Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Mutianyu Great Wall (+ 6 FAQs)

Mutianyu Great Wall is around 1.5 hours of driving from downtown Beijing, or at least 1 hour and 30 minutes if you are coming from PEK Airport by road.

Being the fully restored section of the Great Wall, Mutianyu is much quieter and easier to walk in than Badaling. With fewer tour buses, stops, easier walking conditions, and convenient facilities (cable car, chairlift, and toboggan), Mutianyu is a good alternative to Badaling.

Great Wall map Mutianyu
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Table of Contents

Go Early-Just Be Prepared To Walk

The best way to have an exciting tour of the Mutianyu is to start very early at dawn. If you have a layover in Beijing, then early morning is the best time to visit the Great Wall from the airport.

Getting to Mutianyu early in the morning will enjoy the best walk, with the perfect opportunity to ride a cable car or chairlift for the shortest trip up the Wall. You should, however, relieve yourself before reaching Mutianyu since there are very limited restrooms.

The entire Mutianyu section is 2.2 kilometers long; going early in the morning gives you adequate time to tour all the towers starting from the first to the twentieth tower.

Bring Comfortable Shoes

Walking the Great Wall of China is no stroll in the park, although the surface of Mutianyu is generally smooth. The section between tower 19 and 20 (left towers when you’re facing the entrance) is steep, containing approx. 450 steps. If you find climbing vertical steps exciting, you will enjoy this part of the Wall.

Similarly, the vertical steps between the 1st and the 6th towers may add to the difficulty of your walk. If you are not in good shape, you may struggle.

However, thanks to the cable car and the chairlift, you can still get to the top of the Mutianyu without hiking up the Wall. You only need to book a seat in either.

Check the Weather Forecast

It’s advisable to check Mutianyu weather forecast before you start your walk; if heavy rain/ snow/ low clouds or other severe weather conditions are predicted, postpone your hike for another day.

The Great wall of China ancient national architectural landmakrs high in Mutianyu mountains under blue sky tracing away
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Walk Duration Is Approx. 2-3 hours

About 9 million people walk along all or part of Mutianyu Great Wall each year, enjoying exceptional views. The entire Mutianyu walk will take approximately 2 -3 hours, with plenty of relaxation, resting, and picture taking.

The Mutianyu trails are well-formed and easy to follow, making walking along with them relatively easy. It takes 40 minutes to hike uphill to the Wall, with some breaks regardless of individual fitness, age, and stride length.

Walk up the trails to reach the sixth, eighth or tenth tower. If you are coming from the Dream Stone City or the South Entrance, near the toboggan, walk up the stairs to reach towers six or eight.

Alternatively, walk up from North Entrance close to the cable car station, and ascend the stairs till you reach tower eight or ten.

Three Easy Ways to Visit Mutianyu

There are three easy/popular means of ascending/descending the Mutianyu. They include:

  • The Toboggan (slide)
  • The Chairlift
  • The Cable car
Mutianyu Great Wall toboggan
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1. The Mutianyu Toboggan (Slide)

If you search for a fast and convenient way of returning to the entrance, your solution lies in riding the toboggan.

You can hop aboard the toboggan and travel from the Wall to the valley below on a metal winding track. Alone or in pairs, you ride the toboggan reaching speeds of up to 45km/hr, traveling through the valley to the bottom of the hill.

Situated between tower six and tower 5, with no marking, near a side gate on the Wall, the toboggan runs for 5184 feet or 1580 meters long. Since 1998 when it started operating, the toboggan runs all year round, only pausing operations during extreme weather conditions like heavy rains or snow.

Open hour: 8am-5pm in summer. 8:30am – 4:30pm in winter.

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Mutianyu Great Wall Toboggan uses the acceleration theory of gravity and makes you dive along the mountain path like low-latitude flying or high-speed driving.

The toboggan ride goes down a series of zigzag bends, with an altitude difference of 100 m (328 ft). Carts for single and double is available so that adult can keep their child accompanied during the toboggan ride. Mutianyu Toboggan down cost: RMB 100 per person.

