Northeastern Beijing consists of Miyun District (密云区; Mìyúnqū) and Pinggu District (平谷区; Pínggǔqū), the two administrative districts located in the northeast of Beijing Municipality. There are great hiking sections of the Great Wall of China in Miyun less visited by international tourists and good scenic outdoor day trips for local residents in both districts.
The most common route from downtown Beijing to central Miyun is bus #980快 which departs from Dongzhimen. As for Pinggu, routes #852 and #918 also depart from Dongzhimen. Note that route #852 is significantly faster and takes about 1.5 hours each way.
See Great Wall for general information on the Great Wall.
- Gubeikou (古北口 Gǔběikǒu). Gubeikou is also far from central Beijing than other sections but the extra time it takes to get there is rewarded with a very significant reduction in crowding and tourist traps.
- Simatai (司马台 Sīmǎtái). The most authentic part of the wall is at Simatai; the wall here is of original construction unlike Badaling. Simatai in combination with the adjacent Gubei Watertown, a reconstructed historical town, has become a popular weekend travel destination for domestic and international tourists. Night tours overlooking the well illuminated Gubei Watertown are popular and tickets are sold separately.
- Mount Yumeng (云蒙山). The forest park has good views of the Miyun Reservoir and a wild part of the Great Wall. From the last park shuttle stop is the start of a 4.2 km walking trail to the top (2.5 hours). The park shuttle on the way back from the top stops at an observation point overlooking the Lupiguan section of the Great Wall where the remnant of a three window watchtower is in the left foreground. CNY 80 (entrance); CNY 100 (one way cable car).
- Gubei Watertown. Gubei Watertown is a reconstructed historical town at the foot of Simatai Great Wall. Visiting at night is recommended as there is an electric light show in the town and a night tour of Simatai can be done in one go. As a fancy high end tourist development by a venture capital fund, Gubei Watertown has been successful in marketing overnight tours.
- Tianyun Mountain, Huangtuliang, Huangsongyu Town (Nearest bus stop is 3.5km away; tour group or taxi only viable means of getting there). 8:00-17:00. The destination has a 160 meter glass bottom bridge and small viewing platform built over 1,000 meters above the valley. The surrounding landscape of mountain peaks is lush in the summer, making for one of the most beautiful outdoors sights in Beijing.
- Shilingxia (石林峡), Diaowo Village, Huangsongyu Township (Bus 852 from central Beijing to Pinggu District Bus Terminal and then local bus No.25). The park's large hiking loop will take you past steep rock formations and small waterfall streams. The scenery is not as spectacular as in nearby Tianyun Mountain. However, the star attraction isn't the nature but a UFO shaped structure that is the world's longest cantilever viewing platform. The bottom of the UFO platform is glass and the structure is perched over the highest peak in the park. For kitschy fun, a classic flying saucer with 2 blue alien passengers is suspended in the center of the viewing platform.
- Jingdong Grand Canyon, Yuzi Village, Pinggu District. Easy hiking circuit ideal for families to stroll. The main path passes though waterfalls, pools, and cliffs and branches off to viewpoints overlooking the Jingtai Mountain and barely visible remnants of the Great Wall. Along the main path is a short detour to the Tong Tian Gorge, a more challenging climb to the location of the crevice concealing an ammunition depot during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The best spot for viewing the park's scenery is at the highest point along the detour. For scenic beauty the Tianyun Mountain also in Pingu is better. An entertaining diversion within the park is getting an inflatable raft at the waterfall and lounging around under the shadow of the cliff face.
- Hiking Jinshanling to Simatai. The hike from east Jinshanling to west Simatai is roughly 10 km. The majority of the wall east of Jinshanling is unrestored and makes for a significant hike in distance and elevation change. You will be rewarded with spectacular views and a good day of exercise. Expect to spend anywhere from 2.5 hours to 6 hours on the wall, depending on your fitness level, ambition and frequency of photo ops. The section is rugged hiking on moving bricks sometimes combined with steep climbs. When you are half way between the two sections, there are hardly any tourists but collectors will charge you again because you are entering another section of the wall.