Hiking the Great Wall

One of the most widely recognized symbols of China, the Great Wall literally stitches together China’s sweeping history. Although contemporary accounts frequently depict it as a unified structure, the Wall actually evolved over two millennia through several major building campaigns. Different sections of the wall reflect different eras and building techniques. China’s tumultuous history is embedded in the Wall, from the feudal structures that facilitated the Wall’s construction, to the rural inhabitants of the 1950s who dismantled portions of the Wall to use its materials to construct their villages.

Despite its centrality to China’s identity and history, myth largely substitutes for the small amount of formal scholarship that exists about the Great Wall. Stretch-a-leg goes beyond myth and stale stories. We see clients’ Wall visits with us as opportunities to provide a foundational understanding of the Wall. We have sought out academic sources in multiple languages, attended lectures and symposia, and consulted with academics in order to provide our clients with accurate, cutting-edge information about the Wall and the role it played in China’s history.

Wild Wall

Life is short…you might only see the Great Wall once. You must go with Stretch-a-leg to hike an un-restored section!

"I have been to the Wall many times and it is always an amazing sight. But this was truly special. In the ‘once in a lifetime’ category! The day was all I could have hoped for and more.”

Learn more about the solitude and expansiveness of the Wild Wall with Stretch-a-leg

Stretch-a-leg’s specialty is taking clients to the portions of the Great Wall that have not been re-developed for tourism but instead left in their original state–segments affectionately known as the “Wild Wall.” One of our signature trips, the portions of the Wild Wall where we take you are much more unique than other Wall segments within the Beijing area. We have selected these sections for the variety of their surrounding landscapes, vistas of the Wall, architectural features, and relative stability of the route/path.

Often you will encounter no other people during your hike, offering you a much more private and quieter way to experience the Great Wall than other areas.

Our previous clients often exclaim that their trip to the Wild Wall with Stretch-a-leg is the highlight of their Chinese travels:

The views are amazing, as they are on other portions of the wall, but here on the wild wall you really feel like you step back in time. The solitude of the hike is a much-needed respite from the crowded tourist sites of Beijing. Here you only hear the rocks crunching beneath your feet and the wind whipping over the top of the wall.

The wild walk on the wall was perfect for travelers like us who wanted something different to the mass tourist experience. We saw literally one other person during our hike across the wall. That's no mean feat for China!!

The Great Wall. Quite simply, I cannot imagine a better way to experience this magnificent piece of history and geography. An exceptional driver, (2) exceptional guides, and a silent and yet spectacular stretch of the wall to explore. The hike is tough, especially in the heat, but you are walking with a friend, not a guide and there is no pressure to make a time.

If you are reasonably fit this is no doubt the best way to see the authentic un-restored section of the wall. Words cannot possibly explain it. The walk is quite possibly one of the best experiences I've had traveling so far.


Restored Great Wall

Some clients—especially those with small children, health issues, or very limited time in Beijing—prefer to visit a restored portion of the Great Wall. We take these clients to areas of the Great Wall that are less tourist- intensive than Badaling. Areas such as Mutianyu and Jinshanling have breathtaking vistas along with more developed facilities such as cable cars for ascent and descent and even paths.

“Our day at the Great Wall was the highlight of our trip. He took us off the beaten track, and it was history, culture and nature all in one package.”

  • We specialize in historical walking tours in Beijing, exploring off-the-beaten path sights, and hiking at the wild Great Wall. Our private tours are completely tailored to each individual client.

    Founded by a native Beijinger, we are a Chinese-owned and operated team who will provide you with the uniquely authentic chance to experience China from the perspective of locals.
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