Conquer the Great Wall: Avoid These 7 Hiking Errors!

The Seven Most Common Mistakes in Hiking Great Wall of China

Enhance Your Great Wall Trek: Skip These 7 Pitfalls!

Hiking the Great Wall of China is an incredible way to explore this iconic landmark.

But watch out! This adventure can quickly turn sour and even become dangerous if you’re not careful.

Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!

Discover the seven biggest mistakes travelers make and how you can avoid them for a safe and unforgettable hike.

Let’s make your Great Wall adventure amazing!

1. Not Eating Breakfast

Get ready for an amazing adventure hiking the Great Wall of China! It’s not just a stroll; it’s a real challenge. Here’s how to start your day right:

Get ready for an amazing adventure hiking the Great Wall of China! It’s not just a stroll; it’s a real challenge. Here’s how to start your day right:

  • Fuel Up with Breakfast: Consider breakfast essential fuel for your body, especially before an active day like hiking the Great Wall. Eating a hearty breakfast at your hotel not only keeps you energized longer but also helps avoid the high costs of food at tourist attractions such as Badaling Great Wall. Opt for meals rich in protein and complex carbohydrates to sustain your energy throughout the day.
  • Example: If you hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu, the first hour’s hike up the mountain to reach Zhengbeilou Tower is very challenging. You will feel more comfortable after fueling yourself adequately to tackle this tough climb.
  • Energy Boost: Eating a good breakfast gives you energy for those uphill climbs.
  • Best Choices: Choose foods like oatmeal, fruits, and eggs.
  • Stay Full and Energized: These foods keep you feeling full and supercharged.
  • Morning Power-Up: Remember, breakfast is your essential morning power-up for a successful hike!
Avoid These 7 Mistakes When Hiking the Great Wall!


2. Not Paying Attention to the Weather

Before setting out to the Great Wall, always check the weather. This iconic landmark can surprise you with a range of weather conditions. Here’s how to stay prepared:

  • Check the Forecast: Always take a peek at the weather forecast before your visit.
  • Weather Surprises: The Great Wall can have sunny days, sudden storms, or even snow.
  • Example: In June, July, and August, the Jiankou section often experiences thunderstorms, which can make the trails slippery and dangerous, leading to injuries and even fatalities. Also, in winter, when the Jinshanling Great Wall is covered by heavy snow, it’s too slippery to safely hike this section.
  • Plan Accordingly: Light rain is manageable, but heavy snow, strong winds, or extreme heat need extra planning.
  • Use Weather Apps: Handy weather apps can help keep you updated.
  • Pack Smart: Bring the right gear for the weather to ensure a fun and safe journey.
  • Stay Informed: Stay informed and be ready for any weather, making your Great Wall trip amazing!
The Seven Most Common Mistakes in Hiking Great Wall China

3. Over-packing

Packing light is the way to go when hiking the Great Wall. Bringing too much stuff can really slow you down. Here’s how to keep it simple and enjoyable:

  • Pack Light: Aim to bring only the essentials.
  • Avoid Overpacking: Too much gear can make your hike harder.
  • Think Minimalist: Only take what you can’t get along the Wall.
  • Example: For day hikes like Jinshanling to East Gate, Jiankou to Mutianyu, or Gubeikou to Jinshanling, which typically lasts 4-5 hours, packing light is key. Include essentials such as water, a small snack, basic first aid supplies, and sun protection. Avoid carrying unnecessary items to enhance your comfort and mobility.
  • Hike Easier: A lighter load means an easier hike.
  • See More: With less to carry, you can focus on the sights.
  • Enjoy Every Moment: Lighten your load to step with ease and have the best adventure ever!

4. Being Overconfident

The Great Wall of China is vast, stretching over 5,500 miles. Thinking of hiking it all in one day? Think again! Here’s how to stay smart and enjoy your hike:

  • Know Your Limits: Understand that hiking the entire Wall in one day is impossible.
  • Be Confident, Not Overconfident: For example, the Sky Stairs at the Jiankou section have a steep incline of about 70-80 degrees, making them quite challenging. This section is not suitable for beginner hikers, so be cautious and avoid overconfidence if you’re not experienced with steep climbs.
  • Set Realistic Targets: Gauge how fast you can hike and set achievable goals.
  • Enjoy Every Step: Make sure every step is enjoyable and memorable.
  • Avoid Regrets: By knowing your limits, you’ll have a great experience without any regrets.
  • Smart Adventures: Here’s to smart planning and amazing adventures!
The Seven Most Common Mistakes in Hiking Great Wall of China beijing

