We like getting out of the city as much as we can, so when the weather is nice on a weekend day, we take advantage. I looked up on Travel China Guide other parts of the Great Wall that are close to use that we haven’t visited yet. We have accomplished quite a bit already!
We decided to check out the Juyongguan Great Wall. It was only an hour’s drive from Beijing. It was a pretty easy drive getting there and as soon as you take the exit for this part of the Great Wall (you see the Water Pass and Badaling exits after this one–on our to do list!), there is a parking lot (No.1) right there or you can drive to the right and up into the town. We did that and parking in lot No. 2. It was great because all the parking lots were so empty! We got our tickets (40 kuai a piece ($6)) and headed to the wall.
I researched it a bit ahead of time (definitely helpful when visiting the Great Wall to have somewhat of idea of what to expect) and read that it’s best to start at the South Gate (the main one) and then hike to the North Gate before deciding whether you will continue on or end there.
This is a closed loop on the Wall. It was also recommended to take the eastern part first as it is easier than the western side. Ben and I opted to follow the advice. We went east first and I’m glad we did. Not just because it was easier (ha-not quite as long straight up!) but because most people (there were some there but not many) were going west first. We practically had the wall to ourselves!
It was cool being on the eastern part and looking at the western side. It also was a little intimidating to see just how see the other side was!
It took us just over an hour to hike the eastern side. Once we made it back down to the North Gate, that is where you decide whether you have had enough for the day and want to cut straight back to the parking lot or if you are up for more of a challenge and want to opt for the other side.
It was still early in the day, so we opted to hike the western side as well. Let me tell you-it may not look steep (in pictures or even in person) but once you start hiking it…it is SOOOO steep. I was so impressed with the older Chinese folks who were part of a tour doing a little of it (glad they didn’t push themselves to do it all!). The western side had more people on it (surprisingly!) which is why I liked beginning with the eastern side.
While I may have preferred the eastern side (not so much of a death march!), the western side was cool because you are so high up and looking down on the eastern side.
Ben and I certainly needed our breaks but we did it all-western and eastern parts in just over 3 hours.
I’d say this section is now probably in my top three sections of the Great Wall that we have visited so far. It’s close to the city, quiet, and a great hike with awesome views.
Stay tuned for a recap on all those sections we have visited thus far.
TOTE: Sometimes you just have to believe that you can do it and you may just surprise yourself!