The best camping spot on the Great Wall of China for an incredible experience of nature
For many people, a visit to the Great Wall of China is an impossible dream – one that they are never going to cross off their bucket list.
Admittedly, when I stood on the Great Wall of China in Mutiandu for the first time, I could hardly move. The experience of walking on this huge structure, and moving at high speed through the incredibly beautiful natural landscape, was incredibly intense (I always go to the Wall when it isn’t inundated with crowds of tourists). Last year, when I slept in a tent on a completely isolated, unofficial section of the Great Wall of China for several nights, this feeling of awe was monumentally surpassed. Sleeping in a tent on this historical structure, and watching the incredible sunrise at 5am definitely counts among my top ten most incredible experiences of nature (and I’ve had many to choose from). I know I shouldn’t really publish this, because beautiful places like this should be kept secret. However, this camping trip isn’t for the fainthearted, as the nights on the wall are usually quite stormy and cold. But the route to the wall takes about 45 minutes on foot, via a narrow path through the forest, which should keep the new trend of flip-flop hikers away from the wall. Officially, camping on the wall is forbidden, but the government generously turns a blind eye if you camp on these unofficial sections.
Furthermore, the Great Wall of China is very long, and many parts have not yet been rebuilt. If the tourists do start to flood this part of the wall, the Chinese government will rebuild other sections of the wall and make them accessible for campers. Here are a few images:
How do you get here from Beijing:
If you don’t have your own camping equipment, there are essentially two possibilities. You can book a tour with a Chinese tour operator, such as CET Travel, or you can contact one of the local equipment rental companies directly. With option one, you’ll travel in a group and take a bus from Beijing (approx. 1h drive with low volumes of traffic). With option two, you’ll be picked up from Beijing by one of the rental companies (locals who often also run a small, simple hotel on site) and after they have issued you with your equipment, they will take you to the trailhead.
If you have your own equipment, you can take a taxi or arrange for the local rental company to take you there.
Here is a Google Link to the hotel and equipment rental company, Greatwallfresh. We booked it once, and everything worked out well. If you are able to get there by yourself, simply go to the point indicated on Google Maps, and ask for directions to the starting point for the hiking trail to the wall (it’s very close). Here is the link to CET Travel, if you prefer to book a group tour (they offer many different options – just look for the camping trip to the wall).
The equipment you need, which you can hire from the rental company, if necessary:
If the weather is bad, I would advise against spending the night on the wall. Rather stay at the rental company’s hotel for a small fee, and do a day trip to the spot.
As it can get stormy up there, choose a flat part of the wall, and use stones to weight the tent down well (be sure to put the stones back where you found them afterwards). The evenings and nights can be very cold, so you need a good sleeping bag and/or you will have to dress warmly. A good thermal mat will protect you from the cold coming up through the wall.
The rental company will supply you with an old folding tent, a simple mat and a light sleeping bag, so you definitely need to dress very warmly. Remember to drink a lot of water and to eat enough — my fellow-travelers often overlooked this important aspect.
There are no sanitary facilities on the wall (yet), but there are several places where you can heed the calls of nature.
And that’s all there is to it! If you find yourself in Beijing, a visit to the wall is definitely the most intense experience you could possibly have there!
Nothing stands in the way of an incredible experience of nature. Of course, you should take whatever waste you generate up there back down with you, and leave everything in a suitable state, so that other adventurers can also visit this magical place in the future. If I happen to be in Beijing when you are there, please feel free to contact me. If I have the time, I am always down for an adventure like this. If you have a drone, take it with you! The spot is a dream for every experienced drone pilot (stormy, small landing area)! Here is a video directly from this location, on the B2T Youtube-Channel.
Enjoy it! I would love you to share and recommended this article. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send them to me.