Widely regarded as one of the wildest yet accessible sections of the Great Wall, Jiankou remains largely unrestored, revealing the turbulent history that was responsible for its creation and destruction. As a result, many sections of Jiankou have fallen into a state of disrepair, with loose stones giving way to jagged edges, which makes this section both potentially dangerous and alluring for experienced hikers and the adventurous at heart. Jiankou was built during the Ming Dynasty out of white dolomite stone from the surrounding area. Set boldly against the tall, jagged mountains, this section of the Wall is a photographer’s paradise. Jiankou is also connected to Mutianyu to the east, and an experienced guide will be able to take you through a dramatic array of landscapes along this trail, with rustic edifices and patches of farmland giving way to mottled tree lines and stony precipices.
Most hikes along Jiankou start from one of several small villages situated close to the Wall. Paths to are typically crisscrossed, taking hikers through forests and farmland, with the occasional stonewall cattle pens in sight. After half an hour or so, the trail will gradually begin to grow steeper as the Jiankou section of the Wall comes into view on the ridgeline ahead. As you make your way along the Wall, you will notice that some of the towers are not in the best condition, and it will sometimes be necessary to skirt around sections that are too steep or too broken to walk on. Much of Jiankou has been partially reclaimed by wild undergrowth and boasts some of the most dramatic stretches of Great Wall in Northern China, and you can choose to extend or shorten your hike as you see fit, either ending the day early at a village homestay or heading east towards Mutianyu, approximately 4-5 hours away.