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

2017-12-01   Leo Kui   , ,    26

Where is Jiankou?

Jiankou Great Wall is a wild Great Wall that is not rebuilt and is run by the government as a tourist sight. This section of the Great Wall means the wall around the Xizhazi village. This village is located 38 km northwest of Huairou district (100 km away 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). Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall hike is one of the most famous and TOUGH Great Wall hikes. There are so many reasons you choose this hike, but the most important reason is its beauty and quiet. If you want to hike this part of the wall by yourself, you need to 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.

What to bring during this hike?

1. Pack plenty of water. Even if you plan to hike for just a couple of hours, you do not want to run the risk of becoming dehydrated. Plan at least 1 L per person for this hike.

2. Wear supportive, closed footwear, and comfortable socks. Hiking boots are best. If you do not have boots, wear comfortable shoes with thick supportive soles.

3. Wear comfortable clothes in layers that you can remove or add as needed. Check the weather report, Check the weather pack rain gear or umbrella.

4. Wear a hat and sunscreen. Pack additional sunscreen.

5. Somewhere along the trail, you will probably get hungry, so you should pack something like GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts). If you are going to climb the dangerous part and are not confident of your physical level, please bring a hiking stick with you.

When you got to Xizhazi village 2 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 do the shortcut and take the cable car, the hike is only 8kms. How to get to Jiankou, you can go there by public bus or have a private driver take you there.


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. For more information about the village. Please read this: Xizhazi village and Jiankou Great Wall If you want to go to this place by public bus and hike the wall by yourself. Please read this: Jiankou how to get there?

There is only 1 main road leading up to Zhengbeilou tower. Please follow the road which looks more prominent and you can tell more people to walk the path than any other small little road. If you get lost on the way, please check if this tower (Zhengbeilou) is the one you need to go. 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. There is usually a local farmer charging 5 RMB for using his stair at Zhengbeilou. Don’t get in trouble, just give this little money. The view of Zhengbeilou is amazing! 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 the way to do a shortcut about 5 minutes to avoid going up the wall. After 5 minutes’ walk along the footpath, you will go back to the wall again.

3. Walk to Mutianyu Great Wall

After the Ox-horn edge, about a 30-minute walk to get to the rebuilt section-Mutianyu 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 is rebuilt and easy for walking.

Jiankou to Mutianyu blocked?

Mutianyu tower 20 is blocked, so you have to do 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 1 you will see is after tower 12. If you don’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 minute’s walkout. The main gate is easy to find! You can choose to take the bus home or tell your private driver to meet you here This is a tough hike, especially the part on the ox-horn edge is a little dangerous. In all, this hike is doable for most people who like doing exercise. 11kms seems not tough, but plus the up and downhills. You can count it as a 20kms walk.

For this hike:

Steps: 21305

Walking distance: 12.5kms

Flights Climbed:175 floors

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 tour:

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall (Small Group) Hiking Tour

26 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.)

Leave a Reply