The Old Dragon's Head (Laolongtou),
the beginning of the Great Wall of China
# of Head
IN THE PRICES
* Free personal transfers from and to
hotel/airport/train station and drop-offs
* Entry fees to the Great Wall sections
* Daily meals (when hiking on the Great Wall)
* The privilege of camping on the Great Wall and exclusive
access to the camping watch tower
* All other accommodation along the Great Wall
* All necessary camping gears such as tents & bags
* Quality vehicle, professional driver and English-speaking tour
* Free membership card
* A credit of RMB100 toward your next China national tour with
Guaranteed no detours to shops,
markets, factories, etc.
1-day Beijing Group Tour
Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and
FREE AIRPORT PICKUP!
If you currently don’t have travel insurance then
you will be required to purchase our PICC (People's Insurance
Company of China) travel and accidental insurance.
The fee will be $7.99 per person, and will cover the duration of
your hiking/camping/trekking in order to ensure that you are
comprehensively protected if injured.
For more information about our travel insurance policy please
see our insurance page.
convenient and comfortable
trekking to explore on the ancient wall from Laolongtou (Old
Dragon's Head), where the wall meets the Ocean
Off-the-beaten Great Wall Long Trek
In this tour, we will start from the Old Dragon Head in Hebei
province, the eastern starting point of the Ten-thousand-li Great Wall, to Huangyaguan Pass in Tianjin, and trek on to
Simatai, Jinshanling and
Gubeikou in Beijing, and finally Jiankou
and Mutianyu Great Wall. The sections of the Wall you will visit are typical in
architecture, scenery, wildness, and military importance. The total length
we will trek in the trip is about 60km. Some part of the wall is too
broken to walk, please prepared to experience some hardship on the way.
You have the chance to visit and explore beautiful sections of the Great
Wall that most people will never see.
Free airport pickup!
* If you are looking for breathtaking views with a
relatively peaceful walk, then the Jinshanling-West
Simatai Great Wall hike is perfect for you. You’ll
also get breathtaking views of the sunset from the
vantage point of the Great Wall. This will without a
doubt be one of the highlights of your entire China
* You’ll have the option of sleeping overnight in
one of the watchtowers of the Great Wall, which is
sure to be an unforgettable experience! Watch the
sunrise and sunset from the best seat in the house!
* Visit the Qing Tombs, the resting place of China’s
last ruling dynasty
* Huangyaguan Pass is
designed to be a composite of the Great Wall,
therefore it’s like seeing the whole Great Wall of
China in a fraction of the time!
* Our program we’ll conclude with a trek from
Jiankou to Mutianyu, which also features restored
and natural Great Wall as well as a toboggan ride!
Our Great Wall hiking is a
private service. What this means is that you can hike on the Great
Wall at any time at your convenience. If you
would much rather be part of a group for
the experience for economic and social reasons
we'll check to see if there are more signups for the same date as
your own. We'll keep you updated whenever there are more. If you
would like to keep your tour a private one, please let us know and
we'll assign you a guide and driver.
Day 1: Beijing - Old Dragon’s Head -
We will meet you in the morning at
7:30 a.m. From
there we will make the 4.5-hour drive to the
which is in a town situated in the northeast of Qinhuangdao
City, Hebei Province. It adjoins the Bohai Sea to the southeast
and the Yanshan Mountain to the northwest.
We are reaching the seaside of China where the Great Wall
After lunch at a local Chinese
restaurant, we’ll have a tour to the Great Wall Museum to learn
about the history of the Great Wall. You’ll also learn about the
history and military strategy of this section of wall, as well
as see military relics. We will start our hike at Old Dragon’s
Head, also known as Laolongtou. Laolongtou is the most eastern
section of the Great Wall, which extends into the Bohai Sea.
Standing here is almost like being on a peninsula as you can
feel the overwhelming power of the rolling sea. This hike takes
about 40 minutes.
After marveling at the scenery here,
we will make our way to the Shanhaiguan Pass Fortress, which is
also known as “The First Pass Under Heaven”. Climbing up the
Zhendong Tower, you will see that to one side of the tower is
the rolling sea, while on the other lies the impressive Great
For the night we will stay at the
First Pass Hotel in Shanhaiguan Pass (a simple but clean hotel
with private washroom and hot water shower), and have a tasty
dinner of Northern Chinese cuisine to get you started for
tomorrow’s hike. Be sure to wear a long sleeve shirt, as we will
be walking through lots of bushes tomorrow.
