Jiankou is¬†suitable for hiking with more wild scenery and steep way.¬†Unlike Badaling, Jiankou remains¬†untouched¬†and ‚Äúwild”.¬† Most parapets have disappeared.¬†Most part of Jiankou have weathered. It’s in a slow process of decaying.¬†If you like trekking through the wilderness, make a daytrip of walking Jiankou. It takes at least an hour of tough climbing to even get to the Wall.¬†Keep in mind Jiankou¬†can be very dangerous, especially in the rain or snow, so take care!
There are several different ways to get to Jiankou. You can either climb up from¬†the south side or the north side. It’s much easier to reach the south side from Beijing, but the climb up to the Wall is much longer and steeper. The north side is a longer route¬†but provides much easier access to the Wall. If you want to see Jiankou, I highly recommend you make¬†your first¬†step into Jiankou from the north on Zhengbeikou (Sharp North Tower) – the most popular spot¬†to enjoy¬†the amazing views of Jiankou. You may have seen¬†many beautiful pictures¬†of Jiankou from Zhengbeilou in guidebooks, videos, magazines.
Major Scenic Sites
Jiankou Great Wall is located in HuaiRou County, 73 km north of Beijing. It stretches from the Nine Eye Tower in the northwest to North Sharp tower (Zheng Bei Lou) in the southeast with 22 towers. It has many scenic sites along the way including “Arrow nock‚ÄĚ “The Sky Stair‚ÄĚ “The Eagle Flies Facing Upward” ‚ÄúThe Beijing Knot‚ÄĚ “Nine eye tower” etc. It is divided into Back Jiankou (north side of Arrow nock) and Front Jiankou (south side of Arrow nock).
Nine-Eye Tower, a prominent fortification, is located at northwestern end of Jiankou, around 1141m above sea level. It measures 7.8m high and 13m wide serving as the boundary between Huairou County and Yanqing County. Nine-Eye Tower has three floors, and nine windows which look like nine eyes on each side, making it so-called Nine-Eye Tower. This tower has deteriorated a lot but recently enjoyed some repairs. It has not exactly been rebuilt, as it still retains its original appearance, some stairs have been added on the backside to enable you to climb up to the roof, which has also been rebuilt. The section between Nine Window Tower to Beijing Knot is fairly safe. The wall is neither very high nor steep. The route from Nine Eye Tower to Beijing Knot covers 3-4 hours. Nine-Eye Tower has become a popular site for tourists. ¬†
The famous or infamous Sky Stair is a stair-like outcropping at an angle of 70 to 80 degrees. It‚Äôs called ‚Äúinfamous‚ÄĚ Sky Stair because of dangers and many people are injured there and some tourists pay with their lives. This section of Great Wall is so narrow it is extremely difficult to get a foothold. You have to go up by using both your hands and feet. You could hardly put your feet on because of the narrow stairs. Speaking of its danger, people without professional climbing equipment won‚Äôt be able to make it. Serious and experienced rock climbers may want to try this area, especially if they have some climbing equipment, but most would do best to avoid this area. This spot is an ideal place for hikers and mountain climbers.
Ox Horn Edge
From Zhengbeilou, you can easily hike to the east towards Ox Horn Edge.¬†There are several places where you¬†have to walk¬†along the edge, quite high above the ground due to the overgrown bushes in summer. The bushes may push you over the side. There are also steep slopes with loose bricks and stones, as is the case in many places on the Great Wall.
The Beijing Knot
The Knot is a three-way intersection (the meeting point for three walls coming from different directions). From the Knot, the north-east wall goes to the Nine Eye Tower. Eastwards along one of the entire Jiankou‚Äôs most spectacular stretch, one reaches Arrow Nock and eventually Mutianyu. Southwards the wall goes down to Moshikou and eventually reaches Huanghuacheng. From Beijing Knot to Arrow Nock (Jiankou Tower) is extremely dangerous with at least three places where the wall has been destroyed and you have to use hand and foot holds to climb up.
Minimizing your hiking weight: Once you have Jiankou hiking plans,¬† Minimize your preparations¬†if¬†planning on doing a small 4-5 hour Jiankou hiking. A multi-day Jiankou hiking is of course a totally different story. In general, the rule is: ‚ÄúProper preparation for more enjoyments‚ÄĚ. ¬†
Keep your feet happy: keep in mind to wear comfortable, practical, and durable hiking shoes or boots with proper ankle support.¬†Hiking shoes or boots protect us from possible damage to our feet. Hiking shoes or boots will serve you better than tennis shoes. Check out¬†Clothing for¬†visiting the Great Wall¬†for clothing tips. For more hiking tips, see the article: How to Have a Successful Jiankou Hike.