Top Tips on Best Time to Visit the Great Wall
Planning to visit the Great Wall of China and wondering when is the best time to visit the Great Wall to avoid crowds? There are at least five parts to this answer – time of year, day of the week, and time of day.
Preferably most people like visiting the Great Wall when the weather is moderate, but at the end of the day, all that matters is an individual’s tastes and schedules.
Best Time of the Year to Visit the Great Wall–The Quick Answer
If weather is your primary concern, the best time to visit the Great Wall is from April to early June and September to early November when the weather is warm and pleasant but the tourist crowds are not overwhelming. Summer is hot, deep winter – January and February – is cold, but that also means cheaper hotel rates. Spring and Fall are just the right time to visit the Great Wall. The cheapest time is from December to the end of February.
September-November (High Season)
September-November is one of the most popular times to visit the Great Wall if you don’t mind steep hotel rates. Mild weather makes this time ideal for exploring the Grea Wall as well as Beijing city on foot, with a backdrop of the changing colors of trees in the fall.
You will experience a clear lovely sky, incredible mountains and plenty of juicy fruits like grapes, apricots, and peaches. Many locals leave the city during this time, which means that it can feel a little crowded while tourism is high.
A long-sleeved shirt or T-shirt plus a light jacket or a knitted sweater is generally enough in early October. And November also ushers in lower temperatures, so be sure to pack a coat.
December-March (Low Season)
The Great Wall is at its quietest during these cold winter months, when snow is common and temperatures hover between -5°C and 4°C. Sometimes you’ll have to endure temperatures at -10°C, but you’re sure to save on a hotel. This is a great time for bargain hunters who don’t mind the cold to visit Beijing and the Great Wall.
If you come in these months when there are fewer tourists, you will find the Great Wall somewhat less crowded. Especially on non-holiday weekdays.
Winter lovers will enjoy the incredible snowy mountains as well as the snow-covered Great Wall.
The Chinese New year period also falls in late January to the beginning of February, and as a result, Badaling section is usually flocked with Chinese tourists.
Pack accordingly with hats, scarves, gloves, winter coats to keep you warm from the freezing Beijing climate of January/February.
April-June (Shoulder Season)
In April spring ushers in warmer weather, tourism isn’t quite peaking during these months, but they are still popular times to visit the Great Wall and Beijing.
You will also experience plenty of warm days and affordable traveling and accommodation rates. The whole city and the Great Wall are blooming marvelous at this time of year, making your Great Wall visit a truly memorable one.
Early April can still be chilly, so pack some warm clothes while a long-sleeved T-shirt or shirt and a light overcoat or windproof jacket will be more than enough in May. But be prepared to see a lot of flowers.
July-August (High Season)
The hottest season in Beijing, summertime is also a hugely popular time to visit, especially among families whose kids are out of school. The Great Wall will pretty much always be crowded.
During this busy tourism period, expect airfare and hotel rates to be at their peak and availability to be low. Book well in advance will save you from experiencing increased prices on flights and hotels.
Starting in July the weather gets hot, and the humidity gets heavier and heavier. Wear some cool clothes for sticky days that skim 40°C. Be sure to pack an umbrella as July and August are the city’s rainiest months.
Best Time of the Year to Avoid Crowds
- First two weeks of September: Once the summer rush has ended, most kids are back in school by the end of August, the city of Beijing slows down, so the crowds are not as heavy as they were. It makes it easier to book tickets, make reservations and waiting times become shorter.
- The deep winter months of January through early March offer your best chance to see the Great Wall as well as the city top attractions without being mobbed by tourists, though you’ll trade lower airfare and hotel rates for frigid temperatures.
Best Time of the Year For Kids and Families
- Spring break: A whole week off from school makes a particularly popular time for families to visit the Great Wall and Beijing. In Spring, the crowds are generally not as dense as they are in summer or fall. Save for spring break.
