Hiking Mutianyu – The Great Wall of China

Friends and colleagues warned be before my departure: I was crazy to fly over 12 hours across two continents for only 7 days of fun. I knew it was impossible to visit each corner of the country I had been longing so much to explore – but I was determined to do as much as I could physically and mentally withstand.

And so, in addition to exploring Shanghai’s history and culture, we managed to squeeze in a day in Beijing, another one in Hangzhou and, of course, a trip to the Great Wall.

Mutianyu Great Wall, China

Mutianyu is one of the best preserved parts of the Great Wall, located at about 70 km from Beijing (which, when counted in rush hour, can mount up to almost 4 hours in a tiny bus!).

Mutianyu Great Wall, China

Being so close to Beijing, we expected a large tourist influx. But at arrival we were surprised to see that it was actually possible to have parts of the path entirely for ourselves. Ok, this usually didn’t last longer than a minute before the next visitor walked along – but still, we had enough time to take shots without anyone’s red cap or socks and sandals disturbing the historic view.

Mutianyu Great Wall, China

Unfortunately, we weren’t exactly equipped for a stoney old stair expedition – one of my friends was wearing wedges and the other one a similarly uncomfortable shoe. I, on the other hand, thought I was a smart ass by wearing my Five Fingers. Well, let me tell you something here: think twice about wearing them for a considerable long time on a really hot day!

As we reached the bottom of the BIG CLIMB (dramatic, right?) my feet felt as swollen as a foot of a hobbit. My friend-in-wedges had given up earlier, so it was only two of us left. Would dragging ourselves up there be really worth it?

Mutianyu Great Wall, China

Well, when you’re on the Great Wall of China – you can be assured it always is.

Mutianyu Great Wall, China

Hiking the Great Wall of China

Practical Information

Route: Mutianyu (From Tower 6 to Tower 20 – Towards Jiankou)
Elevation gain uphill: 400m
Elevation gain downhill: 180m
Length: less than 4 km
Duration: 2 hrs
Difficulty: Fairly Easy
Map: Mutianyu Great Wall

Have you been on the Great Wall? Which section would you recommend?

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10 thoughts on “Hiking Mutianyu – The Great Wall of China

  1. Well done ! You are so brave and adventurous! These are great pictures of the Great Wall! Which reminds me… I should go through my India pictures and post some. Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this article together.

    I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it! In return, I also found a great blog of Great Wall travel tips, I’d love to share it here with you and for future travelers. http://www.wildgreatwall.com/which-part-of-the-great-wall-is-the-best-to-visit/

  2. Hi,

    Gorgeous photos, thanks for these. When is the best time to visit, in your opinion? I wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle of China during the rainy season. Also, is it better to explore the Great Wall on your own or as part of a tourist group?

    Alana

  3. Hello, i’m fan of China! It’s fantastic your photo essai in the place that i dream everyday to visit. I never been there but i know very well the South of China as i live in Vietnam , I went many times to Yunnan and Guiyang. But it’s not the same thing , Pekin and The Great wWall. Thank for your nice post

  4. Great photos… and never believe what your friends say! It’s always possible to explore, no matter how much time you have. I’m planning on a big China trip next year, so this was sweet to see. Cheers!

  5. I climbed the Great Wall twice, both times around Badaling. I found the wall was much higher (and harder to climb!) than expected! Love it though. Such an amazing landmark…

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