Near the public Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, I had an exciting chance to visit a beautiful, unrestored, mountainous area of the Great Wall. A few years ago the Chinese government made the “wild” areas of the wall off limits to the public. However, it is not enforced very well. There is a village near the wall and they actually sell an entrance ticket to the village, but no mention of the wall since that would be illegal. The villagers have no problem telling people how to get to the Great Wall since they are making some money off of it.
From the village, it is a one or two hour walk up the mountain. The trails aren’t labeled, except for the sign “This section of the Great Wall is not open to the public.” Suddenly there is a massive wall of stone, 7-8m high. There is a break in the wall so you are able to climb onto the wall and then you see it is 4-5m wide, all stone and brick, built in 1368.
Walking from watchtower to watchtower of the ridge of these mountains there are some dangers. I saw one area had some metal stairs, but below the stairs was a rock slide. Some of the steps are 70-80 degree angle. At one point, some of these steps were washed away, making a 90 degree angle. I tried to climb down and couldn’t find a place to put my foot. Then a man below said, “Stop! Too dangerous!” and continued to say there is a path around this point. Maybe he saved me.
The Great Wall of China continues on and on into the distance. Later, it was fascinating to see the area I visited on Google Earth and to see how much farther you could walk if you have time. Maybe some other time. (photos)