If one thing is a must see in China it has to be the Great Wall, it’s magical. It really is incomprehensible how they built over 6000km of high wall along a steep mountain range to keep out the Mongol hordes.
I mean, they must have been really scared of those Mongols! When you visit the wall it strikes you that the terrain is incredibly hostile in the first place, steep and vast mountain ranges stretch out as far as the eye can see. To add a 20m wall to this in places with multiple defence strategies on the actual wall makes it seem impenetrable.
A common misconception with the Great Wall is that you can see it from space, you can see the mountain range but you can’t see the actual wall, the towers and the wall are only actually around 10m wide at the widest part so I think you’re eyes would have to be pretty good to see that from space.
Jinshanling is is a place that Pete visited 5 years ago and it was a good option for us this time too, we didn’t want to visit a section of wall that had been newly regenerated, or a section with a lot of other tourists. Because it’s a 2 hour drive outside of Beijing and it’s actually in Hebei province not a lot of people visit this area.
One particular section of the wall was quite steep.
Parts of the wall are 400 years old in this area and it is crumbling and atmospheric enough to suit an adventurous spirit’s interpretation of this historic monument. We spent 3 hours walking along it and unlike Mutianyu (which is another more popular section of the wall) you can get up onto the wall within 20 minutes from the car park. Although Jinshanling doesn’t have a slide down to the bottom like Mutianyu does.
This area has almost everything that we are interested in; mountains, history, ruins, and hikes. There’s an older section to the wall that gets so crumbled that it’s impossible to go any further and the ruined towers stretch off into the distant mountains, some of them look so remote.
There’s a certain mysticism to this area that you can’t fully comprehend with the wall snaking off over the mountain tops as far as the eye can see.