How to get there: 70 minutes by bus (line 916) from Beijing Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub 东直门枢纽站 to Huairou, get off at Huairou Beidajie bus stop 怀柔北大街站, and take a taxi (one hour) to Xizhazi Village 西栅子村.
Many private cars are waiting around Huairou Beidajie bus stop, but they are very expensive. Ignore them and take a real taxi, they are easy to find. We paid 100 yuan exactly.
Xizhazi Village has it’s own web site with a couple of maps, see Xizhazi .
We got off in the sub-village Xizhazi Team 2 西栅子二队, also called Nanjili Village 南吉利村, and started to hike from there to Zhengbeilou (one hour).
But more adventurous hikers should consider going to Wofo Mountain Villa 卧佛山庄 or Xizhazi sub-village Team 5 西栅子五队 instead, and start climbing from there. Then you’ll reach the Great Wall close to Jiankou 箭扣 (Jiankou Spot 箭扣梁), the hike from there to Zhengbeilou is more beautiful but also more difficult (and dangerous if you are inexperienced or not physically fit).
After reaching Zhengbeilou you can continue to Oxhorn Ridge 牛角边 and further on to Mutianyu (see more below).
Time of visit: May 2019
Map of the Jiankou Great Wall area (from Xizhazi web site):
Hiking from Zhengbeilou to Mutianyu tower no.20 takes less than an hour if you skip Ohhorn Ridge, and less than two hours if you climb Oxhorn Ridge. Apart from Oxhorn Ridge it’s rather flat, and there’s not much to see during the hike until you reach Mutianyu. You arrive at Mutianyu Tower 20, the highest point, from where it’s mostly downhill.
Xizhazi Village where the climb up to Zhengbeilou starts. Just follow the concrete road up.
The end of the concrete road, a smaller path continues up.
Red ribbons show the path up to Zhengbeilou
You arrive at the Great Wall after one hour, follow the wall for a couple of hundred meters and you will find this “entrance”.
Climbing down from Zhengbeilou on the other side (the opposite direction from Mutianyu)
Continuing down from Zhengbeilou
Beautiful views from below Zhengbeilou, unfortunately the weather was foggy this day
Zhengbeilou, photo taken at the same place but in the opposite direction from the 3 photos above.
The wall leading from Zhengbeilou to Oxhorn Ridge and Mutianyu
Niujiaobian (Oxhorn Ridge) 牛角边 is just a 10 minutes walk from Zhengbeilou
Oxhorn Ridge takes around one hour to complete, it’s a bit steep (especially when going down), but there’s a shortcut to the right of the building below for those who don’t want to climb, it takes just 10 minutes.
The first view of Mutianyu, tower no.20, only 20 minutes away from the end of Oxhorn Ridge.
The wall has been blocked between Jiankou and Mutianyu, but it’s very easy to climb over on the left side. No one is checking tickets, so you can enter Mutianyu without buying an entrance ticket.
Mutianyu Great Wall
There’s a cable car from tower no.14 down to the entrance
Entrance ticket to Mutianyu (found beside the wall, we didn’t have to buy it since we arrived from Jiankou)
It’s a 10 minutes shuttle bus ride from the entrance/exit to Mutianyu parking lot where all long distance buses and taxis stop.
A direct bus from Mutianyu to Beijing Dongzhimen leaves 16.00 every day. A taxi from Mutianyu to Huairou is around 50 yuan, and there are also many shared private cars outside the entrance for around 20 yuan per person. The last bus (line 916) from Huairou to Dongzhimen leaves around 19.00.