Great Wall Sections

Spreading across a distance of 20,000 km from the Yellow Sea in the east to the Gobi Desert in the west, the spectacular Great Wall of China is truly one of the great wonders of the world and one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions.

China Great Wall Sections by Regions

This iconic landmark is not a continuous work, comprising various sections. The Great Wall resources are mainly distributed in 15 provinces and cities including Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Shandong, Henan, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang. According to the results of the previous national survey of the Great Wall resources by the department of cultural relics and surveying and mapping, the total length of the Ming Great Wall was 8851.8km, and that of the Qin and Han Dynasties and the early days was more than 10,000 km, with a total length of more than 21,000 km. 


Beijing has most of the Great Wall relics, such as BadalingMutianyuSimataiJiankou and Juyongguan , which are all the popular ones among the tourists.


Besides the famous cultural relics of the Silk Road such as the Mogao Caves and Maijishan Grottoes, there are also a lot of Great Wall relics in Gansu. The most famous one is Jiayuguan Pass in Jiayuguan City, which marks the western beginning of the Ming wall. 


A lots of Ming Dynasty Great Wall relics can be found in Hebei Province, such as Laolongtou, Shanhaiguan Pass, Xifengkou & Panjiakou, Zijingguan, Jiaoshan,  Qingshankou, Malanguan, etc. Ming dynasty contributed a lot to the construction of the great wall, if you are interested in the Great Wall history, you shouldn’t miss the Great Walls in Hebei.

Inner Mongolia

Inner Mongolia also boasts the largest number of Great Wall relics, with the total length takes up one third of the whole length of China Great Wall. Unfortunately, a great many remains were destroyed. Still you can visit the Gaoque Fortress and Jilu Fortress. 


It is found recently that the beginning of the famous Shanhaiguan Pass is in Liaoning Province. Most of the Wall in Liaoning was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Hushan Great Wall is recommended if you visit Great Walls in Liaoning.


The Sanguankou (Three Passes) is highly recommended for the Great Wall Discovery tour in China. It was built to keep away the Tartar and Wala tribes of Mongolia.


The Great Walls in Shaanxi are mainly distributes in Yulin, Yanan, Weinan and Dali. With the total length of more than 2,000 kilometers, the Great Walls in Shaanxi was built ranging from the Warring States Period to the Ming Dynasty.


Shanxi was a vital place of battle in Chinses history. Therefore, a lot of Great Wall remains can be found there, including inner and outer walls. The following famous passes are recommended.


The Great Walls in Tianjin was mostly built in the Ming Dynasty, most of them are made of stones. Only the Huangyaguan Pass was made up of bricks, which is also among the popular section of Great Wall among visitors.

Which Sections of the Great Wall can be Visited Nowadays?

Many sections of the wall were restored in 1980s and travelers can visit these more easily.   Beijing: Sightseeing at Badaling, Juyongguan and Mutianyu sections; Hiking at Jinshanling, Simatai, Gubeikou, Mutianyu and Jiankou sections. Tianjin: Sightseeing and hiking at Huangyaguan section Shanghaiguan in the eastern end: Sightseeing and hiking at Shanghaiguan section Gobi desert in the western end: Sightseeing and hiking at Jiayuguan section.

Read more about Which sections of the Great Wall can be Visited

The Top 10 Sections of the Great Wall to Visit

Most visitors come for the Great Wall tours aiming at Badaling, is it really  the best one to visit for Great Wall Travel? Acturally, there are other ones worth going than the widely known Badaling. Here below is the recommendation.

Mutianyu (慕田峪)

Location: Huairou District,Beijing; 68km east of Badaling
Length: 5.4km
Keywords: The Test Restored
Tour Time: half a day
Activity: Sightseeing, Hiking
Highlights: Mutianyu Great Wall is almost totally covered in forest with pine trees over 300 years old and is especially picturesque in the warmer months when carpeted in vibrant green; the number of watchtowers; it was named the world’s largest tourist destination in Beijing in 1992;  it was rated 4A scenic spot in 2002. In fact, it is a better recommenddation than Badaling, with less crowded visitors.

Badaling (八达岭)

Location: 70km northwest of Beijing and only a 1.5hr drive
Keywords: The Most Populat among Chinese
Tour Time: half a day
Activity: Hiking
Highlights: Badaling Great Wall is the best preserved and most representative section of Ming Great Wall; Featuring 16 restored watchtowers and set amongst undulating mountains, it’s still very photogenic and provides visitors with the classic Great Wall image; Other than the Wall itself, there are other attractions such as Great Wall Steles (monuments), Five-men’s Statue, Stone Statue of Stone Buddha temple, Goldfish Pond, Crossroad, Qijiguang Garden, Yuanchonghuan Garden, Great Wall Stele Garden and The Ancient City of Crossroad.

