It is recommended to book a guide and a tour operator to make arrangements for hiking, trekking, walking and camping to the Great Wall of China. It seems that visitors traveling on their own can easily reach the sections open for tourists and buy a pass. But in actual it is not that easy, the hiking of some sections is very complicated and inexperienced people can meet through big troubles if they are traveling on their own.
Once you reach the height, the lines to get a pass are very long, especially during peak tourism seasons. In case you meet any unfavorable condition you cannot easily get help because natives live in a distant area from the wall.
The hiking is safe when you are with local guides or any tourism company has made arrangements for you in advance.
Hiking time and facilities of all sections are mentioned below.
It is a child-friendly section that is beautifully restored. The architecture is unique and well-designed, the watchtowers and fortresses have sufficiently spaced along its length and there are crenellations on both sides.
It is 73 kilometers (45 miles) from Beijing, approximately 1½ hours’ drive. cable cars up/down and cart railway down facilities are available.
This section is half restored and half of it is wild. You can witness the original construction of the wall in this section. You can plan a hiking tour in a way you spend the day at Jinshanling and night at Simatai. The surrounding area is very beautiful.
This section of the Great Wall of China is located 154 kilometers (96 miles) from Beijing. Almost 2–3 hours’ drive and cable car facility is available.
This section is not recommended to travelers with kids and those who are not physically fit. The site requires good hiking skills as the steep section is very challenging and a bit dangerous too. Young travelers and hiking enthusiasts will enjoy a lot here. It is an untouched area so you can experience original construction here.
The site is almost 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Beijing and it takes about 3 hours’ drive to reach, No facilities are available.
It is the only section where you are allowed to spend a night. Camps are available and the sky is wonderful at night. The fall season is incredible as the surrounding beauty doubles up because of red leaves. Hiking in this section is moderately difficult.
Simatai section of the Great Wall of China is 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Beijing and almost 2–3 hours’ drive away. Cable cars, battery carts and boats on the reservoir up to East Tower are available for visitors.
This location offers a very unique beauty of water scenery along with the ancient wall architecture. Some of its parts are engrossed in lake water. Also, there is a 500-year-old Ming Dynasty chestnut orchard at the foot of the wall.
This location is only 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Beijing almost 1½ hours’ drive. Cruise boat facility is available here.
Historically it is the most attacked section of the wall where 130 battles have been fought. This section is wild and totally unrestored but still, it is in good condition.
Gubeikou is 146 kilometers (90 miles) from Beijing and it takes 2 hours’ drive to reach here. No, as such facilities are available.
Juyongguan section of the Great Wall of China is closest to Beijing, Child-friendly and handicapped people can easily visit it. It is the only wheelchair-friendly section. A beautiful fortress located here where Genghis Khan led with his troops.
It is only 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Beijing so hardly 1 hours’ drive.
This section offers a beautiful sightseeing experience. The annual Great Wall Marathon is held every year in the month of May. It is also a child-friendly site and handicapped can also visit it as the busses will take you the top.
It is located in Ji Country, Tianjin, which is almost 3 hours’ drive from Beijing.
It is the east end of the Great Wall of China and it meets the sea at its end. Strategically this pass played a vital role in protecting China from Manchus.
It is situated in Qinhuangdao City of Hebei Province which is 3½ hours' drive from Beijing.
It is the visited section among the Great Wall of China and is mostly overcrowded. The surrounding beauty of the wall is breathtaking. The site is child-friendly and suitable for people in a wheelchair. Great Wall Museum, circular-screen cinema, and cable cars facilities will not let you get bored for a second
It is 72 kilometers (45 miles) from Beijing, 2 hours’ drive.