Visiting the Juyongguan Great Wall
Juyongguan Pass is one of the three most famous passes along the Great Wall of China, and the other two are Jiayuguan Pass and Shanhaiguan Pass. Enlisted in the World Heritage site in 1987, it was considered in ancient times one of the most strategically important sections because of its position as a link to Beijing. Both sides of the Juyongguan Pass are steep mountains. In the middle, there is a deep valley with a length of 18 kilometres. The Juyongguan Pass Great Wall section was built by the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and here were fought great battles against Jurchens and Mongols.
How to visit Juyongguan Great Wall
The pass is roughly circular with a perimeter of about 4 km long. The widest point of the wall is about 16 meters, whereas the narrowest measures only 1.2 meters. It consists of two gates, one in the south and the other in the north, respectively called Nan (south) Guan (gate) and Bei (north) Guan and two high watchtowers were built at each of them. The scenery is stunning and from the south gate (it’s the main entrance), you can start your tour either eastward or westward. It is sectioned into two semicircles with 8 watchtowers on the west and 6 on the east, and then you can finish your whole trip without backtracking. Stairs on the western part are quite steep and neve and make the hike quite tricky if you are not so fit, while the other eastern side is gentler and shorter (1,5 km), suitable for less energetic people. Biking time for the west section is around 2-3 hrs, for the east around 1-2 hrs. Unfortunately, there are no cable car or pulley. I trekked the whole eastern section, starting from the south gate (tower nr. 6) until the north gate, and a part of the western section until the tower nr. 10 before backtracking.
How to get to Juyongguan Great wall
This section is the closest, around 50 km from Beijing downtown. The easiest way is to book with a local agency (check at your Hotel reception desk or online – they often provide a private car well), you can also combine your trip with Badaling Great wall or the 13 Ming Tombs. Another right choice is to haggle with a taxi driver for a round trip, but it’s tough to interact with them and explain what you want to do. It’s advantageous to prepare in advance a paper with the writing about it in Chinese and show him (some of them can’t read and write). Anyway, even though it is not so easy and takes a long, long, long time, you can use the local transports and catch the local bus or the train. Remember that it is always hard to find anyone that speak in English and the schedules can often change. I locally booked a private car (through the Hotel) combining the trip with the Ming Tombs and spending there the whole day.
- By Bus: Chang bus nr. 68 (Chang Ping) from Shahe station. Take the subway line nr. 8 and get off at Zhuxinzhuang, then take the Changping line and get off at Shahe station (Exit A2). You should walk along Baisha road for 15 min., then, after the small bridge, turn right to reach the nr. 68 alighting point. You can also take a taxi from the Shahe station to get the bus stop. Get off at Juyongguan Station (39 stops – around 2 hrs). You can also get at first Badaling Great Wall (check our post) and then take from here the bus nr. 879. Otherwise, you can take the bus nr. 345 (Express) from Deshengmen to Shahe, and change to bus No. 68 (Changping). Another choice is to take the ‘Beijing Hub of Tour Dispatch’ (BHTD), a government-run company, offers special one-day tour package services to many Beijing famous attractions. They depart from the southwest corner of Tiananmen Square (Qianmen subway station, exit C). You can buy them there once there inside Beijing Tour dispatch hub ( go there early in the morning and check the schedule and route locally – Juyongguan should be the route A, same of Badaling).
- By Train: S2 trains from Huangtudian Railway station. Take subway line 8 or line 13 to get to Huoying Station, and exit from G4 to find Huangtudian Railway Station. Here take the train S2 to Badaling Railway Station, and then take a free shuttle bus to Badaling Great Wall entrance where you can transfer to bus 879 (or a taxi) to get to Juyongguan (only 9 km). Another option is to take the S2 train and get off at Nankou Station, then change with the Chang bus nr 68 to Juyongguan ( the stop should be at the end of Jiatong street, along Wennan road).
The ticket is 45 RMB per person in high travel season and 40 RMB in low season. The opening time is from 08:00 to 17:00 and from 08:30 to 16:00, respectively. Spring and autumn with mild temperatures are the best seasons to visit the Great Wall.