Jinshanling Great Wall: Top Spots for Hikers & Photographers!

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall
Capture Stunning Views at Jinshanling Great Wall!

The Jinshanling Great Wall is a renowned section of the Great Wall of China, located in Hebei Province.

It stretches approximately 10 kilometers and is situated on the mountain ridge connecting the Simatai and Gubeikou sections of the Great Wall.

Why Jinshanling?

Jinshanling offers one of the best one-day walks from Beijing, making it an ideal choice for travelers seeking authentic experiences rather than just a quick visit to famous landmarks.

Unlike the more touristy and restored sections like Badaling, Jinshanling remains

  • wild,
  • ruined,
  • preserved,

and true to its original form.

Despite its seemingly remote location, Jinshanling is conveniently accessible with just a two-hour drive from Beijing via the freeway.

This makes it a perfect destination for a memorable day trip.

Embarking on a Great Wall one-day tour from Jinshanling to Simatai West is an experience that will leave a lasting impression.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall
The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Importance and Popularity

Jinshanling Great Wall holds immense historical and cultural importance.

Its strategic location, guarding the northeastern frontier of ancient China, contributed to its significance as a defensive structure.

The wall’s construction involved intricate architectural techniques, demonstrating the remarkable engineering skills of the time.

Jinshanling Great Wall has also gained substantial popularity among both domestic and international tourists.

Its allure lies in the breathtaking scenery it offers, characterized by rolling hills, lush greenery, and rugged terrain.

Visitors are drawn to the unique experience of walking along the ancient wall, appreciating the awe-inspiring views and immersing themselves in the rich history that surrounds Jinshanling.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Origins and Construction

The construction of the Jinshanling Great Wall dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).

It was initially built during the reign of Emperor Wanli (1572-1620) and later reinforced by his successor, Emperor Tianqi (1620-1627).

The wall served as a vital defense system, designed to protect the northern borders of China from invasions by nomadic tribes.

The builders of Jinshanling Great Wall employed advanced architectural techniques.

The wall features various elements such as

  • watchtowers,
  • beacon towers,
  • barricades,
  • and defensive walls.

The use of these components aimed to enhance the defensive capabilities of the wall, allowing for

  • efficient communication,
  • surveillance,
  • and troop deployment.
Jinshanling Great Wall Travel Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Historical Significance

Jinshanling Great Wall played a crucial role in defending the Chinese Empire against incursions from the north.

Its location near the borderlands made it a strategic point for monitoring enemy movements and providing early warnings.

The wall’s formidable structure and intricate design served as a deterrent to potential invaders, helping to safeguard the safety and integrity of the Chinese heartland.

Over the centuries, Jinshanling Great Wall witnessed numerous

  • military conflicts,
  • battles,
  • and skirmishes.

Its historical significance extends beyond its defensive function, as it represents the enduring spirit and resilience of the Chinese people.

Jinshanling Great Wall Travel Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall


On a clear day, from the highest point of Jinshanling Great Wall, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Beijing.

The mountain is adorned with numerous maple and apricot trees.

During summer, the abundant trees and grass create a refreshing and cool atmosphere compared to other seasons.

In spring, the mountains come alive with vibrant green vegetation and colorful flowers.

In winter, a blanket of white snow covers the landscape.

This area is renowned for its chestnuts and persimmons, adding to its charm and appeal.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Open Hours and Ticket Price

Jinshanling Main Entrance:

  • Entry time: 04:00
  • Ticket sales end: 17:00
  • Last entry: 17:30
  • Closing time: 18:30

Jinshanling East Gate:

  • Entry time: 8:30
  • Last entry: 16:00
  • Opening time for East Five Window Tower: 09:00
  • Closing time for East Five Window Tower: 17:00

Jinshanling West Gate:

  • Opening time for Taochun Tower: 09:00
  • Closing time for Taochun Tower: 17:00

Ticket Information:

  • Adults (from March 16 to November 15): RMB 65
  • Adults (from November 16 to March 15): RMB 55
  • Children 12 and under (from March 16 to November 15): RMB 40
  • Children 12 and under (from November 16 to March 15): RMB 30
Jinshanling Great Wall Travel Guide
The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Getting Here

Exploring the iconic Jinshanling section of the Great Wall of China is an adventure waiting to happen, with various transportation options available to suit every traveler’s needs.

Whether you prefer the affordability of a bus, the speed of a train, or the convenience of a private driver, each method offers its own unique way to reach this historic destination.

By Bus

To reach Jinshanling Great Wall via public transportation, the most common starting point is Beijing.