Day 2: Jiaoshan – Sandaoguan
(B+L+ D, 4.5 hours)
After waking up and having breakfast,
we will pick up where we left of yesterday, beginning at the
Jiaoshan Great Wall we’ll head towards Sandaoguan. Unlike the
newly restored wall, the Jiaoshan ancient wall provides you a
sense of historical vicissitude. Walking on the dilapidated wall
is a great challenge. The wall appears more and more crumbled
and deformed as you forge ahead. In some sections, the wall is
only built on one side, with the other side being the deep
cliffs. In some sections, the mountain ridge is functioned as
the wall, which is called by experts "mountain-supported wall".
Watch your steps when you enter this zone. After a one-hour's
difficult climb, you will arrive at Dapingding Peak, the main
peak of Jiaoshan Mountain. You will get a panoramic view of the
Changshou (Longevity) Mountain Scenic Area. To the south, you
can see the full shot of Jiaoshan Great Wall and Shanhaiguan
City, if weather permits, Laolongtou Great Wall and Bohai Sea
can also be vividly recognized afar.
Jiaoshan Ancient Wall turns east from
Dapingding Peak. It first noses down the eastern slope of
Dapingding Peak, climbs over Liumianding Mountain and then
arrives at Sandaoguan Pass, which is actually a twin watchtower.
The travel from Dapingding Peak to Sandaoguan Pass takes about
one hour, and also, it is a thorny track which is difficult to
reach. You will have entered Changshou Mountain Scenic Area from
Jiaoshan Great Wall at the end of this trekking.
It is no exaggeration to say Sandaoguan Great Wall is one of the most wondrous segments of
the Great Wall. Amazingly, some segments of the wall here were
builton cliffs at a 90-degree incline. It appropriately earned
the nickname "The Wall Hanging Upside Down”.
After exploring Sandaoguan we will
drive to East Qing Tomb area, where we will stay in the local
hostel for tonight.
Day 3: Eastern Qing Tomb-Huangyaguan (B+L+D, 3 hours)
Following breakfast in the morning we
will make the drive to the East Qing Tombs. The Eastern Qing
Tombs, which is among the finest, best-preserved and largest of
the extant tomb complexes in China. Along the south side of
Changrui Mountain, the tombs of five emperors, four empresses,
five imperial concubines, and one princess are arrayed based on
the traditional concept of placing the most senior and most
distinguished in the center.
Of all the tombs, Xiaoling is the
biggest and most elaborate, standing as the focal point of the
entire structure. The grandeur of this tomb may be attributed to
its having been the first sepulcher constructed for a member of
the royal family of the Qing Dynasty, so the builders hoped to
set the tone for a prosperous future. Crossing through the Great
Red Gate, you can see buildings of different sizes, all with
roofs of yellow glazed tile, connected by the brick paths or
'sacred ways' that converge in the area of Xiaoling.
An example of the most exquisite
architecture of the Eastern Qing Tombs is Dingdongling, the tomb
of Empress Dowager Cixi. Although she handled affairs of state
for more than 45 years, she never ascended the throne. (The only
female ruler in Chinese history was Empress Wu Zetian in the
Tang Dynasty (618-907). Elaborate and highly refined decorations
and carvings inside Dingdongling make it unique among the tombs
of the Qing Dynasty. The main material used in the tomb, which
took six years to build, was gold, the symbol of royal family.
Shortly after lunch we will drive to
a small village, where we will start our afternoon hike on the
Great Wall on Huangyaguan. It is designed as a miniature of the
entire Great Wall of China, thereby allowing you get an
understanding of the entire wall in a fraction of the time. The
entire section is built on an abrupt mountain ridge. Being
endowed with both natural beauty and cultural interest, it has
become famous as a natural beauty spot and a summer resort.
After about an hour’s walk we will
reach a peak overlooking the valley below. Form the peak we can
also see the Huangyaguan Fortress, which was restored in 1984.
From this vantage point, we will be able to see its Baguan
pattern, a specially designed labyrinth designed to confuse and
entrap the enemy. We will then walk down to the fortress for a
fascinating and informative visit inside.
