Camping on Gubeikou and Jinshanling Great Wall. We still have no clue if it is legal, but we definitely know it’s doable. And it’s awesome.
After three months in China, we finally reached it! The glorious Great Wall of China was dividing us from the Mongols. But we thought our trip would not be complete without setting our tent somewhere along the way.
We started our two day trek at Gubeikou section of the Great Wall. We got lost looking for the entrance (as always), no one was speaking English (as always) but as always one amazing person appeared from nowhere pointing us in the right direction.
The Gubeikou Great Wall has never been reconstructed. It’s crumbling in some places, it’s being overgrown by bushes in others. I always had an image of this impeccable structure shining in own glory, but in the end such rough beauty turned to be even more impressive.
After reaching the end of the Gubeikou Wall section we simply went down from the wall to a path parallel to it and head to next section just few kilometers away. The path is well marked with red ribbons as there was a marathon not that long ago. As you ‘re walking in close proximity of the military zone, I was a bit (just a bit) worried that snipers will get us for trespassing but no. That did not happen.
The next section of the Wall is Jinshanling and you can hike it all the way to Simatai west. There is no way though to continue the hike to Simatai village, even on some side paths (not in our experience at least). Jinshanling has in some parts been completely restored, so you can see the wall in all its splendour, but in the same time there is more control (camping is prohibited) and more people. However, this section is so steep in some parts that not many people reach till the end. At one point my vertigo kicked in and I had a little panic attack being too much aware of why I don’t go rock climbing.
One of the most beautiful places to wake up in the morning. It’s just so darn impressive.
How to get to Gubeikou ?
From Beijing take bus nr 980 Express from Dongzhimen station to Miyun Bus Station; and then bus nr 25 to Gubeikou.
From end if Jinshanling walk down to the gate and order a shuttle bus to highway gates. From there you can catch buses to Beijing.