How to hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall on your own?

2017-12-01   Leo Kui   , ,    31

Where is Jiankou?

Jiankou Great Wall is a wild Great Wall that has not been rebuilt and is run by the government as a tourist site. This section of the Great Wall means the wall around the Xizhazi village. This village is 38 km northwest of Huairou district (100 km from downtown Beijing). It is a super beautiful village! This village has 300+ years of history. It is surrounded by mountains from 3 directions, and the Great Wall goes from east, south, and west on the top of the mountain. (alt 615 meters). The Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall hike is among the most famous and TOUGH Great Wall hikes. You choose this hike for many reasons, but the most important is its beauty and quietness. If you want to hike this part of the wall by yourself, read all the tips before you go. This classic hike is about 11 km. The route is from Xizhazi village (Group 2 Nanjili 2 队南吉利村) to Mutianyu Great Wall main gate.

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Self-guide Hiking Tour

Research and Understand the Route:

Overview (5 steps):

1. Start at Group 2 (or called Nanjili 2 队) in Xizhazi village to Zhengbeilou (正北楼) (2kms) 2. Walk east to Ox-horn edge 3. Walk to Mutianyu Great Wall 4. Get down from the Wall 5. Get to the main gate and finish the hike

Jiankou to Mutianyu Hiking Map:

Walking Level: ★★★★☆ Walking distance: 11kms Walking duration: About 4 hours Optimal season: All year round, best time: March-December Terrain: Rolling to hilly Min Altitude: 331m Max altitude: 978m

1. Start from Xizhazi village Group 2 (it is also called Nanjili) in Xizhazi village to Zhengbeilou (正北楼)

Hiking started from Xizhazi village Group 2 (Nanjili ). Nanjili is the 2nd group of the Xizhazi village. When you get to Xizhazi village two dui(西栅子2队), the hiking is officially started. The whole hike is about 11 km. The highest altitude is about 1000 meters. If you take the shortcut and take the cable car, the hike is only 8 km. How to get to Jiankou, you can go there by public bus or have a private driver take you there.

There is only one main road leading up to Zhengbeilou Tower. Please follow the more prominent road; you can tell more people to walk the path than any other small road. If you get lost, please check if this tower (Zhengbeilou) is the one you need to go to. About 1-hour hike on the way, Get to Zhengbeilou (正北楼). You need to climb up the stairs. When you get to Zhengbeilou (正北楼 ), it is the official time to enjoy the great view of the Great Wall. The view of Zhengbeilou is fantastic! You can enjoy all the wild sections of Jiankou. Even get to the top of the tower. Be careful!

(No one has charged the stair fee anymore since 2020.)

2. Walk east to Ox-horn edge. 牛角边

It is about 30 minutes walk to get to Ox-horn edge. I think this is the most challenging part of the hike. The way up and down is utterly destroyed. Especially the way down, even without trees, you can hold. It is super steep, and be careful. The Ox-horn edge is not suitable for everyone. If you don’t want to make the adventure, take the shortcut. When you arrive at the Ox-horn edge before you climb up, there is a tower marked “MTY,” which means doing a shortcut for about 5 minutes to avoid going up the wall. After a 5-minute walk along the footpath, you will return to the wall again.

3. Walk to the Mutianyu Great Wall

After the Ox-horn edge, it is about a 30-minute walk to the rebuilt section of Great Wall Tower 23. From this tower, you will see a lot of red rebins on the trees, which are bound by tourists for good luck! After this, the Great Wall was rebuilt and easy for walking.

Jiankou to Mutianyu blocked?

Mutianyu Tower 20 is blocked, so you have to make a detour to go around Tower 20:

4. Walk down from Mutianyu Great Wall (3 ways)

1. Take the cable car to Tower 14. This is the fastest way to go down. The cable car station is at Tower 14. The ticket price is 100RMB per person. 2. Take the toboggan tower 6. It is about a 1-hour walk from tower 20 to tower 6. Toboggan is very interesting. 3. Walk down. There are many paths leading down from the wall. The first one you will see is after tower 12. Suppose you aren’t clear about the number of towers. You can find any way on your right side and walk down. It all leads down to the entrance.

5. Get to the main entrance

After you walk down the Mutianyu Great Wall, you need to buy the shuttle bus tickets and then take the shuttle bus to go out. Shuttle bus fee: 10RMB per person.