- Summer: Although the city is at its peak due to the amount of visitors every day, vacationing with families tends to be easier. It’s easier to pack lighter. No need for gloves, hats, scarves, etc. Preparing to go outside like visiting the Great Wall won’t be an event. The city offers loads for kids to do during the summer, from outdoor concerts to boating, kite flying, etc, but the seasonal crowds can be tough to manage with small ones and strollers.
Is Beijing Safe For Kids?
Beijing is a safe place for traveling with children and babies. The culture is very family-oriented, and that includes your family, too. Kids are welcome everywhere, and there are facilities and amenities catering to children of all ages. With a few considerations, your trip to Beijing can be safe and a lot of fun for everyone.
Is the Great Wall of China Child Friendly?
Mutianyu Great Wall is child friendly with complete facilities including cable car, chairlift, and toboggan. It is a wonderful destination for families with children and teens.
Looking for a cheap, reliable car hire service? Check out our Great Wall car rental service page: Car hire to Great Wall from Beijing.
Best Day of the Week to Visit the Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is open 7 days a week. So is there a day of the week that is best for visiting the Great Wall? Absolutely yes.
The best time to visit the Great Wall and avoid long lines is on a weekday typically, not always, but typically. It’s just the days when the last week crowds, the weekend crowds are gone.
If you’re looking for lower wait times, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are typically the best options.
On the weekends, you have locals going to the Great Wall with friends and family. You also have people who live near Beijing and want to enjoy a day to the Great Wall. For smaller crowds, weekdays are better than weekends.
Best Time of the Day to Visit the Great Wall of China
Just about any time of year, high season or not, I always suggest visiting the Great Wall in these times of the day:
- at 7:30 am/8:30 am when it first opens.
- 1-2 hours before the last entry.
- full moon night
In general, you will avoid crowds and feel more comfortable, or, you will take great photos and see the beams of light throughout the wall in these times of the day.
- At 7:30 am/8:30 am when it first opens. Even in high season, you will still see people at these hours, but much smaller than late morning and the middle of the day, especially if you visit the sections like Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Huanghuacheng or Gubeikou. The crowds tend to be at their heaviest from about 10 am to 3 pm.
- One or two hours before the last entry. Last entry is one or two hours before it actually closes, so if you go about two hours before that, you will have plenty of time to enjoy it and not feel rushed, but by then, the crowds have greatly thinned out. The “last entry” and closing times vary throughout the year, usually 4:30 pm in summer and 4 pm in winter.
- Jinshanling at Sunrise: The first rays of the sun illuminating Jinshanling is a moment of delight. The soft golden color is heartwarming. At this hour you can enjoy moments of utter calmness. Also, free of crowds you can enjoy the beauty of the wall at your own leisure.
- Jinshanling at Sunset: Jinshanling Great Wall looks spectacular when it’s lit up against the glowing orange and purple skies. As dusk is among the favorite times of the day for romantic therefore it’s highly recommended to pay a visit to Jinshanling with your significant other once while the sun sets. The sunset over Jinshanling is prime Instagram material.
- Huanghuacheng/Simatai Under Full Moon Night: The view of the moonlit Huanghuacheng /Simatai is absolutely beyond words. You get the opportunity to visit the Great Wall almost entirely to yourself. After a glimpse of the shining moon over the wonder of the world, few things will be able to enthrall you. A full moon also makes a great backdrop for photography.
In hot months like July, August, you should avoid coming in the middle of the day, as there is virtually no shade and no place to sit down.
Early closing hours in winter: Most famous Beijing Great Wall sections except for Simatai, Jinshanling, and Huanghuacheng closes at “sundown” so, in the winter months, you’ll need to come earlier in the day.
What Time Does the Great Wall of China Open?
The various sections of the Great Wall in Beijing are open 7 days a week, every day of the year, including holidays. The opening hours differ slightly depending on the month of your visit. See Mutianyu Great Wall opening times below:
- March 16 to November 15: Monday-Friday: 07:30am-18:00pm; Weekends: 07:30am-18:30pm, last admission: 4:30pm.