The bus operates on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays.

Departures from Beijing are at 8:00 AM, and the return trip from Jinshanling is at 4:00 PM.

Boarding location: Bus Station 942, No. 45 Dongwai Xiejie, Dongzhimen, Beijing.

To reach the bus station, take Beijing Subway Line 2 and get off at Exit B of Dongzhimen Outer Street.

After exiting the subway, walk east for 200 meters, then take the first traffic light and turn left.

Walk approximately 150 meters to reach the bus station.

Fare: The one-way ticket costs 50 yuan per person (excluding entrance tickets to the scenic area and any other fees).

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall
The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall
By Train

If you prefer train transport to reach the Jinshanling Great Wall, you can conveniently depart from Beijing West Railway Station.

Trains from Beijing West Railway Station to Gubeikou operate daily with two departure times available: 6:58 AM and 2:20 PM.

These train services provide a convenient and reliable option for travelers.

From Gubeikou Station, you can take a 15-kilometer taxi ride to reach Jinshanling Great Wall.

By Private Vehicle

If you prefer to travel by private vehicle, you can drive from Beijing to Jinshanling Great Wall.

The distance is approximately 125 kilometers, and the journey usually takes around 2-3 hours, depending on the traffic conditions.

You can follow the G45 Jingha Expressway from Beijing and then take the exit towards Luanping County, where Jinshanling is located.

It is advisable to use a GPS or navigation system to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey.

Jinshanling Great Wall Travel Guide
The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall
Guided Tours and Travel Agencies

Another convenient option to visit Jinshanling Great Wall is through guided tours and travel agencies.

Many tour operators in Beijing offer day trips or multi-day tours to the Great Wall, including Jinshanling.

These tours typically include transportation, a knowledgeable guide, and sometimes additional attractions or activities.

Joining a private guided tour or a small group tour can offer a convenient and stress-free way to visit Jinshanling.

With the tour operator taking care of all logistics and arrangements, you can focus on enjoying your experience without any worries.

Alternatively, if you are comfortable walking without the assistance of a guide, we invite you to embark on our self-guided walk along the stunning Jinshanling section of the Great Wall.

This scenic journey allows you to explore at your own pace.

We provide all the necessary equipment, while you have the freedom to bring your own food and enjoy the flexibility of self-guided exploration.

Immerse yourself in the captivating history and breathtaking views as you traverse the picturesque Jinshanling section.

Discover the magnificent watchtowers, fortified passes, and awe-inspiring landscapes that make this route truly unforgettable.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Jinshanling Cable Car

The Jinshanling cable car has been providing service to the Great Wall at Jinshanling since June 2012, marking over 10 years of operation.

This cable car is a popular choice for both visitors and locals, offering convenient access from the base of Jinshanling hill to the top entrance near Lesser Jinshanling Tower.

By taking the cable car, you can reach Jinshanling with just a five-minute walk from the cable car station.

The Jinshanling cable car allows you to skip the initial uphill climb and takes you directly to Lesser Jinshanling Tower in approximately 17 minutes.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

It operates from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM during summer and from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM during winter.

The cable car has a seating capacity of two passengers and covers a total distance of 1000 meters with an altitude difference of 150 meters.

It operates throughout the year, except during rainy, snowy, or severe weather conditions.

Please note that when riding the cable car, it is advisable to move quickly.

Ticket Prices:

  • One-Way Cable Car Ride: RMB 40
  • Children 12 and under: RMB 30
  • Round-Trip Cable Car Ride: RMB 60
  • Children 12 and under: RMB 40

Main Sections and Highlights of the Great Wall

  1. East Five-Eye Tower: The East Five-Eye Tower is one of the main highlights of Jinshanling Great Wall. It is a well-preserved watchtower that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower and admire the picturesque scenery.
  2. West Five-Eye Tower: Similar to the East Five-Eye Tower, the West Five-Eye Tower is another prominent structure along Jinshanling Great Wall. It provides stunning views of the wall snaking across the rugged terrain, creating a captivating sight for visitors.
  3. General Tower: The General Tower is a significant landmark on Jinshanling Great Wall. This large tower served as a command center and provided strategic advantages for the defense of the wall. Its imposing structure and historical significance make it a must-visit section of the wall.
  4. Big Jinshan Tower: The Big Jinshan Tower, also known as the General Tower, is the highest watchtower on Jinshanling Great Wall. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. This tower provides an excellent vantage point for capturing stunning photographs.
The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Hiking Routes and Trails

You can choose the most suitable route based on your available time and physical condition.

