Guide to Hiking the Great Wall of China (Jinshanling Section)
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. You can get to Jinshanling Great Wall from Beijing in about 2 hours by taking the direct tourist bus during the peak season, booking an organized tour, booking a private driver, or using public transportation. Follow this guide for how to visit the Great Wall of China, Jinshanling Section.
How to Get to Jinshanling Section of the Great Wall of China
There are several ways you can get to the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, depending on what you are comfortable with and how much money you are willing to spend. It will take about 2 hours to get to Jinshanling Great Wall. If you are less than 3 people we recommend booking an organized tour, and if you are 4 people or more we recommend hiring a private driver.
Book An Organized Tour
Save time and effort by booking an organized tour to the Jinshanling section through your hotel. Make sure to contact your hotel by email ahead of time to reserve the tour. The cost should be around 400 RMB per person and would typically include the 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 at least 4 people traveling, booking a driver for the day could actually cost you less than a tour (about 1500 RMB total). You can book your driver through your hotel. The benefits of a private driver are that you can go on your own schedule and you could have more time at the Great Wall.
Take the Direct Tourist Bus
During the peak season (April to mid November) there is a direct bus from Wangjing West Station to Jinshanling Great Wall.
Use Public Transportation
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.
Great Wall Jinshanling Fees
Admission Fee: 65 RMB (Peak Season March 16 – November 15), 55 RMB ( Off Season November 16 – March 15)
Cable Car: 40 RMB one way, about 15 minutes (optional)
What to Wear and Bring for the Great Wall
- Sneakers or hiking boots
- Comfortable clothes to hike in
- 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.
- Fully charged camera
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 two photos below are from this unrestored part. Be careful when hiking here as there are a lot of loose stones.
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 after the hike so your legs hurt a little less. We forgot to stretch and couldn’t walk properly for a few days.
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