After the shuttle bus, just 5 minutes walkout. The main gate is easy to find! You can take the bus home or ask your private driver to meet you here. This is a challenging hike, especially on the ox-horn edge, which is a little dangerous. In all, this hike is doable for most people who like doing exercise. 11 km does not seem harsh, but plus the uphills and downhills. You can count it as a 20 km walk.

For this hike:

Steps: 21305

Walking distance: 12.5kms

Flights Climbed:175 floors

Other tips for this hike:

Obtain Permits and Check Regulations:

Regulations may vary, so ensure you have the necessary for this hike. Contact local authorities or the relevant tourism office for permits or specific regulations.

Plan Your Travel and Logistics:

Determine the best way to reach the starting point at Jiankou and arrange transportation accordingly. You can hire a private car, taxi, or public transport. Ensure you have a reliable plan for returning from Mutianyu after completing the hike.

Start Early:

Begin your hike early in the day to allow ample time to complete the route before it gets dark. Starting early also helps you avoid crowds and enjoy the hike at a more leisurely pace.

Pack Essential Gear:

Ensure you have the right equipment for the hike. Carry a comfortable backpack with essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, a first aid kit, a map or GPS device, a fully charged mobile phone, and extra layers of clothing. Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots, and consider trekking poles for added stability.

Stay on Marked Paths:

While hiking, it’s crucial to stick to marked paths and avoid venturing off into unmarked or unsafe areas. The Jiankou section can be challenging, with steep climbs and uneven terrain, so exercise caution and follow established trails.

Stay Hydrated and Energized:

Bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout the hike. Few opportunities for refilling water along the route may exist, so carry an adequate supply. Pack lightweight, high-energy snacks to keep you fueled during the hike.

Be Prepared for Weather Conditions:

Check the weather forecast before your hike and dress accordingly. Be prepared for changing weather conditions; it can be sunny and hot during the day but more relaxed in the evenings. Layer your clothing to adjust to temperature variations, and pack a rain jacket in case of unexpected showers.

Pace Yourself and Take Breaks:

Take your time during the hike and pace yourself according to your fitness level and the difficulty of the terrain. Take breaks to rest, hydrate, and enjoy the breathtaking views.

Respect the Environment:

As you hike, be respectful of the environment and cultural heritage. Carry out any trash you generate, stick to designated paths, and avoid damaging or removing any artifacts or vegetation.

Safety First:

Prioritize safety throughout the hike. Let someone know about your hiking plans and estimated return time. Stay alert, know your surroundings, and take necessary precautions to avoid accidents or injuries.


How long is the Jiankou section?

The Jiankou section of the Great Wall of China is approximately 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) long.

How long is the Mutianyu section?

The Mutianyu Great Wall, located in Mutianyu Village, Bohai Town, Huairou District, Beijing, is renowned as the “Unique Beauty of the Great Wall.” It is situated 73 kilometers away from downtown Beijing. The Mutianyu Great Wall has a total length of 5400 meters.

What are the unique features of the Jiankou Great Wall compared to other sections? 

The Jiankou Great Wall is known for its rugged and steep terrain, original and unrestored condition, picturesque scenery, unique architectural features, historical significance, and off-the-beaten-path experience.

What challenges do hikers face when exploring the Jiankou Great Wall?

Some of the challenges faced by hikers when exploring the Jiankou Great Wall include steep and rugged terrain, lack of official paths or signage, the potential for slippery conditions, and the need for physical stamina and endurance.

Is the Jiankou Great Wall open to the public for visitation?

Not really, but it is still great to visit. Contact us for the latest information.

Hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu offers a unique perspective of the Great Wall and allows you to experience its natural beauty. By adequately preparing and following these tips, you can make the most of your independent hiking adventure and create unforgettable memories. I will keep updating the latest information to help all the travelers. Please let me know any of your suggestions or questions. I would be more than happy to assist with your Great Wall trip!

Related post:

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall (Small Group) Hiking Tour

31 Comments so far

KajaPosted on4:34 am - Jun 25, 2018

Hello Leo 🙂
I was under the big impress of self trip form Beijing through Jiankou to Mutianyu. Seems like a perfect trip but as I’m going with my parents I have to make sure if this distance is realy 12km and the trip takes around 4h (average person). Could you make my sure if it’s possible to do this trek and round wey by public transportation to Beijing in one day? I will appreciate any advices from your side 🙂

    Leo KuiPosted on9:39 am - Jun 25, 2018

    Hi Kaja,
    This hike is 12kms. If you do the shortcut and cable car, it is less than 10kms. But the up and down mountains makes it difficult and tough.
    For an experienced hiker, it is easy, but I think if you travel with parents and you don’t hike mountains very often, it is better to choose a car service or a tour. If you have any problems you will have someone help you.