Route 1:

3 km Loop – Ticket Gate → Zhuanduo Pass → Shaling Pass → Ticket Gate

This route provides a glimpse of the distinctive features of Jinshanling Great Wall, including

  • barrier walls,
  • horse-blocking walls,
  • supporting walls,
  • and watchtowers.
Route 2:

4 km Loop – Ticket Gate → Zhuanduo Pass → Shaling Pass → Xiaojinshan Tower → Cable Car Station → Ticket Gate

This route includes the must-see Xiaojinshan Tower and Dajinshan Tower, which are significant landmarks of the Jinshanling Great Wall.

Route 3:

5 km Loop: Ticket gate → Zhuanduo Pass → Shaling Pass → Houchuan Pass → Ticket gate

This route takes you to the highest point, providing a panoramic view of the entire Great Wall and breathtaking scenery.

Route 4:

8 km Point-to-Point from Jinshanling to Jinshanling East Gate: Ticket gate → Zhuanduo Pass → Shaling Pass → Houchuan Pass → East Five Window Tower → East Gate Visitor Center

This route is recommended for hiking enthusiasts, offering a challenging and rewarding experience, and may take approximately 4-5 hours to complete, depending on individual pace, weather conditions, and rest breaks.

For more hiking tips and insights, you can refer to the post “How Hard Is it to Hike from Jinshanling Great Wall of China to East Gate“.

Compared to Jinshanling, Jiankou Great Wall offers a different experience that can complement your Jinshanling-East Gate hike.

If you enjoy trekking through the wilderness and seeking a more adventurous outing, consider making a day trip to Jiankou.

For more insights and detailed comparisons between hikes, I recommend checking out the post “Compare hikes: Jinshanling Simatai West hike VS. Jiankou Mutianyu hike.”

This resource will provide valuable information to help you make an informed decision and plan your itinerary accordingly.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall
The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Scenic Viewpoints and Photography Spots

Jinshanling Great Wall offers numerous scenic viewpoints and photography spots for capturing stunning images of the wall and its surroundings.

Some notable spots include:

  1. General Tower: The General Tower provides an excellent photography spot, allowing you to capture panoramic shots of the wall and the scenic landscapes stretching into the distance.
  2. West Five-Eye Tower: This tower offers picturesque views of the wall winding its way through the rolling hills. The combination of the architectural marvel and the natural beauty makes it an ideal spot for photography.
  3. Beacon Towers: Along the hiking routes, there are several beacon towers that offer unique perspectives of the Great Wall. These towers served as communication points and provide excellent photo opportunities.
  4. Open Fields: Jinshanling Great Wall features open fields and undulating terrain, providing opportunities to capture the grandeur of the wall against the backdrop of the surrounding countryside.
The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall
The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Best Photography Locations 

  • Sunrise Photography: For the best sunrise shots, head left at Houchuan Pass towards Hualou and East Five Window Tower. Alternatively, you can climb Zhuanduo Pass at the brick pile pass.
  • Capturing Sea of Clouds: To capture the mesmerizing sea of clouds, turn left at Shaling Pass and make your way towards Xiaojinshan Tower. Then, take a right towards Jiangjun Tower.
  • Sunset Photography: For stunning sunset photography, turn right at Zhuanduo Pass and proceed towards West Five Window Tower and Taochun East Tower.
  • Astrophotography: If you’re into astrophotography, climb the western Liangzhuanduo Tower at Zhuanduo Pass. Afterward, turn left towards Jiangjun Tower.

Camping and Overnight Stays

Camping at Jinshanling Great Wall is a unique experience that allows you to connect with nature and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings.

However, it’s important to note that camping directly on the Great Wall itself is generally not permitted.

There are nearby campsites and guesthouses where you can spend the night and enjoy the starry skies and peaceful ambiance.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Picnicking and Enjoying the Scenery

Jinshanling Great Wall’s picturesque landscapes provide an ideal setting for picnicking and leisurely enjoying the scenery.

You can find designated picnic areas along the hiking trails or bring your own picnic supplies to savor a meal amidst the beauty of the Great Wall and its surroundings.

Take the time to relax, soak in the atmosphere, and appreciate the natural splendor.

Best Time to Visit

The ideal seasons for visiting Jinshanling Great Wall are spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October).

During these periods, the weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and less rainfall.

The springtime brings lush greenery and blooming flowers, while autumn offers vibrant foliage, creating a stunning backdrop for your visit.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Weather Conditions and Temperature Ranges

Jinshanling Great Wall experiences four distinct seasons.