Where to Board Toboggan

You can take a toboggan down from the No. 6 Watchtower near the South Entrance. You can easily find it.

How to Control Toboggan

  • Although you may be backed up a little, the toboggan is fun, safe, and not scary. Moreover, it is easy to use control features – push handle forward = speed up, pull back = brake.
  • Keep your hands and feet inside the toboggan, sit centrally (center of gravity!) on the sledge – do not touch the track or lean outside; you might burn yourself or fall out.
  • Do not stop, stand still, or exit on the run.
  • Always keep a distance of 10 meters on the run between yourself and the person in front. Ride safely and at a speed that does not endanger you or others.
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The Best Time to Ride Toboggan

The perfect time to have a memorable toboggan ride on the Mutianyu is weekdays. Try to avoid visiting the Mutianyu during holidays or on weekends, as more people would take weekends to explore it, making the Great Wall rather crowded than usual.

Avoiding the long lines: go either early in the morning from 8 am to 11 am or much later in the afternoon between 2 pm to 5 pm to avoid the crowds. Avoid getting stuck behind other riders who are scared of moving fast if you don’t want to ruin your fun.

Is There a Weight Limit for Tobogganing?

Most people can ride (maximum weight 110 kg). You decide the speed yourself, and in theory, heavier loads make the toboggan go faster.

Restrictions for Riding Toboggan

The sick, the elderly, and children below the age of ten or have a height measuring less than 130 cm must be accompanied by a responsible adult to ride.

A word of caution, though, you cannot use a toboggan ticket on a cable car and vice versa, as different companies run both the chair lift/toboggan and the cable car and do not accept each others’ tickets. A return ticket for the cable car will not get you down on the chairlift or toboggan. You can buy tickets for all three at the top, so best to decide before you go.

2. The Chairlift

A 550 meters long open chairlift will take you from the parking lot to tower six and vice versa in under ten minutes.

The open ski-lift cable car can comfortably accommodate two passengers side by side. The ride offers a perfect elevated opportunity to sit back, relax and savor the breathtaking beauty of the Mutianyu Great Wall section.

The chairlift works from 8 am to 5 pm during summer, while in winter, it runs from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

The good thing about the chairlift is you can ride down either using the chairlift or the toboggan if you have two-way tickets.

The chairlift lets you relax if you had a longish hike, sit back, and enjoy the scenery.

Chairlift Price and How to Pay For the Ride

To buy a chairlift ticket at Mutianyu, you can pay cash at the tourist center or the south ticket booth.

Chairlift One Way: RMB 100
Children 12 & Under: RMB 60
Chairlift Two Way: RMB 120
Children 12 & Under: RMB 80

Where to Board A Chairlift

Chairlift lower station is near the south ticket check, and the upper station is between tower five and tower 6; you can easily find it.

How to Get on A Chairlift

Riding the chairlift is simpler than you think.

  1. Once you get on the chairlift, move your body to the “load here” line.
  2. Just sit down when the chair touches the back of your legs and put the safety/footrest bar down.
  3. If you are riding with strangers who have not put the safety/footrest bar down, ask that you pull the bar down.

Feeling confident on the chairlift can make your Mutianyu Great Wall visit more pleasant.

How to Get Off A Chairlift

  1. As you approach the upper chairlift station, make sure your feet are off the footrest and put it up.
  2. Stay where you are on the seat until you reach the “unload here” marker.
  3. Use your free hands to push up the chair to stand up, get out in a clear zone, and walk away.
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3. The Cable Car

If the prospect of climbing the Mutianyu turns you off, then you will love the cable car. It is a six-passenger seating capacity vehicle, which offers a convenient and efficient manner of getting to the top.

Riding the cable car is a quick journey from one side to the other – only about 8 minutes – but booking yourself for a roundtrip visit is possible. The cable cars are spaced 30 seconds apart, and such high frequency means long queues aren’t a problem.

