Considering our good weather luck, we decided that our trip to the Great Wall would not be complete without catching a sunrise. The prospect of viewing the sunrise up over the mountains and illuminate the Great Wall of China was something I had always wanted to witness.
Despite the early finish we had on day 2, 4am came really quick and our bodies were finally feeling the work from the first two days of hiking. We crawled out of bed, packed up our stuff and headed out to the van for our final day with Great Wall Hiking.
The van ride was short and we arrived to a deserted tourist park. It was soon apparent that we wouldn’t be entering the wall through the conventional entrance used by the tourists, we would be detouring off into the woods and hiking off to the side to enter the wall at the Jinshanling Sifang Terrace.
This hiking detour lasted around 40 minutes before we were standing next to the wall and then climbing up onto the tower to setup camp for viewing the sunrise and eating breakfast. Our guide had prepared and packed us a brilliant breakfast, who can say they’ve had breakfast on the Great Wall of China while watching the sunrise?
The day didn’t disappoint us and put on a brilliant show of light with bright, clear skies and after watching the sunrise we headed off to complete the duration of our third hiking day at Jinshanling.
This section of the wall is probably the second most visited behind the Badaling section that is near Beijing. That is mostly in part to the beauty of the restoration at this section. It is completely restored to give you a complete feel for what it was like on the wall during its glory days.
Of all the sections, this is the most photographed part and if you happen to be flipping through a travel magazine or a book that talks about the Great Wall of China, chances are you are looking at photos of Jinshanling.
This made for a more crowded hike than the previous two days as many other people were visiting this section of the wall that morning. Don’t get me wrong; even though we saw other people during the entire duration of the hike, it was far from crowded as we hiked from the busiest part at the tourist park towards a different area.
Despite it being a restored section, with good footing, it was one of the more challenging areas of the wall to hike. There are many inclines in this section that are very steep and even with good footing, this section is very tiring to pass through. However, the steep inclines were rewarded when you reached the top and turned around looking out over the area you just climbed and then out into the great wide open where the wall continued to crawl across the countryside.
When we finally reached our ending point, which is the Jinshanling tower on the highest peak, it was hard not to be reflective. We just spent three days hiking on one of man’s greatest creations on Earth. We had three days of amazing weather and intense muscle burn and even more gripping photo opportunities.
Have you visited or hiked the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall?
Don’t miss out on the rest of the Great Wall adventure:
- Hiking the Great Wall from Jiankou to Mutianyu- Day 1
- Hiking the Great Wall from Gubeikou to Jinshanling- Day 2
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