Great Wall at Simatai West is also called the east gate entrance of the Jinshanling Great Wall. The Great Wall at Simatai West is about 130 kilometres from downtown Beijing, right on the border of Hebei province and Beijing municipality, this part of Great Wall weaves along steep mountain ridges for 10.5 kilometres through a mountainous rural area with dense vegetation. First constructed in the early period of the Ming Dynasty during the late 14th century, the Simatai West – Jinshanling Great Wall was subsequently rebuilt to a much higher standard in the late 16th century after the Ming Dynasty decided to beef up its border defenses following a major military raid on Beijing by Mongol nomads in the mid 16th century.
This moderately challenging, 3-hour hike offers breathtaking views of the Great Wall from Simatai West to Jinshanling, snaking along the ridge of the mountains, taking you through crumbling, ancient watch towers along the way. Hiking along this thoughtfully restored section of the Great Wall will transport you back in time to the heyday of imperial China and allow you to get a sense of what it must have felt like to be a Ming Dynasty soldier sent to the northern frontier of the Chinese empire to protect the imperial capital, Beijing, against nomadic invaders. Jinshanling is also famous for being one of the most photogenic sections of the Great Wall and is a fantastic place to take photos.