For that evening we will stay in
a hostel that is located at the foot of Huangyaguan
(two-bed one room with private washroom).
Day 4: Huangyaguan-
(B+L+D, 4-5 hours)
After waking up and having breakfast
we will resume our hike on the Huangyaguan Great Wall. We’ll
eventually drop down into the nearby valley and clamber along
the Wall as it gradually descends to the valley below.
Huangyaguan is situated in a beautiful valley in the heart of the
Yanshan Mountains. We start our walk heading up the steep renovated
steps towards what appears to be a sheer cliff face. This is where
we encounter "Heavens Ladder", a steep climb of over 200 steps
leading us up to the cliff face. Once we have caught our breaths,
the path continues gradually up to the top of the ridge and once
again the old Wall, which follows the contours of the mountain. We
drop down into the nearby valley and clamber along the Wall as it
gradually descends to the valley below
Afterwards we’ll meet our waiting bus
and drive to Qianganjian village, where you’ll have the
opportunity to explore an authentic Chinese village and meet and
interact with Chinese farmers. Afterwards we’ll drive to the
West Simatai Great Wall, where we’ll spend the night at an inn
located near the Great Wall.
Day 5: Gubeikou-Jinshanling (B+L+D, 10 kms,
We will head to the Great Wall at Gubeikou to
start our hike after breakfast. Gubeikou Great Wall occupies a strategically
important location, which is difficult to access. Situated between Shanhaiguan Pass and Juyongguan Pass, and about 62 miles to Beijing,
it is the bastion protecting the northern gateway to the capital.
There are 14 beacon towers, 143 watchtowers, 16 strategic pass,
three citadels and many other military constructions. Many of them
are famous cultural relics, such as the Big Flower Beacon Tower of
the Northern Qi Dynasty, Fairy Tower, General Tower, and the
dominant Wangjing Tower.
In 1933, when Japanese forces invaded China, the Chinese
army at Gubeikou fought hard to resist the enemy. it marked the
beginning of China's eight-year-long war to fight against Japanese
invasion in the World World II.
After walking on Gubeikou we will cross over to Jinshanling. Much of
the hiking that we will do on Jinshanling today is relatively easy,
as much of the wall here is restored and the surface smooth.
Jinshanling has five main passes and 67 watchtowers. Every 100
meters (328 feet), there is an enemy tower each of which is about
ten meters (33 feet) high. Featuring various structures and having
various functions, those watchtowers are either one tiered or
two-tiered. Among them, the most celebrated are the Big and Small Jinshan Watchtowers. The Wangjinglou Tower, the General Tower, the
Black Tower and the Taochun Tower are also must-sees on the
Jinshanling Great Wall. Each tower has its legend. Legend has it
that the stone bars used to build the Wangjinglou Tower were carried
to the mountaintop by Er Lang Shen, the nephew of the Jade Emperor.
The general tower was named to commemorate Wu Guihua, a heroine who
sacrificed herself to resist northern invader's invasion in the Ming
Dynasty. The Black Tower and the Taochun Tower were christened to
commemorate two girls, Heigu and Taochun, who made great
contributions to the construction of the Great Wall.
afternoon, you'll watch the sunset while walking along the Wall.
Then we'll take you to have a gorgeous Chinese countryside style
dinner served by a local guesthouse owner and also the master chef.
The chef used to work in large company's canteen for 28 years! He is
serve you Kong Pao Chicken, Stewed beef and potato, Green Pepper and
Pork, Fried Tofu in Spicy Sauce, Fried Egg Tomato, Sweet and Sour
Chicken, and vegetables (great for vegetarians), and soup.
What's more important is that all the
vegetables he uses are planted in his own yard, so it is organic and
Then, before it gets dark, we'll go up to the mountain and sleep overnight in a
watch tower. We'll prepare the necessary camping
facilities such as sleeping bags so you don't have to bring
anything but yourself. Here it is the sound sleeper's paradise -
let the mountain valley and the Great Wall echo your snoring sound! We'll prepare the necessary camping
facilities such as sleeping bags so you don't have to bring
anything but yourself. If you prefer sleeping in a local hostel or a
farmer's house, you certainly can without extra charge.
However, in cold winter, we'll only overnight in a local hotel for safe.
Temperature on the Great Wall is usually 10 degree Celsius lower
than it is on the ground.
