Only slightly farther from downtown Beijing than Badaling, the Great Wall at Mutianyu is more spectacular and, despite the occasional annoyances of souvenir stands, significantly less crowded. This long section of wall, first built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (6th century) and restored and rebuilt throughout history, can offer a less busy Great Wall experience, with unforgettable views of towers winding across mountains and woodlands. On a clear day, you'll swear you can see the deserts of Mongolia in the distance.
The lowest point on the wall is a strenuous one-hour climb above the parking lot. As an alternative, you can take a cable car on a breathtaking ride to the highest restored section, from which several hiking trails descend. Take a gorgeous 1½-hour walk east to reach another cable car that returns to the same parking lot. Mutianyu is also known for its toboggan run—the perfect way to end a long hike.
The trip by car from central Beijing to Mutianyu should
cost around Y600 and it takes about an hour. By public transportation, take bus 936 from Dongzhimen to Huairou bus stop. From there take a minibus to Mutianyu (Y25–Y30) or hire a taxi to take you there and back (about Y100–Y150 round-trip).
For those taking a car, the road from Huairou, a suburb of Beijing, to Mutianyu follows a river upstream and is lined with restaurants selling fresh trout. In addition, Hongluo Temple is a short drive from the bottom of the mountain.
Huairou County, Beijing, 101405, China
Oct 27, 2015
GREAT WALL AT MUTIANYU This is a terrific site to see the Great Wall. Not very crowded, even on the nice weather day I went. It will probably cost more than the 600 RMB. It cost double that for a driver and an English speaking guide. It is far enough out of Beijing that I would not recommend trying to do this on one's own. There is a chair lift to the 500 m site, and a gondola to the 1000 m site. I would recommend taking the gondola to the higher
point, then descending at the eastern port, either by the chair lift or the toboggan ride. This would make most of the walk downhill. The views are spectacular. The mountains in the background are fabulous. One only has to work around the English tourists hogging the vantage points for the selfies. Take more than one hour or ninety minutes to see this, though. It shouldn't be mixed with the Ming Tombs, as some tours are won't to do. If it is a nice day, one could still spend all day on this site. However, it is not for the handicapped or the faint of heart. It is an exercise unto itself.