The Best of Jinshanling: Your Essential Guide

2023-10-11   Leo Kui      0

The Jinshanling Great Wall is a hidden gem 130 km northeast of Beijing. With its breathtaking scenery, well-preserved architectural features, and fewer crowds than other sections of the Great Wall, Jinshanling offers travelers a unique and authentic experience. This comprehensive travel guide will explore the history, highlights, activities, best times to visit, and practical information for exploring the Jinshanling Great Wall.

Jinshanling Grat Wall logistics

How do you get to the Jinshanling Great Wall from Beijing?

Public Bus

After COVID-19, there is only one bus-Holiday Line 8; this bus only runs on Saturdays, Sundays, and important holidays.

Holiday Bus 8 only runs on Saturday and Sunday from 22 June to 25 October. This bus goes from Dongzhimen Wai station to the Jinshanling Great Wall directly. The ticket price is 50RMB pp.

Another way to get to Jinshanling is by train;

You can take the train to Gubeikou train station or take a taxi to Jinshanling’s Great Wall.

Beijing North Station to Gubeikou Station is S501, which runs daily. The departure time is 6:55 from Beijing North Station, and it gets to Gubeikou at 9:23 am.

Driving from Gubekou station to Jishanling station is about 70RMB and 20 minutes.

Hire a driver or book a tour.

As this section of the Great Wall is far away from the city, the best way to go is to take a taxi or book a driver to take you there.

Jinshanling Great Wall self-guide transfer service | Beijing Walking Tours

Entrance fee and open time

Busy season(Apr to Oct) Low season(Dec to Mar)
Open time 6:30 – 18:30 8:30 – 16:30
Ticket price 65 RMB 55 RMB

The price for the cable car is 40 RMB (1 way). The roundway is 60RMB. The cable car will close in wintertime.

Historical Significance of Jinshanling Great Wall

Construction and Renovation

The construction of the Jinshanling Great Wall commenced in 1368 during the Ming Dynasty. It was further extended and renovated between 1567 and 1570 under the supervision of General Qi Jiguang. The wall served as a crucial defensive structure, protecting the northern borders of China from invasions by nomadic tribes. The architectural techniques employed in its construction demonstrate the remarkable engineering skills of the time. Jinshanling section of the Great Wall is 10.5 km long with five passes, 67 towers, and three beacon towers. The initial section of the wall has been restored to its original condition, but the situation of the wall deteriorates towards its natural state as it approaches Simatai.

Defense and Strategic Importance

Jinshanling Great Wall played a vital role in safeguarding the northeastern frontier of ancient China. Its strategic location allowed for efficient monitoring of enemy movements and early warnings. The wall’s formidable structure and intricate design served as a deterrent to potential invaders, contributing to the safety and integrity of the Chinese heartland. Over the centuries, Jinshanling witnessed numerous military conflicts, battles, and skirmishes, further highlighting its historical significance.

Hiking Routes and Highlights

Popular Hiking Routes

Jinshanling Great Wall offers a variety of hiking routes suitable for different fitness levels and preferences. And you can customize your hiking route according to your fitness level.

One of the most popular routes is the Jinshanling to Simatai West hike, which stretches approximately 6 km. This route allows you to traverse both restored and unrestored sections of the wall, providing a comprehensive experience of Jinshanling’s beauty.

Start from Mid Gate-zhuanduokou-xiaojinshan tower-Houchuankou- walk to the main gate Route D (3.5H/6kms)—classic hiking from Jinshanling to Simatai West. 

Jinshanling and Gubeikou sunset tour photos

Other Recommend Route:

Route A (1.5H/2 km)

Two hours classic route: Mid Gate -Zhuandukou-General tower-shalingkou-Midgate. This is a moderate hike. The best view is from General Tower.

Route A(2H/2 km) Classic Photo photo route (2 Hours ) Take the cable car up and walk down. This is straightforward, but you won’t miss the best view! Mid Gate-Cable car to Xiaojinshan Tower- Shanlingkou tower-walk to the Mid Gate.

The most challenging part is at the Flower Tower. The stairs are almost 80 degrees; you’d better do it backward.

The Best place to take photos of the Great Wall.

