While the Juyongguan segment of the Great Wall of China is the closest to Beijing, it's not the most visited; after all, the steps here are still steep and often uneven. Those who make the tough climb up are rewarded with stellar views of the wall winding along the hilltops and—perhaps more importantly—sparser crowds.
The Juyongguan Great Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty, also features some interesting architectural elements (beyond the wall itself). Most notable is the Cloud Platform (Yun Tai), a squat white marble tower built in 1342 as a base for three stupas (and later a temple) that were subsequently destroyed. Visitors can still see carvings and inscriptions inside the platform's tunnel.
Like the more popular Badaling, some parts of Juyongguan Pass have been restored to their original condition. From the main entrance, stairs lead to both the eastern and western sides of the wall. The stairs to the east are less steep than those to the west, making them a better choice for kids or those with physical limitations.
Thanks to its close proximity to Beijing, the Great Wall at Juyongguan can be visited on a half-day tour or be combined with a stop at the nearby Ming Tombs, the Forbidden City, or a Peking duck dinner back in Beijing. Travelers wanting a more in-depth Great Wall experience can spend a day hopping from Juyongguan to Badaling and Mutianyu to get an overview of the different segments and their characteristics.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Juyongguan section of the Great Wall is a must for time-pressed visitors and those looking to escape the crowds.
Wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to climb up steep, uneven steps.
Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.
Depending on how much of the wall you’re planning to hike, it’s a good idea to bring along bottled water and snacks.
How to Get There
This portion of the wall is located 37 miles (59 kilometers) northwest of Beijing. The easiest way to get there is by taxi or as part of a guided tour. Those who wish to travel by public transportation can take Bus No. 345 from Beijing to Shahe and transfer to Bus No. 68 to Juyong Pass.
When to Get There
Aside from Chinese national holidays, when the wall gets packed with domestic tourists, spring, summer, and fall are all excellent times to visit this section of the Great Wall. The steps tend to get icy in winter.
Old and New Walls
If you have time, pay a visit to the nearby Water Pass section of the Great Wall, near Badaling. The unrestored and far less crowded segment offers a view of the wild Great Wall—an interesting contrast to the renovated Juyongguan section.