- November 16 to March 15: 8:00am-17:00pm, last admission: 4:00pm.
As with most popular tourist attractions, you would do well to arrive when the doors open to beat the crowds.
The Worst Time to Visit the Great Wall of China
While the Great Wall tends to be beautiful in every season, if you’re looking to escape the crowds or certain kinds of weather, you may wish to keep these times of the year in mind.
Public holiday: Let’s hop over to the public holidays. These are a popular time for locals to make trips to the Great Wall, and rightly so. Many locals love the atmosphere around the holidays, even with the extra crowds. The Great Wall is most crowded around the following holidays:
- The Labor Day (the first week of May, especially May 1–3)
- Qingming Festival (likely early April)
- Dragon Boat Festival (likely mid-June)
- Mid-Autumn Festival (likely September or October)
- The National Day (the first week of October)
The Great Wall’s busiest weeks of the year come in the first week of May, and the first week of October. Due to this huge influx of visitors, May 2nd, or, Oct 2nd could be the busiest day of the year.
Weekends: weekends typically draw bigger crowds to the Great Wall except over December, January, and February. It’s recommended that guests—especially those who have never been to the Great Wall—visit on a weekday.
Great Wall (Beijing) Weather by Month
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in January: January is Beijing’s coldest month. Temperatures range from -8°to 2°C, generally hovering around 3°C. Snow is likely around this time. You will find this is an ideal destination for winter sports and activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, and much more.(Average Max Temperature: 2°C. Average Precipitation: 3mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in February: February remains cold, with the average daytime high creeping up to 5°C. It may possibly snow. Sometimes extreme blizzards mixed with snow and freezing rain make Beijing virtually life less, particularly mid-February has a tendency to be really brutal and harsh. (Average Max Temperature: 5°C. Average Precipitation: 6mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in March: Winter is over and it’s early spring in Beijing. But still, it is a bit cold and windy, at least during night and early morning. And if you plan to go outdoor, you must need a good jacket and clothing that can be layered. Snow in March is rare in Beijing, though still possible – especially around the beginning of the month. (Average Max Temperature: 12°C. Average Precipitation: 10mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in April: Beijing weather in April is very pleasant and enjoyable. Days are a little warm and nights are gentle cool. Flowers are up and blooming, the grass turns green and everything comes to life after long, harsh winter. (Average Max temperature: 20°C. Average Precipitation: 25mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in May: May is one of Beijing’s loveliest months. The temperature ranges from 14-26°C, so it’s usually warm but but still very pleasant, and without the humidity that you’ll find during the summer months. Early mornings and nights can be a little cool and you might still need a light jacket. It’s an excellent time of year to explore the city’s many parks. (Average Max Temperature: 26°C. Average Precipitation: 30mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in June: June days grow warmer. It is the beginning of a beautiful summer in Beijing. Most days in June are bright, with the sunny blue sky while few days have occasional drizzles. Shorts and sandal season is in full swing, and the month’s long days (the sun sets around 7:45 pm) are perfect for catching the sunset on the Great Wall (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in July: The hottest month of the year, expect temperatures to range from 22-31°C. It’s muggy along with frequent thunderstorms. But do not worry. It is not all about the heat and humidity. You will find quite a few moderately hot, sunny days and pleasant evenings. And you might be greeted by some drizzles too. July is one of the busiest months of the year, full of visitors from different parts of the world. It’s advisable to drink lots of water and juices to avoid sunstroke, especially when you are on day out. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 175mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in August: Though July is NYC’s hottest month by temperature, August is the most humid. Sometimes high humidity adds fumes to already sizzling weather in August. It’s a good idea to drink lots of water and juices to avoid sunstroke and apply quality sunscreen lotion to avoid sunburn, especially when you are on day out. Beijing gets a good amount of rain in August, and mostly in the form of drizzles and occasional downpours. So bring your umbrella.(Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 180mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in September: With sharp drop in temperature and modest humidity, Beijing’s weather in September is really fantastic and enjoyable. Temperatures range from 15-27°C until mid-month, with cooler air settling in as October approaches. Because summer’s humidity has gone, even September’s warmest days are perfect for outdoor activities, but always check the temperatures and keep the light jacket handy. (Average Max Temperature: 27°C. Average Precipitation: 50mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in October: Traditionally Beijing’s driest month of the year, October boasts mild to chilly temperatures and crisp autumn air. Temps range from 8-19°C, so it’s a good idea to pack a light jacket – though you might not need it. The trees’ leaves take an array of colors from crimson red to golden yellow, resulting in a gorgeous masterpiece of nature. Many folks consider this a perfect time to see Beijing. (Average Max Temperature 19°C. Average Precipitation: 20mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in November: Days are getting shorter, chillier. It still has warm, crispy days with gentle breezes and placid nights at the beginning of November. The average temperature float around 8 °C and sometimes it drops to very low, especially during nights, reminding us about the coming winter. A jacket is essential, and a hat is a good idea. (Average Max Temperature: 10°C. Average Precipitation: 6mm.)
- Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in December: Winter arrives in Beijing, with cold temperatures, some infrequent snowfall and continues till March. Wind and temperatures can be bitingly cold. The average minimum temperature drops way below the freezing point and frequent wind chill makes it even further severe. (Average Max Temperature: 4°C. Average Precipitation: 2mm.)
Great Wall Weather Conditions to Be Aware Of
Beijing and by extension the Great Wall of China has its distinct climatic and weather conditions. With colder temperatures, rain, and snow on the Great Wall, it’s important to be aware of weather conditions and when the trails might be susceptible to damage. Basically, there are four types of weather to be aware of:
Great Wall of China Weather Conditions: Snow
If you visit the Great Wall in winter, you will likely see plenty of snow like snow-capped mountains. However, watch out for the treacherous and slippery icy terrain.
Wisdom and common sense would prove quite useful in determining where to walk. Put on suitable winter gear and equipment to prevent hypothermia and heed to the weather forecasts announcements.
A heavy snow forecast, for instance, means the snow has a thickness of up to six inches. So much snow can reduce visibility, and also cover the paths, making the terrain highly dangerous.
If forecast warns of blizzards, do not attempt walking the Great Wall. The slippery ground and the near-zero visibility challenges and disorients even the most experienced hikers.
Great Wall of China Weather Conditions: Wind
Winter and spring are the windiest seasons, where the storm can blow from 50 mph to 70 mph. If the terrain consists of ridges and exposed paths, the dusty wind will make hiking uncomfortable, problematic and risky.
A powerful storm can even blow someone over the ridge. If you intend to ascend the highest peak of the Great wall during any of these periods, first bring along wind-resistant gear, and make sure you carefully listen to the weather forecasts.
Great Wall of China Weather Conditions: Fog
If you walk along the highest peaks of the Great Wall, you are highly likely to encounter fog, irrespective of the season or time of year.
Fog is, however, quite prevalent between the months of January to June, and from November to December. Fog reduces visibility and increases disorientation.
It further makes it difficult to see the surroundings or find the right path. When you hear a fog forecast, just reschedule your walk to another day. However, if the fog comes down while you are on the wall, do not panic. Just take the most sensible option.
In case you are near the highest sections of the wall, and the fog only conceals the summit, it is safe to proceed. However, if you are in the lower sections of the wall and a thick fog looms overhead, your safest move is to turn around and go back.
Great Wall of China Weather Conditions: Rain
You are likely to experience plenty of rainfall if you visit the Great Wall in summer, between early June and mid-September.
Despite the torrential rain, the weather gets extremely hot. About 30 to 40 degrees Celsius making it ideal to wear light clothes. Even on seemingly sunny days, short and heavy rainstorms can come unpredictably.
It is here that listening to weather forecasts reward generously. Imagine being caught up in a thunderstorm while at the top of exposed summits and ridges. The rains will make you wet, bog your visit, decrease visibility and make the terrain muddy.