Jinshanling (金山岭)

Location: 154 kilometers (96 miles) from Beijing; 2–3 hours drive. 
Keywords: The Most Popular Hiking Route
Tour Time: one day
Activities:  hiking, photography
Highlights: The Jinshanling Great Wall is part of a popular hiking route from Jinshanling to Simatai; Stretching 10km with five passes and 67 watchtowers spaced 100m along the length of the Wall, it contains many original features including obstacle walls and oval watchtowers; Some of the more remarkable features include the Big and Small Jinshan Watchtowers, one and two tiered structures with small retiring rooms, rafters and eaves of the roof made from polished bricks. 

Jiankou (箭口)

Location: 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Beijing, about 3 hours’ drive.
Length: 20km
Keywords: The Most Dangerous
Tour Time: one day
Activities:  hiking, photography
Highlights: Jiankou Great Wall remains untouched by tourism authorities, preserving its vastly rugged character, exuding centuries of mystery; it is one of the most challenging sections of the Wall with narrow steps, sharp rises and steep descents; it is recommended to experienced hikers for serious hiking.

Simatai (司马台)

Location: 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Beijing, 2–3 hours’ drive.
Length: 5.4km
Keywords: The Most Diverse
Tour Time: a full day
Activities:  hiking, photography
Highlights: Simatai Great Wall is the much-less crowded section of wall; It is the only section that has well retained the original appearance of the Ming Great Wall; it is known for being precipitous, dense, unique, artistically pleasing, and all-inclusive; it is also the only section opened for night tour.

Huanghuacheng (黄花城)

Location: 80 kilometers from Beijing; 30km to the north of Jixian County, Tianjin City
Length: 5.4km
Keywords: The Most Unique
Tour Time: half a day
Activities:  hiking, camping (amay to September)
Highlights: Unlike any other section of the Wall, Huanghuacheng Great Wall is unique mostly due to its stunning lake scenery and mixture of restored battlements and wilder, more original watchtowers; Dubbed the underwater section of The Great Wall, Huanghecheng actually means “Yellow Flower Fortress”; Despite its unique setting, the Huanghuacheng section is one of the least visited sections and is a great choice if you’re looking to avoid the crowds.

Gubeikou (古北口)

Location:  146 kilometers (90 miles) from Beijing, 2 hours’ drive.
Length: 5km
Keywords: The Most Historical, Wild Wall, Ancient Battle Site
Tour Time: half a day
Activities:  hiking, history lessons
Highlights:  Gubeikou Great Wall has not been reconstructed since the Ming Dynasty, and numerous watch towers and beacon towers have remained despite the fact that more than a thousand years have passed by; Avoiding the crowded sections and the reconstructions, visitors will hike in peace with magnificent views of the wall zigzagging across the ridges, and enjoy the atmosphere of profound Chinese history; It is an exciting place for a weekend excursion or a day trip in that it offers the perfect setup of a wild trail adventure. 

Juyongguan (居庸关)

Location:  59 kilometers from Beijing
Length: 4km
Keywords: Rich with Vegetation
Tour Time: half a day
Activities:  hiking
Highlights: Juyongguan Great Wall/Juyong Pass is known as the First Pass under the heaven; Genghis Khan once led his troops through Juyong Pass during his conquest of Chinese territory; has precipitous topography and attractive scenery;  It is one of the greatest forts defending ancient Beijing; it is wheelchair-friendly, so suitable for handicapped travelers.

Jiayuguan (嘉峪关)

Location:  Gansu
Length: 733m
Keywords: The starting point at the eastern end
Tour Time: half a day
Activities:  sightseeing, hiking
Highlights: Natural Museum of the Great Wall, Jiayuguan Great Wall, the top mound of the Great Wall; It is the most well-preserved city along the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty, the first pass in Hexi, and an important stop on the Silk Road.

Shanhaiguan (山海关)

Location:  Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province
Length: 26km
Keywords: Famous Endpoints of The Great Wall
Tour Time: half a day
Activities:  hiking
Highlights: Shanhai Pass is called the First Pass under heaven; It is among the only sections that leads onto the beach and touches the sea; Shanhai Pass was a very strategic pass in the Great Wall of China whic served as a frontier defense against the Manchus; On its surrounding beach are camels and horses you can ride around on the sand facing the once heavily fortified pass that stood against Japanese and rebel forces. 

In addition to the mentioned ones, other ones are also popular among visitors, such as Huangyaguan (黄崖关) – the annual Great Wall marathon race site, Zhao Great Wall – the earliest Great Wall, and Hushan Great Wall -the easternmost reaches of Great Wall. Join our Great Wall Tours to have a full round tour.