Here’s an overview of the weather conditions and temperature ranges:

  1. Spring (April to May): Spring brings mild temperatures, with averages ranging from 10°C (50°F) to 20°C (68°F). It can be a bit cooler in April but gradually warms up in May. However, occasional rainfall may occur, so it’s advisable to bring rain gear.
  2. Summer (June to August): Summers at Jinshanling Great Wall can be hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from 25°C (77°F) to 35°C (95°F). It’s important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen and appropriate clothing.
  3. Autumn (September to October): Autumn is considered one of the best times to visit, with mild and pleasant weather. Temperatures range from 10°C (50°F) to 25°C (77°F), making it comfortable for outdoor activities. The foliage displays vibrant colors, adding to the scenic beauty of the area.
  4. Winter (November to March): Winters are cold at Jinshanling Great Wall, with temperatures ranging from -10°C (14°F) to 5°C (41°F). Snowfall is common during this period, creating a picturesque winter wonderland. If you plan to visit during winter, be prepared for cold temperatures and icy conditions.

It’s essential to check the weather forecast and plan your visit accordingly, considering your preferred climate and outdoor activities.

Remember to dress appropriately, wear comfortable shoes, and bring necessary supplies to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience at Jinshanling Great Wall.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

What to Wear and Pack

  • Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes suitable for hiking and walking on uneven terrain.
  • Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions. Bring a light jacket or sweater, especially in spring and autumn when temperatures can fluctuate.
  • Carry a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Pack sufficient water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized during your visit.
  • Consider bringing a small backpack to carry your essentials, including a camera, extra batteries, and a map or guidebook.

Necessary Equipment and Gear

  • A good quality and comfortable backpack to carry your belongings.
  • A map or guidebook of Jinshanling Great Wall to navigate the area.
  • If you plan on camping or staying overnight, bring appropriate camping gear and a sleeping bag.
  • It’s recommended to have a sturdy walking stick or trekking poles for stability, especially on steep sections of the wall.
  • A portable charger or spare batteries for your electronic devices can come in handy.
The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Safety Precautions and Guidelines

  • Stay on the designated paths and avoid venturing into restricted or unsafe areas.
  • Follow all safety signs and instructions provided at the site.
  • Be cautious while climbing stairs or walking on steep sections of the wall.
  • Keep a safe distance from the edges of the wall and watch your step, as some parts may have uneven surfaces or loose stones.
  • Stay hydrated and take regular breaks during your hike to prevent exhaustion.
  • In case of an emergency, contact the local authorities or seek assistance from park staff or fellow visitors.

Nearby Attractions

  • Simatai Great Wall: Located nearby, Simatai Great Wall offers a different section of the wall to explore, known for its rugged beauty and original features.
  • Gubei Water Town: Situated at the foot of Simatai Great Wall, Gubei Water Town is a picturesque ancient town with traditional architecture, canals, and a charming atmosphere.
  • Chengde Imperial Mountain Resort: A UNESCO World Heritage site, this vast imperial palace complex in Chengde features beautiful gardens, temples, and pavilions.
  • Gubeikou Great Wall: This section of the Great Wall is renowned for its historical significance and scenic landscapes. Gubeikou Great Wall has been a strategic point throughout various dynasties, featuring original and less restored parts of the wall that offer a more authentic experience.
gubei water town

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Where to Stay by Jinshanling Great Wall

Planning a visit to the amazing Jinshanling Great Wall? Check out these cool places to rest!

Fancy Option: Gubei Water Town William Edgar Hotel – Located in Gubei Water Town, this hotel is the definition of luxury. After exploring, sink into their soft beds, enjoy fancy meals, and get pampered with their top-class service. Need some relaxation? Their spa has got you covered. ($150-300/night)

Middle Option: Jinshanling Great Wall Hotel – Right by the Great Wall, this spot combines comfort with great value. Featuring a mix of modern and traditional designs, friendly folks to help you out, and rooms that boast views of the Wall, it’s a treat! And don’t miss out on their tasty local dishes. ($100-200/night)

Budget Pick: Jinshanling Hanting B&B – Perfect for travelers who want a great deal. This charming B&B, with its local design, is the best place to chill after a day at the Wall. You’ll love its welcoming feel, its classic style, and how close it is to Jinshanling. ($20-50/night).

When planning your visit to Jinshanling Great Wall, consider exploring these nearby attractions and book accommodations in advance to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Passport Reminder for Jinshanling Travelers

When you wrap up your adventure at Jinshanling and start your journey back to Beijing, be prepared: police checkpoints may ask to see passports or local ID cards.

