Stretching 6000km in a dotted line across China, the Great Wall was begun in the 5th Century BC. As it snakes across the mountains it conjures up a sense of history which is difficult to grasp until you have had the opportunity to experience it.
Our trek is very varied, as we pass through woodland and terraced farmland, and follow the contours of the beautiful hills and mountains in remote areas north of Beijing. We follow old sections of the Great Wall, as well as restored sections with smooth flagstones and lots of steps!
This challenge is physically demanding and offers fabulous scenery and a fascinating insight into a rich culture and history.
Depart London for Beijing.
Beijing - Huangyaguan
We arrive in Beijing in the early morning and transfer to Huangyaguan where we catch our first glimpse of the Great Wall on our way to the start of the trek. After lunch we set off to tackle the Huangyagusn section of the Great Wall - a section known to be particularly stunning because of its water towers that have all been restored to their former majestic glory.
Trekking time approx 3 - 4hours
Huangyaguan - Qiankaijian Village
Our hike today leads us straight out of the hotel and onto a restored section. By mid-morning we reach the start of "Heavens Ladder", a steep, narrow climb of over 300 steps. This is a tough section but at the top we are rewarded with stunning views over the Yanshan Mountains and the region below. After congratulating each other on our achievement we head up again following a path through shrub to join the top of the ridge where our path winds around sections of the old wall. In the afternoon we are led down the valley and into a mountain village. Tonight we stay in local-run guesthouse; an unforgettable experience in a remote area of China where few tourists have stayed.
Trekking time approx 5 - 7 hours
Qiankaijian Village - Jinshanling
After breakfast, we head out of the village up a steep trail alongside farmer's fields up to the wall where Heibei province, Tianjin City and Beijing meet together at a point known as the "Three Borders Tablet". We then make our way west with the un-restored wall to our side as we descend back down to the mountain village where we stop for lunch. After lunch we descend further through the village to meet our coach for the transfer to Jinshanling.
Trekking time approx 4 - 5 hours
Gubeikou to Jinshanling
This morning we transfer to the start of the Gubeikou section of the Great Wall where, if the weather is good, we can see Miyun reservoir and the Wangjing Tower rising in the distance. This section towards Jinshanling is one of the best preserved areas of the Great Wall; it was originally made of huge bricks, each of which weighed about 12 kilograms (26 pounds). The section we follow today also had all of its five main passes and 67 of its watch towers restored making it a truly spectacular hike offering some fantastic photo opportunities.
Trekking time approx 5 - 7 hours
Jinshanling to Mutianyu
After breakfast we trek east heading towards Simatai along a much restored section of the wall. Our trek today can be seen for miles as the Wall runs up and down the spine of the mountain. We will take shelter in one of the many watchtowers on the way - you can bet that Genghis Khan never had it so good when he broke through the Great wall with his Mongol hordes! We end the day by walking down towards our awaiting transport which will drive us to our home for the night in Mutianyu.
Trekking time approx 3 - 5 hours
Mutianyu to Beijing
Today will be our final morning on the Great Wall! After leaving the hotel and passing a small village we start climbing a steep, wooded track to the top of the Wall for our final breath taking views over the far off mountains. The section we join is known to be one of most beautiful parts of the wild Wall in Beijing, loved by many photographers. After our final hike we come back down to the road to meet our bus and drive back to the hustle and bustle of Beijing. After a chance to freshen up, we'll regroup and head out to our celebration meal held in downtown Beijing, a time to reflect on our achievement.
Trekking time approx 3 - 4 hours
Today we take time to explore the capital, jam-packed with its 17 million residents, steeped in history and culture. We'll visit Tiananmen Square and the nearby Forbidden City before grabbing some lunch. The afternoon is yours to explore Beijing with optional activities on offer.
Beijing to London