As one of the three most famous mountain passes along the Great Wall of China and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Juyongguan Great Wall is not to be missed.
Located in the Gyangou Valley, a climb to the ancient Juyongguan (pass) is a wonderful opportunity for tourists to take in breath taking views of the surrounding natural landscape, including the Jundu and Taihand Mountains.
Due to its location, Juyongguan (pass) has long been used as a military stronghold, with its high watchtowers at each of the two gates, Nan (south) & Bei (north) gate. The pass not only connects the inner land to the northern border of China, it has also played an important role in defending Beijing from invasions over many centuries.
Building work began on the pass between 770 – 476 BC and was first used during the Qin Dynasty, when building of the Great Wall began. It wasn’t until 386-589 during the Southern and Northen Dynasties that Juyogguan (pass) was linked to the Great Wall.
Since this period, Juyougguan (pass) has seen renovation during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when the pass was required to protect the northern borders from Mongol invasions. To this day five canons remain in place from this period at the south and north gates. More recently the pass has seen renovation during 1992.
Major Scenic Sites
Cloud Platform – located in the centre of the Juyongguan (pass)is the Cloud Platform gate, or “Crossing Street Tower”. Built in 1342 during the Yuan Dynasty, the platform is made from marble and consists of stone balustrades around the top of the platform, a watch post and an arched portal in the middle of the platform, through which people could pass and is decorated with carvings of people and animals. Originally, there were also three pagodas on the top of the platform. However, these were destroyed during the early Ming Dynasty. Later, during the Ming Dynasty a Buddhist Tai’an Temple was erected. However, this was also destroyed, during the later Qing Dynasty. Today, we can still see carvings of Buddhist figures and texts on the platform.
The Watchtowers – The Juyongguan Great Wall is a closed loop, starting at the South Gate. The high watchtowers along the route, once used as military lookouts, are now the best way to enjoy the breath taking views across the landscape. In particular, No. 13 “Beacon Tower”, located at the western section of the Juyongguan (pass) is the highest point to look out across the scenery. From this point, you will also be able to enjoy a bird’s-eye-view of the pass.
The Water Pass – Located to the west of the Juyongguan (pass), the Water Pass (Shuiguan) can be viewed from Juyongguan’s (pass) watchtowers. In the shape of a “V”, this section of the Great Wall is built in a valley where a river once flowed to the bottom of the pass to where the Arrow Tower is located. This natural defence, subsequently becoming a useful military tool, which lead to sections name “Water Pass.”
Plan a Hike
Route – Recommended for beginners – intermediate hikers, the Juyongguan Great Wall is a circular hike (approximately 4,142 metres long) that can be completed in one day or half a day if you would prefer to only see part of the pass.
Season – The best times to visit Juyongguan (pass) are between April – May when the mountain landscape is lush or from September – October to see the magnificent autumnal color.
Conditions – Depending on your hiking abilities, the steps on the western side of the pass are steeper than the east. It is also advisable check weather conditions in advance as the steps can become slippery when wet.
Facilities – Be sure to pack drinks and snacks for your hike around Juyongguan (pass) as there are limited facilities on site.
Admission – An entrance ticket to Juyongguan Great Wall can be purchased at the sites entrance located at the South Gate.
Beijing – The Juyongguan (pass) is located just outside the Beijing suburbs in the Changping District. It will take you an hour and a half to reach central Beijing by car, where you can enjoy exploring China’s historical, yet modern capital.
Badaling Great Wall – Located to the west of Juyongguan (pass), Badaling (pass) is considered one of the most famous sections of the Great Wall. Completed in 1505 during the Ming Dynasty, Badaling (pass) has been visited by over 372 State leaders due to its magnificence.
The 13 Ming Tombs – Near to Juyongguan (pass) is the imperial cemetery where 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty are buried. Visitors to the site can visit the three tombs that are accessible to the public and gain a valuable insight into the Ming Dynasty by exploring the underground palaces, excavations, stone sculptures and thrones.