Getaway Compass

Guide to Hiking the Great Wall of China (Jinshanling Section)

Great Wall

Jinshanling is a beautiful mountainous part of the Great Wall with both restored and unrestored sections. Since Jinshanling is further from Beijing than other popular sections, it is a lot less crowded. This section has several towers you can climb up to see more views of the wall and surrounding mountains. It takes about 2 hours to reach the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall from Beijing. There are several ways to get here, with the most convenient options being an organized group tour, a private tour, or a private driver. Continue reading to learn about the best ways to explore the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, what to bring for the day, and more tips for visiting the Great Wall of China.

How to Get to Jinshanling Section of the Great Wall of China from Beijing

Book a Group Tour

Save time and effort by booking an organized tour to visit Jinshanling Great Wall. You can book a tour through your hotel or online on Viator. If you decide to book through your hotel make sure to contact your hotel by email ahead of time to reserve the tour. The tours usually include transportation, entrance ticket, tour guide, a light breakfast, and lunch. Most tours will pick you up directly from your hotel and take you to the Great Wall. At the Great Wall they will give you about 3-4 hours to hike and designate a meeting spot. After the Great Wall most tours also provide an authentic Chinese lunch. Make sure to ask the specific details about the tour to ensure that it fits what you are looking for.

Book a Private Driver

If you are a larger group it may make sense to book a private driver. You can book the driver through your hotel or ahead of time on Viator. This Beijing Private Transfer to Jinshanling which you can book online in advance is a great option. The benefits of a private driver over a group tour are that you can go on your own schedule and you could have more time at the Great Wall. If you prefer to see the Great Wall during sunset, consider this Great Wall Jinshanling Private Sunset Tour.

Direct Bus (Seasonal) or Public Transportation

During the peak season (April to mid November) there is a direct bus from Wangjing West Station to Jinshanling Great Wall. From late fall to early spring the direct bus to Jinshanling doesn’t run, and you would need to utilize public transportation. You can ask your hotel concierge for directions as the bus schedules and routes could change. Note that the bus destination is usually only in Chinese, so make sure you are familiar with the Chinese characters for your destination.

What to Bring for Hiking the Great Wall of China (Jinshanling)

  • Sneakers or hiking boots
  • Comfortable clothes to hike in
  • Daypack to carry everything for the day
  • Layers, especially if hiking late fall or winter. It can get very cold and windy in the winter so make sure you have a warm coat, gloves, and a hat.
  • Water and snacks
Great Wall View

Recommended Jinshanling Great Wall Hiking Route

Enter through the Mid Gate (Main Entrance) and then from the entrance either take a cable car up to the Great Wall or follow the trail up for 30 minutes to Shalingkou. Since this part of the Great Wall is a strenuous hike, we recommend saving your energy and taking the cable car up and enjoying the view. Hike from Xiaojinshan Tower (where the cable car reaches) to East-Five Window Tower, which will take you about 2-3 hours. This part of the Great Wall has a lot of stairs, and there are many sections that are extremely steep.

If you have time and energy to continue past the East Five-Window Tower, you will reach an unrestored part of the Great Wall. It is very interesting to see what happens to the wall naturally over the years. The photo below is from this unrestored part. Be careful when hiking here as there are a lot of loose stones. 

Great Wall Jinshanling Section

Tips for Visiting the Great Wall of China

  • Choose the section that is best for the amount of time you have, your physical ability, and what you are interested in seeing.
  • Only hike Jinshanling section if you are fit and regularly hike, as there are very steep parts.
  • In the unrestored part most of the towers are falling apart so it is dangerous to go through them. Look out for the trails that go around the tower and connect you back to the wall.
  • Don’t forget to stretch your legs after the hike!
Great Wall of China Window

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Reut and Zack Elopement-5

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