One of the Seven Wonders of the World, The Great Wall of China has to be the ultimate building project the world has ever known; constructed by human hands over 2000 years ago, it stretches across this hilly region with long spurs and watch-towers often disappearing into the mists.
Our trek is very varied, as we pass through woodland and terraced farmland, and follow the contours of the beautiful hills and mountains in remote areas north of Beijing. We follow old sections of the Great Wall, as well as restored sections with smooth flagstones and lots of steps!
Great Wall of China Trek for Girlguiding
BESPOKE • 9 DAYS
Take on an adventure across on of the seven wonders of the world for Girlguiding and help girls become the young women they want to be!
Depending on our flight arrival time, we will either avoid Beijing’s considerable traffic and transfer to the start of our trek at the small town of Huangyaguan, where we can freshen up and relax! Alternatively, when our arrival time makes it practical, we will transfer into Beijing. Here we enjoy a tour of Tianenman Square and the Forbidden City, the must-see sight of Beijing, before a night in the city. There will be a full trip briefing in the evening. Night city hotel / mountain hotel.
Drive approx 2 hours
NB: If transferring straight to Huangyaguan, there will be opportunity to visit the Forbidden City at the end of the trip.
Huangyaguan is a small town situated in a beautiful valley in the heart of the Yanshan Mountains. After a fairly leisurely start (or driving from Beijing), we have our first experience walking on the Great Wall. After some steep step sections, which give us a good inkling of what lies ahead, we walk predominantly downhill until we again reach Huangyaguan for the evening. Here the wall crosses the road that leads back to our accommodation. Night mountain hotel.
Our day’s walk begins where we left the Wall yesterday, and we head up the steep renovated steps towards what appears to be a sheer cliff face. This is where we encounter ‘Heaven’s Ladder’, a steep climb of over 200 steps leading us up the cliff face. There are fabulous views from the top, and once we have caught our breath the path continues gradually on steep tracks through forest, up to the top of the ridge. Once again we join the old Wall, and follow it along the contours of the mountain until we clamber down into the valley below. We bed down in the houses of a local village, a real cultural experience. Night farmers’ houses.
Waving goodbye to our hospitable hosts, we head up through the farming terraces immediately behind the village. The path is steep, and the terraces soon give way to rocky hillsides scattered with scrub. Eventually we re-join the Wall, which is unrestored and crumbling so we follow a path which takes us alongside it, with fabulous views along the ridgeline to the day’s highest point. We then drop down the hillside and make our way on winding tracks through trees back into the valley, where farmers grow maize, and walnut and fruit trees. Back at the village, we walk along the village road to our waiting transport. Our drive through the mountains to Jinshanlin is very scenic. Night mountain hotel.
A quick 20-minute hop in the bus takes us to our start point just outside the village of Gubeiko. We walk through the village and farmland until our path takes us alongside an un-restored yet well-preserved section of the Wall. This part appears to be of almost brick-like construction and dates back to the Qing Dynasty – the last dynasty to rule over this vast land. We follow a track down into the valley in order to skirt a Chinese military post and follow dirt paths through trees and undergrowth before rejoining the Wall. There are some steep sections and we help each other out if need be. Stunning views of the Great Wall snaking along the hilltops keep us going whenever we find it tough! The final stretch to Jinshanlin is on restored Wall with lots of steps. A short walk through the village and small shops takes us to our simple accommodation. Night mountain hotel.
Starting where we left off yesterday, we head up the carefully restored steps which take us into the mountains one final time. There are a few sections on older bricks and some dirt tracks, but for most of today we walk on good flagstones. The scenery is superb with rolling purple hills fading into the distance, dotted with many watchtowers; classic ‘scales on a dragon’s back’ scenery. After time to soak up this breathtaking panorama, we head down on small paths to meet our waiting transport which takes us to Old Badaling. Night mountain hotel.