5. Not Considering Time and Pace

Before setting off, consider two key things: time and pace. Here’s how to prepare for your Great Wall hike:

  • Assess Difficulty: Look up the difficulty rating of the Wall section you’re tackling.
  • Reflect on Past Hikes: Think about your previous hikes and estimate how long this one might take.
  • Find a Comfy Pace: It’s crucial to hike at a pace that feels comfortable for you, without rushing.
  • Example: Hiking from Jinshanling to Jinshanling East Gate on the Great Wall usually takes 4-5 hours if you maintain a leisurely pace. This relaxed approach not only provides ample time for resting and relaxation but also enhances your opportunity to take in panoramic views and photograph historical sites. Although it’s technically possible to complete this stretch in about 2.5 hours, rushing through can prevent you from fully enjoying and appreciating the environment. To ensure a comfortable hike, consider using a pace-monitoring app and adjust your speed based on how you feel. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, and pacing yourself appropriately can help prevent injuries and increase your overall enjoyment of the hike
  • Savor the Journey: Take your time to enjoy every moment of the hike.
  • Reach Your Goals: With these tips in mind, you’ll reach your goals and have a fantastic Wall experience.

Ready, set, hike smart!

6. Not Properly Using Trekking Poles

The Great Wall, with its ancient stones and bricks, can get slippery, especially after rain – and trust us, it rains quite a bit in July and August! Here’s how to stay safe:

  • Grab Trekking Poles: Use poles designed for rough and slippery surfaces to enhance stability and reduce knee strain. Particularly when hiking from Xizhazi village to Zhengbeilou tower at Mutianyu, poles are invaluable. The steep and hilly first hour of this trail can be strenuous, and poles help maintain balance and alleviate effort. Make sure to practice proper pole placement to maximize their effectiveness on such challenging terrain.
  • Practice Using Them: Don’t just bring them—practice with them!
  • Adjust Their Height: Make sure they’re set to the right height for you.
  • Learn to Use Them Correctly: Mastering your poles ensures a safer hike.
  • Enjoy the Journey: With trekking poles, you’ll have a safer and more enjoyable time on the Wall.

7. Getting Caught in the Dark

Remember, the Great Wall isn’t lit up like city streets. When the sun sets, it’s pitch black, cold, and very quiet. Don’t get caught unprepared! Here’s how to avoid it:

  • Pack a Light Source: Bring a reliable light source, either electric or battery-powered.
  • Know Sunset Time: Check the sunset time for your hiking day.
  • Adjust Your Pace: Plan your hike to be safely off the Wall before dark.
  • Exception for Sunrise & Sunset: Visiting the Jinshanling Great Wall during sunrise or sunset is a remarkable experience, and safety measures are in place for those on the Wall after dark. This section is popular for its stunning views, and the local office has enhanced safety with adequate lighting and staff assistance. While it’s generally safe, carrying your light source is still a good precaution. Enjoy these breathtaking moments with peace of mind.

With these steps, you’ll ensure a safe and enjoyable hike.

The Seven Most Common Mistakes in Hiking Great Wall of Beijing


Q: Is it really necessary to plan for weather changes when hiking the Great Wall?

A: Absolutely! The Great Wall sees a variety of weather conditions, from intense sun to heavy rain.

Proper preparation can significantly enhance your hiking experience.

Q: I’ve hiked many trails before. Will the Great Wall still pose unique challenges?

A: Yes, the Great Wall is distinct in terrain, altitude, and length.

Even experienced hikers can benefit from understanding its specific challenges.

Q: How much should I pack for a day hike on the Great Wall?

A: Over-packing is a common mistake.

It’s essential to carry only necessities, keeping the weight down for mobility and comfort on the uneven terrains of the Wall.

Q: Are trekking poles necessary for the hike?

A: They’re highly recommended, especially for the uneven and sometimes slippery terrains.

The Wall’s ancient stones can be slick when wet, and trekking poles offer stability and support.

Avoid These 7 Mistakes When Hiking the Great Wall!



In conclusion, the Great Wall is more than just a trek; it’s an experience of a lifetime.

By sidestepping these seven common mistakes, you not only ensure a safer journey but also one filled with enriching memories.

Knowledge is your best companion on this trail.

Equip yourself, respect the path, and let every step on this ancient marvel be a testament to your thoughtful preparation.

Happy hiking!

Need More Great Wall Travel Tips?

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