Plan your scenic hike from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall? 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 equipment 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:
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 phoneOn 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
Temperature: -5℃ – 7℃
Wind: North Breeze
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 ( But 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).
2 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).
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.
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.
2 Hours hike from Zhengbeilou Tower (Sharp North Tower) to the restored Mutianyu Great Wall.
It is a scenic hike from Zhengbeilou to the 23th tower of Mutianyu Great Wall. Along the way, we suggest you avoid hiking 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
Zhengbeilou seen from the east side
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 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).
The wall was built of massive stone and slabs
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.
A drainage ditch used to drain rain from the wall
The masonry and mortar clearly seen on the unrestored wall.
The slabs paved steps and floor on the 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.
Walking down the wall
Continue to walk down
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.
Below the 14th tower is a large platform with a special accessible lane from the cable station.
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.
How to Visit Great Wall of China
How to Get to Badaling Great Wall by Train
How to Get to Badaling Great Wall by Bus
How to Get to Simatai Great Wall & Gubei Water Town
How to Visit Mutianyu Great Wall
How to Visit Great Wall of China in Winter
How to Visit Great Wall of China Wheelchair Accessible
Travel Tip: Hassle-free Jiankou Great Wall Guided Tours
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
How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
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 Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites
Any questions, just drop a line.