Pinyin: Jiǔ yǎn lóu
English: Nine eye tower
Coordinates: 40°28'51.18"N 116°30'8.39"E
Jiuyanlou is a truly massive tower at 7.8 meters (25.6 feet) high and 13 meters (42.6 feet) wide on each side. It originally had nine windows on each side (hence the name, nine-eyed tower). At 1177 meters (3860 feet) elevation, it's one of the highest points of the Great Wall in the Beijing area, and the view from here is correspondingly breathtaking. Jiuyanlou has great historical significance and contains several commemorative plaques on its back side to document this.
Xizhazi is the usual starting point for reaching Jiuyanlou. You can take a relatively direct route, or a more indirect route which includes more of the Great Wall.
A trail heading west from Xizhazi village joins the wall just north of Beijingjie. This is a good way to approach Jiuyanlou. Heading north (to the right) from where the trail meets the wall, it's about a two-hour walk to Jiuyanlou. Shortly after you start walking north, you will find a very deteriorated section of the wall including a large tower. Like Yingfeidaoyang, this section must also be bypassed and you will find a path leading around its left (west) side and rejoining the wall again soon, just on the far side of another tower. From here, the wall is becomes more and more deteriorated until it is basically just a large, long pile of stones, which can be climbed if you are careful. About ¾ of the way to Jiuyanlou, at 40°28'38"N 116°30'9"E, you will also find a trail that crosses the wall. The trail comes from Xizhazi and continues to Jiuyanlou.
This trail begins from the north side of Xizhazi and offers a faster, more direct route to Jiuyanlou. It takes about an hour to reach the intersection with the Great Wall walking on this trail, a distance of about 1.9 kilometers (1.2 miles).
Once you reach the intersection of the trail and the wall, you can continue to Jiuyanlou by following either the wall or the trail, which goes to the west of the wall. Either route will take about an hour. The trail is much easier because the wall is not in good condition at this point. Continuing on the trail has another benefit; it leads to an old fortress that lies to the west of Jiuyanlou. The fortress is in poor condition, but it's still interesting to see. Of course, you can also elect to take the wall going up and the path going back down, a good compromise. The trail is about 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles); the path along the wall is about 0.6 kilometers (0.4 miles).
As an alternative to starting at Xizhazi, you can reach Jiuyanlou by starting at Zhuanghu. This village is about 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) southwest of Jiuyanlou, and can be reached by car by driving through Xiangshuihu from the south and continuing through to the following village, Zhuanghu. Just before the end of the road, you will see the trail on the right side. The trail from Zhuanghu is easier and shorter than the trail from Xizhazi and mets the wall at the small fortress to the west of Jiuyanlou, which is described below.
Overview of the Jiankou Great Wall from Jiuyanlou
Jiuyanlou is impressive indeed. It is very large and it's located on a high point from which the view is fantastic. The design of the tower is elaborate and unique. The tower has deteriorated a lot but recently enjoyed some repairs. It has not exactly been rebuilt, as it still retains its original appearance, but you will find that the mortar at the base has been replaced, some brick pillars have been added on the inside for reinforcement, and some stairs have been added on the backside to enable you to climb up to the roof, which has also been rebuilt. If you're fortunate enough to reach Jiuyanlou on a clear day, you can see the entire Jiankou Great Wall to the east. The view to the west is even more impressive. You can clearly see the branch at Beijingjie, and from there you can follow the wall nearly continuously through Moyashike, Xiangshuihu, Lianyunling, and Luanling, with the wall disappearing over a ridge at a distance of about 7.3 kilometers (4.5 miles).
From Jiuyanlou, the Great Wall branches both to the north and to the west. The branch to the west leads to Chashikou and Haizikou via the small fortress to the west of Jiuyanlou. This wall is quite overgrown and soon becomes difficult to follow. The branch to the north is the continuation of the outer wall that goes to Zhangjiakou. This wall is also difficult to follow due to heavy vegetation and poor condition. It reaches elevations even higher than that of Jiuyanlou as it skirts along the western side of Heituoshan, a mountain with an elevation of 1500 meters (4920 feet), before turning towards the northwest.
View of the Great Wall to the west of Jiuyanlou
Location summary: Jiuyanlou is about 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of downtown Beijing. It is about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) northwest of Jiankou pass and about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) north of Xizhazi. The path of the Great Wall from Beijingjie to Jiuyanlou is about 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles). About 0.4 kilometers (0.25 miles) to the west is a small fortress.
Driving directions: From Kaifang Road in the Huairou urban area, go north on G111 for about 7 kilometers (4.35 miles). Turn left onto the Fanqi Highway and continue north for about 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) to Lianhuachi. Continue past Lianhuachi for 10.7 kilometers (6.65 miles) to Badaohe village. Turn left and drive for about 7 kilometers (4.35 miles) to Xizhazi village.
Jiuyanlou in the distance, viewed from the path to Yingfeidaoyang
Much of the Great Wall leading to Jiuyanlou is in ruins
This is the final stretch of Great Wall leading to the southwest corner of the tower
This is the remains of a small fortress to the west of Jiuyanlou
This is the Wall continuing to the north from Jiuyanlou
Looking north from Jiuyanlou, you can see a distant Great Wall tower (left) and Heituoshan (right)
View from Jiuyanlou
Overlooking the Jiankou Great Wall and Xizhazi village
The western part of the Jiankou Great Wall
Moyashike in the distance
Xiangshuihu Great Wall in the distance (right side)
Lianyunling Great Wall in the distance (right side, top)
Jiuyanlou fortress (right side, middle)
Here are all the photos combined