Jiankou to Mutianyu…The Great Wall Experience

Amazing view from 1/2 way up the mountain

Climbing the Jiankou portion of the Great Wall is an exhausting but amazing day hike adventure.  This section of the wall dates back to the 14thcentury of the Ming Dynasty. To reach this section we started in a little village at the bottom of a mountain, and climbed our way up the steep cliffs to where we finally reached the deteriorated, but still amazing Jiankou section of The Great Wall.

We are headed up there from a small village at the base of the mountain. It looked like a long way, and it felt like it in 90 degree heat.

We had a great tour guide named Jack, who led us up the mountain by climbing over rocks, traversing along narrow, overgrown pathways, dodging bumblebees, looking for snakes yet surrounded by amazing views of blooming magnolias, blue skies, puffy clouds, and incredible views of the Great Wall.

After about a mile straight up the mountainous, and sometimes treacherous terrain, we reached the deteriorating section of Jiankou. We first noticed the large white stones at the top of the mountain that

Had this detached ladder fallen backwards, it would have been all she wrote!

were built under the wall itself.

We had to climb a little ladder to get onto the actual wall from the side of the mountain but once we did, we saw that the wall was nothing like I had seen on my previous visits.

Due to the need of major renovation, this area of the wall is considered one of the most dangerous sections. As we walked along the wall, we found ourselves again traversing along narrow pathways, ducking beneath overgrown trees and weeds, and stepping over fallen areas of the wall. This was certainly not reflective of the majestic portions of the area that most tourists visit.  Its glory and purpose had faded over the centuries, but it was still incredible just the same.

There are so many stories and legends surrounding the construction of The Great Wall.  Our guide told us that the mortar used to cement some areas of the rocks on the wall was made from rice flour. It is also said that many people lost their lives during the construction of the wall and are buried right inside. Oh if these walls could talk.

climbing up and over the deteriorated section of the Great Wall

After a couple of miles of climbing, jumping, ducking, dodging and taking many pictures, the old met the new. The Jiankou section finally connected to the refurbished area called Mutianyu. This section is a most amazing sight when you first see it. I really didn’t think seeing a wall could possibly be as fascinating, but it really was an incredible sight.

A few more miles and a couple of rain showers later, we started our descent down the mountain. There were a couple of options to get to the bottom, however two of them, the tobaggon and cable car were closed due to the rain. We finally decided to take the “ski lift” to the bottom. Our scenic and amazing 7 hour adventure was over.

About cessley

I am a bereaved parent. I write to give hope to other bereaved parents who are fresh in their grief. I want them to know life begins again. It (life) is forever changed, as are you, but one day, you will smile again. You may travel, you will make new friends, your heart will mend, though never heal and it will be a painful ride. It is one step at a time....sometimes, even one breath to the next is all we can seem to live through each day. But each day will be a new beginning, a different beginning, a different you. I have two surviving children: Amy, who is married to Brandon, and they have one daughter, Avery, and one son, Dylan. and Eric who is a doctor and is Clifton's twin brother. Clifton passed away when he was nearly two years old. As any bereaved parent knows, it is tough, REALLY tough trying to live after the death of a child. I lived in Shanghai, China for three years after the death of my son, and then lived in Beijing for two years. I am discovering life again, one step at a time. I returned to Oklahoma in February , 2020 due to the uncertainty of the virus. Little did I know the uncertainty would follow me across the ocean. This is nothing compared to the death of a child. I will survive! View all posts by cessley

6 responses to “Jiankou to Mutianyu…The Great Wall Experience

  • jonathanochart

    Phenomenal perspectives in your photos! Great post.

  • Barbara Drew

    But did you see a naked man lying in the bushes? Bike rides with you sure are fun. I am thinking of you and miss seeing you around town. I just remembered the name of your website and am happy to see you are still on your adventure. I know it is difficult to be away from your family. Thank you for your example of daring to change perspectives. Barbara

    • cessley


      great to hear from you! NO, i did not see any naked men in the bushes! Only with you! I thought of you during Tulsa Tough and wondered if you got your shirt this year and if you volunteered at the finish line! How are you? Come and visit!

  • Andy

    Well done ! These are great pictures of the Great Wall! Which reminds me… I should go through my India pictures and post some.

    I log on to your blog on a regular basis. Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

    I also found a great blog of Jiankou travel tips, I’d love to share it here with you and for future travelers.

  • doublewide007

    Thanks for this brilliant post and all the lovely pics–Your pictures are amazing. Just looking at those pictures make me want to climb the Great Wall of China now. I also found a great blog of Jiankou travel tips, I’d love to share it here with you and for future travelers.

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