We understand that most Great Wall hikers are here for the first time. We wrangled up a list of common questions about hiking from Jinshanling to Simatai West that we often hear. Don’t see your question listed? Feel free to contact us!
1: Jinshanling to Simatai walk, is this possible?
Simatai can no longer be accessed from Jinshanling. Jinshanling to the Simatai hike is not possible anymore. Since the trail from Jinshanling to Simatai was blocked in 2009, the original walk from Jinshanling to Simatai can be done halfway–Simatai West (East Gate). At Simatai West (East Gate), you will exit at tower 22 –East Five Window Tower, backtrack a short distance and then descend via a newly constructed trail towards a new parking area. Still, hiking from Jinshanling to Simatai West will bring you a classic Great Wall hiking experience and excellent views.
2: I heard that it is not allowed to hike from Jinshanling to Simatai, so I plan to walk Simatai on the first day and go to Jinshanling / Simatai West on the second day to see the sunrise. Is this possible?
Simatai Great Wall is divided into Simatai East and Simatai West by the valley. Simatai East has been partially restored and opened. The tourist area is limited to its east section from towers 1 to 10. You can visit Siamtai East on day 1, followed by hiking Jinshanling / Simatai West on the second day. Generally, 2- 3 hours would be enough to see Simatai (East).
3: If I hike from Jinshanling to Simatai West (or vice versa), can you confirm I only need to pay for my admission fee/ticket at one section (i.e., when I start my hike)? If not, where do I pay for the second section of my walk?
If you hike from Jinshanling to Simatai West (or vice versa), you only need to buy an admission fee/ticket at one section – at the starting point of your hike, no need to buy another ticket at the end.
4: I know that the best trail is to start from Zhuanduokou pass and head to the east five-window tower, leaving at the east gate of Jinshanling. How long would that hike be?
The entire distance of the walk is around 6 -7 kilometers. The hike typically covers 3-5 hours with some breaks regardless of individual fitness, age, and stride length.
5: Do I need a guide, or can I go on my own?
Both ways are possible in Jinshanling / Simatai West hike. Visiting with a tour guide, you will learn about the culture and history of the place on a deeper level and from a local’s perspective. A guide is your resource. You will be able to ask as many questions as you want. However, the cost of tour guide hire is an additional expense, whether small or large.
If you‘d like the freedom, flexibility, and adventure of walking on your own and don’t like to be restricted to particular travel dates, you can choose the self-guided version of the guided trip. You won’t risk getting lost, and if any emergencies arise, you will be well taken care of either by your guide or driver.
6: Is it safe to hike Jinshanling to Simatai West if it rains or snows?
You will likely 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 scorching. The showers will make you wet, bog your visit, decrease visibility and make the terrain muddy.
A heavy snow forecast, for instance, means the snow has a thickness of up to six inches. So much snow can reduce visibility and cover the paths, making the terrain highly dangerous. If the forecast warns of blizzards, do not attempt hiking the Great Wall. The slippery ground and the near-zero visibility challenge and disorients even the most experienced hikers.
Watch the weather (forecasts can sometimes be wrong) and know your limitations. If conditions deteriorate and you’re feeling exhausted, don’t hesitate to call it a day. If high winds, heavy rain/snow, or low cloud is predicted, postpone your hike for another day.
What is your mental checklist before you hike? What questions do you ask yourself before a day in the mountains? Do you agree or disagree with the answers above? What would you add? Hopefully, this will answer everyone’s questions about Jinshanling to Simatai West hike.
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