Chinese: 居庸关
Pinyin: Jū yōng guān
English: Juyong pass
Coordinates: 40°17'17"N 116°4'7"E

About six kilometers (3.75 miles) up the Badaling Expressway past Nankou, you will reach the Juyongguan Great Wall. This location makes it the easiest Great Wall section to reach from Beijing.

Juyongguan Great Wall

Juyongguan was a large, circular fortress spanning the valley as a supporting line of defense to the south of the main Great Wall location further up the valley. The walls climb steeply up the mountains on each side of the valley. It was first built during the Northern Wei Dynasty in the fifth century. It was rebuilt during the Northern Qi Dynasty in the sixth century and again during the Ming Dynasty. It is situated in the same valley as Badaling but farther south, closer to Beijing.

The entire Juyongguan Great Wall was rebuilt in the period of 1993 – 1998. Juyongguan also features extensive tourist facilities making it convenient but unnatural. It is still an interesting place to visit because of the unusual design, architectural, and construction characteristics.

Road passes through the Juyongguan Great Wall

The main Juyongguan tourist area is in the valley in between the two points where the wall crosses the valley. This makes it convenient to hike either half of the circle or the entire distance. The circle is approximately 3.3 kilometers (2.1 miles) around. The east side of the loop is about 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) long, and the west side is about 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) as well as being steeper. In addition, there is a tail wall of about 180 meters (600 feet) in length at the northern side of the eastern loop. There are enclosed forts at both the north and the south low point.

The Great Wall comes down to the level of the parking lot in two locations, so no climbing or cable car is needed to reach the Wall. It’s a good location for hiking. But if you want to see the authentic Ming Dynasty Great Wall, you should look elsewhere because Juyongguan looks like a new construction rather than a cultural relic.

Near the center of Juyongguan you will find a marble structure known as Cloud terrace, or Yuntai. This is a rare survivor from the Yuan dynasty and was built in 1365. Among its exquisite carvings are a Dharani Sutra in six different languages: Chinese, Mongolian, Sanskrit, Tangut, Tibetan, and Uighur. The rare Sanskrit is of immense interest to language scholars due to the exact translation in other, more well-known languages.

Cloud Terrace at Juyongguan

Yuntai (Cloud Terrace)

Sanscrit engravings inside of Yuntai

Also located within Juyongguan are restaurants and a hotel.

Location summary: Juyongguan is the lowest point on the Great Wall in Changping District or Yanqing County at 270 meters (886 feet). Juyongguan is about 51 kilometers (31 miles) northwest of downtown Beijing. It is about 3.8 kilometers (2.3 miles) southeast of Shangguan, and about 6.3 kilometers (3.9 miles) southeast of Shuiguan, and about 9.1 kilometers (5.7 miles) southeast of Badaling.

Driving directions: From Deshengmen City Gate near the Jishuitan subway station on the north side of Beijing, drive north and northwest on the G110 Badaling Expressway for 48 kilometers (30 miles) to Juyongguan.

Juyongguan Great Wall

Juyongguan Great Wall

Juyongguan Great Wall

Juyongguan Great Wall

Juyongguan Great Wall map

In 2005, I visited many parts of the Great Wall near Beijing. One of my favorites was Juyongguan. I liked it because of the structures and the lake separating western and eastern parts. The structures are very classical. They reminded me of China's great culture and very long history. People will find the place very steep and you might get a little bit dizzy when you climb to the top!