After a short but steep climb up a forested valley, the Great Wall suddenly appears through bare, ghostly trees, untouched since the end of the Ming Dynasty in 1644.

We take our first steps onto its crumbling surface and cautiously make our way towards the first view point. It truly is a sight to behold, with views that seem to stretch for aeons across the mountainous countryside near Stone Valley.

If you’re visiting Beijing, a hike along the unrestored section of the Great Wall in Yanqing is definitely a must. It’s a fairly challenging 10km trek that starts and ends near the Stone Valley village, but because you need to travel about two hours away from the city proper, it’s often devoid of tourists.

You’ll pass through General’s Tower, the highest point along this section of the wall, standing at 1034 metres above sea level. Katie, our brilliant guide from Beijing Hikers, explained that the tower was used as a command post during the Ming Dynasty.

You’ll continue south from General’s Tower, eventually coming to a narrow path leading you through a gaping valley and back towards the village, where a feast awaits …

What to bring:

  • Good hiking shoes
  • Snacks to eat along the way (water is provided)
  • Sunblock
  • A cap
  • A light jacket in case the temperature drops

For more information, get in touch with the great guys and gals over at Beijing Hikers –