Hiking The Great Wall of China

So rather than taking just a day trip to see The Great Wall I wanted to be there for longer and see more than what just a few hours would allow. So I managed to hike for a couple of days and see both restored and unrestored sections of the wall and camp in a 14th century watchtower on the wall itself. Not bad

My first steps on the wall. This section, Gubeikou is unrestored so much of it is a rough stone path overgrown in parts with shrubs
View from a watchtower. Here you see the state of the wall and the path. The benefit of sections like this, even though it’s more difficult walking (or perhaps because of it), is that there are far fewer people, so you basically have the wall to yourself
Some structures need a helping hand against gravity and time
Don’t you know Danger is my middle name?! I took the detour but walked through on the way back. Nothing to worry about
The winding way of the Gubeikou, Jinshanling and Simitai sections (in the distance)
Admiring the view. A special place…
…unfortunately not everyone seems to share my opinion. They just dump rubbish everywhere. Sadly this was inside one of the guard towers
Incredible views, not a flat piece of land anywhere
Watching the sunset from the wall itself; something not possible with only a day trip from Beijing. Next day: Jinshanling section


Some information if you like that kind of thing



Although the Jinshanling has been mostly restored, there are some smaller sections that are in their natural state
The path and wall is well restored but guard houses are not generally, giving a mixed view of what the wall should have looked like and what it is like now
Great curves deserve black and white
Walls to hide behind and shoot arrows…
…like this one. I’ve got ya now!
Watching out for barbarian invasions…there were none. I’ve got your back China, don’t worry 😉
One of the most zigzaggy sections


Hi mum
I spy with my little eye…
The wall follows the ridge, pretty impressive
Australians made me do it
Tonight’s campsite is on top of this hill. Well actually the second highest tower you may be able to see on the left near some rocks
It’s quite steep in parts and tough going
Amazing I set up camp actually inside one of the watch towers. A great experience enhanced by the massive thunderstorm that rolled overhead during the site. Luckily the roof was still intact
Surprisingly I met an extremely friendly Austrian guy called Dominik up there who was also camping. He was planning to hitchhike around China. I think it’ll be tough but I wish him good luck. He was able to take this picture of this contemplating life at dawn. And I was able to take pictures of him. I say dawn but rather ‘getting less grey’ might be a better description


Although it wasn’t raining the bushes were still wet from last night’s downpour meaning that when we pushed past we got soaking wet. Dominik carefully climbs down (well, then back up actually, up and down, up and down)


Steep section on the way down
Usually you see photos of the wall that are close ups. Rarely do you see the wider landscape that the wall runs though. I included this image to show how the wall winds through the landscape but also to show that modern life runs along side it. Here is the town of Gubeikou, with a busy road and a railway line. You can also see what an impressive construction the wall really is and this is only one small part!

Next up: The Wonderful Badain Jaran Desert


2 thoughts on “Hiking The Great Wall of China

  1. Amazing photos Leo!
    What a unique experience to hike & camp on the wall. So surprising to see that some sections are so tough to navigate. A nice touch meeting Dominik.
    Glad you had China’s back if briefly!!

    Liked by 1 person

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