To ensure a hassle-free return, always have your passport handy.


Q: How long does it take to hike the entire Jinshanling Great Wall?

A: Hiking the entire Jinshanling Great Wall, from one end to the other, typically takes around 4-5 hours, depending on your pace and fitness level. It covers a distance of approximately 10 kilometers.

Q: Are there any entrance fees to visit Jinshanling Great Wall?

A: Yes, there is an entrance fee to visit Jinshanling Great Wall.

The ticket prices may vary, and it’s advisable to check the current rates before your visit.

The fees contribute to the maintenance and preservation of the site.

Q: Can I visit Jinshanling Great Wall without a guide?

A: Yes, you can visit Jinshanling Great Wall without a guide.

It is possible to explore the wall independently, following the designated paths and hiking routes.

However, hiring a guide can provide you with valuable insights, historical information, and navigation assistance.

Q: Is it possible to camp overnight at Jinshanling Great Wall?

A: Camping directly on the Great Wall at Jinshanling is generally not permitted.

However, there are nearby campsites and guesthouses where you can stay overnight and enjoy the surrounding scenery.

It’s recommended to inquire about camping options and accommodations in advance.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall
The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall

Q: Are there any restrictions on photography at Jinshanling Great Wall?

A: Photography is generally allowed at Jinshanling Great Wall.

However, it’s advisable to respect any specific guidelines provided by the park or guides regarding photography in restricted areas or of certain structures.

Be considerate of other visitors and avoid causing disruptions while taking photographs.

Q: Can I visit Jinshanling Great Wall during winter?

A: Yes, Jinshanling Great Wall can be visited during winter.

However, it’s important to be prepared for cold temperatures, especially from November to March.

Winter brings colder weather and occasional snowfall, which can create icy conditions.

Dress warmly and ensure your safety while exploring the wall during this season.

Q: Are there any restaurants or food stalls near Jinshanling Great Wall?

A: There are limited dining options near Jinshanling Great Wall.

It’s advisable to bring your own food and snacks, especially if you plan to spend a significant amount of time there.

There may be some small local restaurants or food stalls in the nearby villages, but it’s recommended to inquire about availability in advance or bring your own provisions.

Q: What are the best hiking trails for beginners?

A: For beginners, the hiking route of Ticket Gate → Zhuanduo Pass → Shaling Pass → Xiaojinshan Tower → Cable Car Station → Ticket Gateis a popular choice.

It offers a moderate level of difficulty and covers a distance of approximately 4 kilometers.

This route allows you to experience the beauty of Jinshanling Great Wall without overly strenuous sections.

Q: Are there restroom facilities available at Jinshanling Great Wall?

A: Yes, there are restroom facilities available at Jinshanling Great Wall.

You can find toilets and rest areas at certain points along the hiking trails or near the entrance.

However, it’s advisable to carry some tissue or toilet paper as availability and cleanliness may vary.

Q: Is it necessary to book tickets in advance?

A: While it’s not always necessary to book tickets in advance, it’s recommended to do so, especially during peak seasons or holidays when there is increased visitation.

Booking in advance ensures you have guaranteed entry and helps you avoid potential long queues or sold-out situations.

The Ultimate Guide to Jinshanling Great Wall


  • Jinshanling Great Wall is located in Hebei Province, China, approximately 125 kilometers northeast of Beijing.
  • It offers hiking opportunities, highlights such as the East Five-Eye Tower and General Tower, and scenic viewpoints for photography.
  • The ideal seasons to visit are spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October).
  • It’s important to dress appropriately, pack essential items, follow safety guidelines, and respect the site’s etiquette.
  • Nearby attractions include Simatai Great Wall, Gubei Water Town, and Chengde Imperial Mountain Resort.

Final Words

Visiting Jinshanling Great Wall offers a chance to immerse yourself in history, enjoy breathtaking landscapes, and engage in outdoor activities.

Whether you choose to hike, camp, or explore the area independently, Jinshanling offers a unique and memorable experience.

With proper planning and consideration of the tips mentioned, you can make the most of your visit to this iconic section of the Great Wall of China.

Are you planning an unforgettable trip to the awe-inspiring Jinshanling Great Wall or the captivating surrounding areas?

Join us as we delve into the rich history, stunning landscapes, and hidden gems of these regions through our insightful and engaging posts:

In the map below: (A) = Tian’anmen, Beijing. (B) = Jinshanling entrance. 

View Larger Map

Related Tours: Gubeikou to Jinshanling Hike
            Jinshanling Simatai West Hike