The cable car brings you to the platform close to tower 14. You will notice that two separate companies operate the cable car and the Chairlift at Mutianyu. If you take the red enclosed cable cars, it will take you up to the 14th tower, from where you can either descend the Wall or continue walking uphill.

Open hour: 8am-5pm in summer. 8:30am – 4:30pm in winter. Please note that the cable car may temporarily close in high winds or dangerous weather.

Cable Car Price and How to Pay For the Ride

Pay before you get on. You can buy tickets either at the tourist center or at the booth near the cable car station.

Cable Car One Way: RMB 100
Children One Way: RMB 50
Cable Car Two Way: RMB 120
Children Two Way: RMB 60

Where to Board Cable Car

It’s easy to find and board a cable car. The lower station of Mutianyu cable car is near the North Entrance, while the upper station is near the tower 14 watchtower. When waiting at the station, you’ll see the cable car approaching.

How to Ride Cable Car

Four things to know:

  1. Riding a cable car at Mutianyu is between riding an enclosed bus and taking a roller coaster ride (but a slow roller coaster!)
  2. When it’s your turn to get on, you can sit anywhere there are seats available or stand and hold onto a pole near the door. Many people prefer to sit down for a more comfortable ride.
  3. Take your bag off the back, and place the bag between your legs if you want to have the best views or the most comfortable ride!
  4. Keep your arms and legs inside the car for safety reasons.

Getting Off Cable Car

Three things to know:

  1. Be very careful getting off. You will be stepping right into a lane of traffic. Getting off when the car moves very slowly is the safest.
  2. Stand with your back against the car and lower yourself carefully so you don’t hit your head.
  3. Don’t rush. Rotate and slide feet out.

Touring Mutianyu Great Wall by cable car is a rewarding experience and a productive way of spending your holiday.

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Is Cable Car/Chairlift/Toboggan Safe?

Yes, if you sit on the benches or stand inside, they are safe. Cable Car/chairlift/toboggan is used safely on Mutianyu every day. Just apply simple common sense, obey the safety rules and pay attention. You will be one of the hundreds of thousands of people who ride every year on Mutianyu and go away with beautiful memories.

Mutianyu Shuttle Bus Service

Mutianyu Great Wall cable car/chairlift entrance is approx. 3km away from the ticket booth/ parking lot. You can ride a shuttle bus (15RMB p.p/10 minutes ride) or walk to the entrance.

The shuttle bus is convenient and drops you off outside the cable car/chairlift entrance. Then you can either go up by cable car/chairlift (approx. 10 minutes ride) or just climb up. You return to the parking lot/ticket booth by shuttle bus when you finish.

shuttle bus Mutianyu Great Wall
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Suggested Walking Routes With Maps

Mutianyu has two entrances — cable car/hiking trail entrance (north entrance) and chairlift/ toboggan/hiking trail entrance (south entrance). To facilitate movement through Mutianyu, visitors entering the north entrance can choose between two popular routes, marked in green on the info panels. There are also two popular routes beginning at the south entrance, marked in green below. You can use either entrance.

Mutianyu Walking Route A (Duration: 2.5 to 3.5 hours)

  • Start from the cable car at Tower 14
  • Turn left/west towards Tower 20
  • Return and walk to Tower 10 or further to tower eight if you have enough time on schedule
  • Return to tower 14 to descend by the cable car
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It starts at the north entrance. The tour is circular and provides an opportunity to have a bird’s eye view of the whole Mutianyu at tower 20, followed by walking back to tower 14 with spectacular views along the way — a combination of walks and cable car rides. Enjoy the beauty of the Wall. Return to the starting point (north entrance) at tower 14.

