last time a you or a group you heard of, managed to get through T20?
    Thank you
    Regards
    Damaris

  22. Daniel says:

    Hi Damaris,

    Happy Holidays!

    Sorry for my delayed reply!

    Yes, Tower No.20 is closed with a 60-70 cm high wall. But the short wall can be easily crossed. The hike from Zhengbeilou to Mutianyu is still carried on like this. On weekends, maybe the staff members will be at Tower 20 to collect the entrance fees for entering Mutianyu from Jiankou (Zhengbeilou).

    This is what I’ve learned. If any further information, I’ll keep you updated.

    Thanks for your inquiry!

    0号烽火楼是被封上了,不过现在都翻墙,墙不高,也就60-70厘米。现在箭扣到慕田峪这条路线都是这样走。箭扣的门票大部分时间都不收门票了,不过有时候也有村委会的人在卖票。过了20号烽火台,周末的时候,有时候会有慕田峪的工作人员在查票,没票让买票。现在就是这样一个情况

  23. Roland says:

    Hey everyone,

    I would like to ask about the 23th tower.
    Is it even blocked? Is it possible to get through? End of last year, still it was but i dont know what has happened since then. Stricter? Or just climb over?

    Thank you
    Best regards
    Roland

  24. Daniel says:

    Dear Roland,

    As far as I know, now people can still easily go over the so-called blocked area at Tower 23. The possibility is that you may need to pay the entrance fee at Tower 23 to enter Mutianyu Great Wall.

  25. Savino says:

    Hi!
    I’ll be travelling alone in April and the 20th I was considering to do the Jiankou to Mituanyu walk, unfortunately I’m very strict with the dates so I can do that just the 20th.
    I was wondering if I can join a group to share the cost. If you have inquiries from other people for this day can you please let me know?
    Thanks a lot, greetings from Italy 🙂
    Savino

  26. Daniel says:

    Hi Savino,

    Thanks for your inquiry! Basically we don’t organize group tours hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu.

    Alternatively you may visit Jinshanling Great Wall by joining in a group tour. See the link below:

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/coach_tours/jinshanling_great_wall_bus_tour.php

Questions and Answers: