Can Your Kids Come? Minimum Age for Hiking the Great Wall of China
Hiking the Great Wall is a true adventure. The journey is educational and it’s something that people will remember for the rest of their lives. One question that parents often ask is: How old should my kids be to hike the Great Wall of China?
It’s important to have a good understanding of what the trip is like and what their kids will experience, because a trip with a child that is too young could turn out to be stressful and frustrating rather than the amazing experience that it should be.
Most Kids Have Fun at Age 4
If your child is generally active and adventurous, then you can start hiking with them when they are four or five years old. A child under the age of four may not be mature enough to hike.
For example, the hike from Jinshanling to Jinshanling East generally takes about 3–5 hours. If your child is just three years old, then they will tire quickly and they probably won’t have the attention span for hiking. A short walk at Mutianyu with kids would be fine.
It takes time to get your kids interested in hiking the Great Wall, and you will need to expose them to the hobby a little bit at home before you take them out on a trip in a foreign country. A four or five year old is ready to go walking in the city or to do nature walks in your local area.
As they get used to walking longer distances you can get them walking on nearby trails. Once they have shown that they enjoy that sort of thing, you can do longer day trips, and then start thinking about something as adventurous as Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall hike.
How to Tell if Your Child is Ready
To determine whether your child is ready to go on a long hike, consider the following:
- Do they do regular physical activity?
- Do they enjoy being active?
- Can they carry a small backpack with their own supplies?
- Are they at a healthy weight for their height?
- Do they have the stamina for a day trip?
If you can say yes to at least four of those questions, then there’s a good chance that they will enjoy a full day hike of the Great Wall of China. Remember that if your child does get tired or distressed then it’s hard to just ‘turn back’. There are rescue options for injured or ill hikers, but for the most part once you’re out on the wall you’re expected to make your own way to one of the exits.
If your child tends to complain or moan about physical activities, then you probably don’t want to risk doing the Great Wall because that would be stressful for them and could ruin the trip.
Important Things to Consider
The Great Wall is safe for people who can follow instructions, but it’s not something that would be good for a child that tends to run off or ignore safety advice, or for a teenager that is rebellious. Carelessness can lead to accidents which could put the whole party in jeopardy.
Group Hikes of Private Hikes?
If you want to go on a trip with children, then a guided or private hike is a good option. Private hikes may be the best bet, actually, because the hike can be done at your pace, instead of feeling like you have to keep up with a party of other adults, who had not been expecting to have to adjust the pace of the trip to a family with small kids. A private hike can cater to your needs.