GabriellaPosted on1:58 pm - Jul 4, 2018

Thank you for the detailed explanation!
Is it true that the Mutianyu section is closed for repairs now? If so can you still do this hike?

Tejas KulkarniPosted on12:25 pm - Jul 9, 2018

Thank you for such a detailed explanation.
I am planning to do this trek on 17th July.
Will keep posted once I complete it

Dan panPosted on3:30 pm - Jul 26, 2018

Hi Leo,

Thank you very much for this information. I would like to do this hike this weekend.

I heard there is a guard now how doesn’t let travelers climb the wall at Jiankou. Is this true?

Thank you.

    Leo KuiPosted on8:03 am - Jul 27, 2018

    Hi, it is better not schedule the hike this weekend. As it is the rainy season, it might be still closed by the Chinese local government.
    It is a bit dangerous even it is not raining as the rocks may be not stable after a few days of rain. I suggest you visit Mutianyu or Huanghuacheng Great Wall.
    Wish you have a good trip!

GabriellaPosted on9:47 am - Aug 1, 2018

Hi! The he only day I can do this hike is this weekend. Do you think it will be closed?

MattPosted on12:28 pm - Aug 2, 2018

I would like to do the Jiankou hike in a few weeks. Is this hike open?

NicolPosted on7:25 am - Sep 6, 2018

Hi Leo, thank you for the very detailed information!
Do you think it is possible to do the hike next week on September 11th? Will there be a guard stopping us from going to the wall?
Thank you!

CharlenePosted on1:36 am - Nov 15, 2018

Hi Leo,

Is it possible to do this hike alone in the 2nd week of December?

Daniel FischerPosted on7:34 am - Apr 25, 2019

Hi Leo

We just arrived in Beijing to do this hike. Thank you for posting your update, otherwise we would waste a day to go out there!

Philippe and ChristinePosted on9:25 pm - Oct 12, 2019

On Sunday Oct 12, 2019, there was a policeman at watchtower 20, and he strictly refused to let us climb over the wall to the restored part. We had to use a lengthy, relatively steep but well maintained stone path to walk down. (But the hike up to there had been great).

YKPosted on11:34 am - Jan 17, 2023

how is the transportation from from Beijing city to the Xizhazi village, and how can i go back??
thank you for your information

Tim MPosted on2:00 pm - Apr 24, 2023

Hi there, thanks so much for this very helpful info. I am planning on doing this hike on May 1st. Is there any news about whether or not the Jiankou section will be open? Thanks in advance!

    Leo KuiPosted on3:03 pm - Apr 24, 2023

    Hi Tim, this section is not easy to access, you have to get help from local people who live in that village to get in now. I suggest you choose other sections of the wall to hike during the Chinese holiday. as it may get more difficult to go inside.

      Tim MPosted on5:17 pm - Apr 24, 2023

      Yikes, I already booked a driver and have some friends planning on going. I hope we can make something work! Thanks very much for the prompt response, though. (It does seems like some other hiking groups have done hikes at Jiankou in the last several months, although maybe not this specific one.)

MikePosted on3:51 pm - Sep 28, 2023

Just a warning for everyone reading this guide, tried to take a taxi up to the village from Beijing, and there were guards everywhere preventing you from getting up to the wall or even entering the village, this is post Covid, so not related to old covid rules. There’s signs indicating fines for going onto the unrestored sections of the wall.

TomasPosted on10:49 am - Jan 21, 2024


I heard the Jiankou section of the wall is now closed to hikers. I would like to book your transfer but I am concerned about this. Could you please let me know?

Thank you

    Leo KuiPosted on11:31 am - Jan 21, 2024

    Hi Tomas, Yes, there are some time you can’t go to Jiankou as it is closed. But this year is ok to go at this moement. But you need to work together with local people.
    We can arrange this tour for you. But if in any case it is not open, we will inform you ahead and change another tour plan for you.
    Thank you with regards

MarPosted on12:45 am - Mar 31, 2024

Hello Léo
Thank you for all the info
Do you know if the Jiankou section is open now ?

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