Jinshanling Great Wall provides excellent opportunities for capturing stunning sunrise and sunset photographs. The early morning light casts a golden glow on the wall, creating a magical atmosphere. Sunset offers a chance to catch the vibrant colors of the sky and the watchtowers’ silhouettes against the mountains’ backdrop. These moments provide unforgettable photography experiences and an opportunity to capture the beauty of Jinshanling.

a. Photo at West Five Window Tower

b. Sunset at General Tower

c. Photo by standing on Xifangtai tower

d. Photo at Xiaojinshan Tower

e. Photo near Gaojian Tower

f. photo at Flower Tower

g. Photo at the east five-window tower

Best Times to Visit Jinshanling Great Wall

The weather at Jinshanling is about 5 degrees lower than in Beijing. The air quality is much better and always has a blue sky. It is not snow very often, usually 2 or 3 times a year. It is good to visit all year round. For photo lovers, it is better to go for sunrise or sunset. Jinshanling Great Wall manages to open early and close late, so give the photographers time to take photos at their preferred time.

Spring: Green Mountain Scenery

Spring is a fantastic time to visit the Jinshanling Great Wall. The mountains come alive with lush green vegetation and blooming flowers, creating a picturesque setting.

Around 20th April every year is the best time for the flowers. Usually, there is an apricot flower festival hosted by the government.

Autumn: Colorful Foliage

Autumn is another recommended time to visit the Jinshanling Great Wall. During this season, the mountains are adorned with a tapestry of colors as the leaves change to vibrant shades of yellow, red, and orange. The crisp air and the stunning foliage provide a picturesque backdrop for your visit.

September and October offer the best chance to witness this natural phenomenon. Middle October is the best time for the red leaves.

Accommodation and Dining Options

Jinshan Restaurant: Local Cuisine

There are not so many Restaurant options near the Great Wall. There are only some small shops where you can buy snacks and a pancake shop at the main entrance. There are shops on the wall for tourists to get water and snacks. You can also buy a bottle of beer or a cup of coffee at the shops.

But many local guest houses offer meals and accommodation; tourists can contact you or ask your driver or tour guide to help you arrange lunch after or before the hike.

Jinshan Hotel: Cozy Accommodation

For those seeking a cozy and comfortable stay near Jinshanling Great Wall, Jinshan Hotel offers various styles of rooms. The hotel provides options for families and groups from two- to four-bedroom suites. Staying overnight near the Great Wall allows you to experience the area’s tranquility, enjoy stunning views at sunrise or sunset, and explore the wall at your own pace.

The Jinshanling Hotel is a five-star standard hotel; you can stay in the local guest house on a budget trip.

Camping and Overnight Stays

For an unforgettable experience, consider camping on the Great Wall itself. While camping on the Jinshanling Great Wall is not permitted, camping sites are available inside the scenic area at the foot of the mountain. These campsites offer a chance to spend a night under the stars, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Rental tents and camping equipment are accessible, providing all the amenities for a comfortable camping experience.

If you want to camp by the Great Wall for an unforgettable experience, please contact us for more information.


Can I hike from Jinshanling to other sections of the Great Wall?

While hiking directly from Jinshanling to the Simatai Great Wall is impossible, you can explore nearby areas such as Gubeikou. These sections offer unique features and can hike from Gubeikou to Jinshanling or the opposite way.

Are there cable cars or shuttle buses available?

Cable cars and shuttle buses are available at Jinshanling’s Great Wall. Cable cars can transport you from the ticket gate to certain wall sections, providing a convenient way to ascend and descend. Shuttle buses are also available to transport visitors within the scenic area, facilitating easy access to different wall parts.

Can I visit the Jinshanling Great Wall from Beijing in a day?
Visiting the Jinshanling Great Wall from Beijing in a day is possible. However, be prepared for a long journey, as it takes around 2 to 3 hours to reach Jinshanling from Beijing.

Is it necessary to hire a guide to visit the Jinshanling Great Wall?
Hiring a guide is not mandatory but can enhance your experience by providing historical insights and navigation assistance. However, if you prefer to explore on your own, it is possible to do so.

Are facilities available at Jinshanling Great Wall, such as restrooms and food options?
Basic facilities like restrooms and food options are available near the entrance of the Jinshanling Great Wall. However, carrying water and some snacks is recommended, especially if you plan for longer hikes.

Are there any nearby attractions worth visiting near the Jinshanling Great Wall?
There are other attractions near Jinshanling Great Wall, such as Simatai Great Wall, Gubei Water Town, and Chengde Mountain Resort, which you can consider including in your itinerary.

Can I visit the Jinshanling Great Wall during winter?
Jinshanling Great Wall can be visited during winter, but remember that the weather can be cold and windy. Some wall parts may become slippery, so exercise caution while hiking.

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