Day 6: Jianshanling-West Simatai
(B+L+D, 3 hours)
The first thing we'll do today is to watch the magnificent
sunrise early in the morning. After a hearty breakfast (You can have
your breakfast delivered to the watchtower and enjoy your Great Wall
breakfast for just RMB 100/person.) with eggs, bread, milk
etc., we will resume our hike on Jinshanling's right wing, where we
will hike until we reach Simatai West
called Second Valley. As we head west the wall
will start to gradually deteriorate, making the hike progressively
more challenging, but also interesting to observe and compare.
Jinshanling Great Wall has not been repaired since 1570. It is a
remote and relatively isolated section of the Great Wall. As there
are relatively even fewer tourists at Second Valley part of
Jinshanling Great Wall, it is a good place to explore on foot. If
you are looking for breathtaking views with a relatively peaceful
walk, then the Second Valley of Jinshanling can't be better, so we
hope that you remembered to bring your camera! The Second Valley
features a complicated and well preserved fortification system at
Jinshanling. The Second Valley Great Wall meanders through fantastic
natural scenery and connects to the Gubeikou Great Wall to the west.
Simatai West, called the Second Valley, is the left wing of
Simatai. It is also in a serious state of ruins and
is thereby a perfect example of the true Great Wall, while also
being extremely beautiful and rustic. The wall is 7.8 m high and 5 -
6 m thick at the bottom. On the top, the wall is about 4 meters wide
with 2 meters high parapets on each side. On the side facing the
enemy were 2 m high crenels called Duokou. On the upper part of the
Duokou were large openings used to watch and shoot at attackers. On
the lower part were small openings ('loopholes') through which
defenders could also shoot while in greater safety from incoming fire.
In addition to the gorgeous scenery on your hike, you'll also get to
see how the wall was designed for practical purposes, that being the
defense against outer enemies and how the Great Wall was supposed to
keep them out. There are 'obstacle-walls' built perpendicular to the
parapets - a feature quite unique to the Second Valley part of
Jinshanling Great Wall. These 'walls-within-walls' were used for
defense against enemies who might have succeeded in scaling the
outer wall. The steps of the Great Wall at Second Valley are rather
steep and rocky with loose stones at times. It is important to
choose comfortable footwear with a good grip and support for the
Following our hike at Gubeikou we’ll
drive to the Jiankou Great Wall, where we will spend the night
at an inn nearby.
Day 7: Jiankou-Mutianyu-Beijing (B+L, 3.5 hours)
In order to hike on
Jiankou, first we have to climb up a path
for about 60 minutes to reach it. Our hike will today will take
about 4 hours and will cover 10km/ 6 miles. Jiankou is translated as
'Arrow Nock' in English, for the shape of the mountain is like an
arrow, with the collapsed ridge opening as its arrow nock. The
Jiankou section is known for its ruggedness and wild beauty, and you
will be in awe of the marvelous views it affords. As soon as we
reach Jiankou we will see a deserted watchtower that gives you a
panoramic view of the entire valley. In the early morning the view
is priceless with its morning fog. This section of the wall is not
well known by tourists, although if you see a picture of the Great
Wall from exotic traveling magazines, chances are it is from Jiankou.
This is the pinnacle of exotic Great Wall scenery.
This part of the wall is often empty, so
you will have some peace and serenity on your hike today. Another
highlight of Jiankou is the enemy observation tower known as, "Ying
Fei Dao Yang", so named because this watchtower was erected on the
highest peak in the area, and eagles and hawks often perch on it.
Although the majestic wall is slowly being conquered by small trees
and brambles, but the view from the top is still stunning!
From Jiankou we will cross over onto
Mutianyu, a section of the wall that has been largely restored.
Although it has gotten a face-lift, it avoids the army of tourists
that plague Badaling. Mutianyu offers some breathtaking views of the
valley and wall below, and if you look to your right you’ll see a
large sign engraved in the side of the mountain encouraging you to
“Cherish the teachings of Chairman Mao”. Mutianyu has also become
popular for visiting foreign leaders and celebrities (former U.S.
President Clinton visited Mutianyu on one of his trips to China).
You can hike down to the parking lot,
take a cable car, or take a toboggan ride (highly recommended, and
lots of fun!) down to meet our driver. We’ll then drive back to your
hotel in Beijing, ending your tour.