Mutianyu Walking Route B (Duration: 2.5 to 4 hours)

  • Start from the cable car at Tower 14
  • Turn left/west towards Tower 20
  • Return and walk to Tower 6 to descend by the toboggan
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It starts at the north entrance. The tour allows you to explore most of Mutianyu and experience the hilarious and safe toboggan run at tower six on your return. This route lets you explore an additional section from Tower 14 to 6 without backtracking if you had bought the return ticket for the cable car. The tour ends at the south entrance.

Mutianyu Walking Route C (Duration: 2.5 to 3.5 hours)

  • Start from the Chairlift at Tower 6
  • Turn right/east towards Tower 1
  • Return and walk to Tower 6 or keep walking to tower 8, and 10 if you are fit enough
  • Return to tower 6 to descend by the toboggan 
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The starting point is at the south entrance. Sightseeing is circular, and explore the east part of Mutianyu (the section between tower six and tower 1),  where numerous viewpoints offer spectacular views of the Wall. Return to the starting point by the fun toboggan run.

Mutianyu Walking Route D (Duration: 2.5 to 4 hours)

  • Start from the Chairlift at Tower 6
  • Turn left/west towards Tower 14 or further to tower 20 if you are fit enough for the hike.
  • Return and walk to Tower 14 to descend by the cable car

How Much Does It Cost to Visit Mutianyu?

Mutianyu Admission fees vary depending on age, with free entry for children under a certain height:

  • An adult’s entrance ticket is RMB 45. A reduced fee for seniors older than 60: RMB 20 (valid ID or passport required).
  • Teenagers between 1.2 and 1.4 meters: entrance ticket is RMB 20.
  • Children under 1.2 meters are free of charge.
  • Shuttle bus  (one-way): RMB 10.
  • Shuttle bus (return) : RMB 15.

The cost of getting to Mutianyu depends on how you reach the Wall and back – by cable car, chairlift, toboggan, or on foot, but you can expect to pay:

  • Entrance fee (RMB 45) + Shuttle bus (RMB 15 return) + climb up (free) + walk down to the entrance (free)= RMB 60: The cheapest way to get to Mutianyu is to climb up to the top and back, which takes approximately 3-4 hours. If you are an experienced hiker and have enough time in your schedule, there are a lot of steps for you to climb to reach the Wall itself.
  • Entrance fee (RMB 45) + Shuttle bus (RMB 15 return) + Cable car  (RMB 100 one-way up) + Walk down to the entrance (free)= RMB 160 If you don’t like the initial climb up or, you’re in a hurry, the quickest way to reach the top is to take a cable car to save your time and energy.
  • Entrance fee (RMB 45) + Shuttle bus (RMB 15 return) + Cable car (RMB 120 return)= RMB 180. If you don’t like climbing too much or want to spend more quality time on the Wall itself, the fastest way to get to the top and return is to ride a cable car up and down. You board the cable car to go up the mountain, enjoy the views, and then use the same ticket to come back down in the cable car. This way will make your Great Wall walk more relaxing and refreshing.
  • Entrance fee (RMB 45) + Shuttle bus (RMB 15 return) + Cable car (RMB 100 one-way up) + Toboggan (RMB 100 one-way down) = RMB 260 The coolest and the most expensive way to experience Mutianyu is to take a cable car up and ride a toboggan down to the bottom. Toboggan is fun for everyone; kids would love it.
  • Entrance fee (RMB 45) + Shuttle bus (RMB 15 return) + Chairlift up + chairlift or toboggan down (RMB 120 return in total)= RMB 180 To enjoy a short walk in the section between tower six and tower 1, the simplest way is to take a chairlift up, then get down by either chairlift or toboggan. This section usually has fewer visitors; you can have some quiet moments on the Wall.

Is Mutianyu Great Wall Crowded?

Mutianyu doesn’t have big tourist crowds. It is quieter than Badaling and seldom overcrowded. The busiest time of year is from June to October, and the most peaceful times are weekdays during the winter. The worst month to visit Mutianyu is July and August: it has the highest number of visitors, but that’s also the months when most local kids take their summer school holidays.

When is the Best Time of Day to Visit Mutianyu?