Our final day of trekking takes us up onto Shixiaguan (Stone Gorge) Wall, at Ancient Badaling. This is a recently restored stretch of the Great Wall that rewards us with wonderful views of our surroundings and is only occasionally visited by other trekkers, so it makes for a very unique and historic finale to our trek! Once we have absorbed the opportunities to take finish photos and enjoyed looking back over the mountains at our huge achievements, we transfer by bus to Beijing, the nation’s capital and home to over 20 million people! This evening we have a great celebration to mark our achievements. Night hotel.
We enjoy time visiting Tianenman Square and the amazing Forbidden City, before free time to explore or shop. If you saw this on your arrival day, you are free to spend your time as you wish. Night hotel.
Paid by your charity 8 weeks prior to departure (4 weeks for UK one day and weekend events) providing they have received agreed amount of the fundraising target. If you are on a bespoke challenge your charity may charge Airline Taxes – please contact your charity for further information.
Part Payment Option*
Set contribution paid by you, remaining costs paid by your charity providing they have received agreed amount of the fundraising target. If you are on a bespoke challenge your charity may charge Airline Taxes – please contact your charity for further information.
Full Payment Option
Paid by you together with any applicable airline taxes (capped at £250), 8 weeks prior to departure (4 weeks for UK one day and weekend events).
* Not available on UK Challenge weekends
the tour cost includes:
Scheduled flights and all transport
All meals (exceptions detailed in itinerary)
Discover Adventure leaders and doctor
Support vehicles and local guides, porters, cooks, drivers, etc.
the tour cost does not include:
3 meals as detailed in itinerary
Personal travel insurance (to cover personal injury, cancellation/curtailment, lost items etc)
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick on scheduled airlines and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Your journey may involve a transit en route, details of route and flight times will be confirmed several months before departure. We do not always use the same airline for each destination; if you wish to know the probable carrier and flight times, please call for details. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
Accommodation on this trek ranges from good quality international-style hotels in Beijing to more basic mountain hotels or lodges. Expect plenty of variety. There is one night in guesthouses (dorm-style) in converted farmers’ homestays.
The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. Sometimes we enjoy a buffet-style lunch-stop, other times we might have packed lunches. On some trips we stop at small local restaurants. Dinners are generally eaten in camp or at the hotel, depending on accommodation. In some regions there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally on travel / free days, giving you the opportunity to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit different budgets.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we may be in very rural or remote areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Usually leaders are based in the UK or other English-speaking countries and lead for us regularly throughout the year in many different countries. In some instances, trips are led by in-country guides with a wealth of knowledge about the region; they have been trained by us to provide the level of support expected on a Discover Adventure trip.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.
Walking is partly on flagstones of various conditions on the Wall, and partly on paths through woodland or farmland. At times it is rough and rocky underfoot, at other times it can be muddy. There are also many steps. If you are unsteady on your feet you may find trekking poles useful. You will trek approximately 45km in total – though do not base your training on distances! It will feel far longer. It’s much more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for!
We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Travel Insurance is compulsory on our challenges; we strongly suggest that you arrange insurance cover as soon as your booking with us is confirmed. Should you need to cancel on medical grounds, you will need insurance to cover the costs involved (registration fee and any trip costs depending on cancellation date).
You should also ensure that you have adequate cover for the type of challenge you are taking part in as well as medical emergencies, evacuation and repatriation.
You can obtain a quote with Insure to Travel from our website here, or you may choose to take out your own travel insurance, just remember to let us know the policy number and emergency phone number!
For more information about travel insurance, please click here.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow participants and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Buy your kitbag
Only £42 - designed to deal with the rigours of your challenge.
Easier for accessing gear than a rucksack (especially when camping) this is probably the most cost-effective way to take your luggage on a Discover Adventure challenge!
Trips are graded Yellow, Orange or Red, in increasing level of challenge. This trip lies within the YELLOW range.
The grade is determined by factors such as terrain, distance, climate, altitude, etc. Each colour grade has a spectrum which reflects the difficulty of these factors; trip duration, accommodation and living conditions (see icon) are also taken into account.