Mutianyu has the smallest queues in the morning at the opening time (from 7:30 am in summer or 8 am in winter). If you don’t mind getting up early to avoid crowds, going at this hour will give you a quieter and more private experience even during Chinese public holidays such as National Day Holiday (October 1–7) and Labor Day Holiday (May 1–3).

To avoid the weekend crowds, aim to visit Mutianyu in the morning on a weekday. You may run into a school trip happening during the week; however, the best time of the day to see Mutianyu is still between the hours of 7:30 am – 9 am or during the lunch hour (early afternoon), as these are the quietest times. The largest crowds will generally thin out after 3:00 pm on weekdays.

How to Avoid the Line at the Entrance? How to Get Tickets in Advance?

Here are the ways to get Mutianyu tickets in advance and avoid the lines/queues:

  • Get Beijing Annual Pass for Tourist Attractions (It offers skip-the-line entry to Mutianyu). I don’t recommend this as the best money-saving deal. But it does allow you access to Mutianyu without waiting in line to buy tickets. If you have an Annual Pass, you can skip the long line and go to the much shorter line for Annual Pass holders.
  • You can book a driver/tour of Mutianyu. When you book a time, the driver/tour guide/company takes care of getting the tickets for you, and of course, you skip the line.
  • You can pre-purchase tickets on the Mutianyu websitethe official website of Mutianyu Great Wall office. If you cannot read Chinese, you may try using Google Translate. You also need to provide a local mobile phone number to verify your order and an Alipay account or a local Chinese bank card. Unfortunately, foreign cards are not accepted. If you don’t have a local phone number and a local Chinese bank card, this could be difficult for you.
  • Suppose you find the above website not user-friendly. In that case, you can buy your ticket online through a third-party ticket agency, like this one: Mutianyu tickets or this one: Mutianyu tickets agency.
  • If you do not get tickets in advance, there is still a good chance you can avoid the lines. As I mentioned before, you can purchase your tickets at the entry when they first open at 7:30 am/8:30 am to skip the lines.

Where to Eat Near Mutianyu Great Wall?

You will find good places to eat around Mutianyu. It’s easy to skip the tourist traps and have a great meal at one of many local favorites. Below are some excellent restaurants/cafes near Mutianyu.

  • Kao Shan Tun Northeast farm dish restaurant (20 minutes drive from Mutianyu) is a Chinese restaurant; the food includes dumplings, Kung Pow Chicken, Sauteed Mushrooms, and Local Barbecue Fish. One of the few local restaurants opens late. It’s around 50RMB per person without a drink.
  • XinShuangQuan Restaurant Chinese restaurant, Food includes Kung Pow Chicken, Sauteed Mushrooms, and Local Barbecue Fish. One of the few local restaurants opens late. 30-50yuan per person. Open time: 8:30am–7:00pm. Phone: (010)61621633
  • Xiaolongpu Restaurant, dishes from around China, including Sichuan, Canton, Northeast, and even Beijing. A good place for a quick meal to or from Mutianyu. 30-50yuan per person. Open time: 8:30am–7:00pm.  Phone: (010)61621322
  • Fish Chef, near Mutianyu Roundabout, famous for the rainbow trout barbecue, 30-50yuan per person. Open time: 7:30am–10:30pm. Phone: (010)61621024
  • Subway fast-food restaurant, at the base of Mutianyu, 30-50yuan per person. Open time: 8:00am –6:00pm. Phone: (010)61626496

Map of Restaurants/Cafes Near Mutianyu

Is There a Direct Train Between Beijing and Mutianyu?

No, there’s no direct train service from Beijing to Mutianyu Great Wall. The fastest and most stress-free transfer from Beijing to Mutianyu is to taxi or private car.

Is There a Direct Bus Between Beijing and Mutianyu?

No, there is no direct bus from Beijing to Mutianyu. However, services are departing from Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub and arriving at Xinying Station(辛营站) via HuaiRouBeiDaJie Station( 怀柔北大街站) near Mutianyu Great Wall. The journey, including transfers, takes approximately 2.5 hours.

What is the Cheapest Way to Get From Beijing to Mutianyu?

The cheapest way to get from Beijing to Mutianyu is to take Bus 916 Express and Bus H23, which costs RMB 16 per person from Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub to Mutianyu. Be aware that if the seats of Bus 916 Express are full, you would have to take the next bus or better get to the bus station earlier to secure a seat.

  • Step 1: take Bus 916 Express from Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub until Huairoubeidajie Station (approximately 90-110 minutes).
  • Step 2: Cross the road to the other side and transfer to Bus H23 until Xinying Station, where you will arrive 450 meters from the ticket office (approximately 40-60 minutes).

What is the Fastest Way to Get From Beijing to Mutianyu?

The quickest way to get from Beijing to Mutianyu is to take a taxi or book a car in advance, which is only 1.5 hours from Beijing.

What is the Best Way to Get From Beijing to Mutianyu?

The best way to visit Mutianyu from Beijing is to book a driver in advance. It’s quick and most stress-free, usually fixed with each booking. Even when the traffic is busy and your driver knows a faster but longer route, the initial price is typically the price you will pay.

If must-see sights, insider experiences, and carefree travel sound like your cup of tea, then a guided tour to Mutianyu is the travel style. In an era of internet deals and DIY travel, guided tours are ideal for travelers seeking an enriching, hassle-free way to visit the Great Wall.

Hassle-Free Fully-Guided Tour to Mutianyu

A guided tour is a fantastic way to see Mutianyu and other sights, as in most cases, your time in Beijing is limited. You want to maximize the sights without getting lost along the walkways. The advantages of guided tours are a lot:

  • Make it easy on yourself
  • Quickly learn about destinations
  • They do the driving for you
  • They speak your language
  • Get insights into local culture
  • Get free advice
  • Safety and more

A popular option for visiting Mutianyu is to combine a visit to Mutianyu and the largest royal garden, the fantastic Summer Palace, in one day.

Having a tour guide can enhance your travel experience. They will take care of all of the details from transportation to dining to sightseeing. … You save time and energy that you would usually put into planning out your tours. They make traveling a breeze, especially when going to an international destination where you may not have any knowledge of the area.

Mutianyu Walk vs Jiankou to Mutianyu Day Hike

Hiking trips and walking tours can make some of the most exciting and enjoyable escapes of the Great Wall, giving you a chance to immerse yourself in a culture or location truly. Choosing the right trip is crucial for enjoying your Great Wall tour.

Jiankou to Mutianyu day hike is a unique way to maximize a short amount of time at the Great Wall. Jiankou is much more wild and isolated compared with Mutianyu. The difficulty of the hike is moderate for the average person. Children (age 5-10 years) to senior citizens have successfully hiked Jiankou towards Mutianyu. Further reading:

How Will You Decide?

The hard part of planning a trip is narrowing it down. When you plan your trip, think about your life, your interests, what has inspired you to want to take this trip in the first place, and ask yourself:

  • Does hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu for 4-5 hours sound like fun for you?
  • You may walk a mile or two on pavement comfortably, but can you walk four or five miles a day on rough trails?
  • What will the weather be like at Jiankou on the day you planned?
  • Do you need to train for this hike?

Be sure you know your limits, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, ahead of time. You must understand and acknowledge the expectations of the hike before you commit your time and money. Below are the most popular Jiankou to Mutianyu hiking tours for inspiration:

Book a Private Car to Mutianyu Great Wall

Hiring a private driver/car for excursions outside the city is a good choice if you are traveling on a budget and want to avoid crowded people and traffic. If you are traveling with 3 or 4 friends, this way is much more cost-efficient. 

Your driver will be happy to purchase the tickets upon your arrival if required. To make things more interesting, hiring an English-speaking guide (550RMB–750RMB per day, 8-9 working hours) is a good option if this travel style works for you.