Chinese: 黄花城
Pinyin: Huáng huā chéng
English: Yellow flower wall
Coordinates: 40°25'1"N 116°20'20"E

Huanghuacheng has been a relatively popular location along the Great Wall after it was featured in some Beijing travel guides and similar literature. At that time, it was in its original condition. In 2005, a span of about 3.1 kilometers (1.9 miles) of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall was restored. The restored area is on both sides of the Huanghuacheng pass. Sadly, the quality of the restoration is well below the quality of the original construction, especially to the west of the pass. While it was restored in 2005, the area was not opened officially until 2012.

Huanghuacheng features a large reservoir which is formed by a dam on its south side, very close to the path of the Great Wall. The original pass has been destroyed. In order to walk from the road to the eastern side of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall, it's necessary to walk across the dam. It used to be quite scary to cross this dam as it was only about one meter wide. When the restoration was performed at Huanghuacheng, handrails were added to the dam, making it much more secure to walk across. Now it's also possible to take a swinging bridge slightly further downstream (south) of the dam.

When the present-day road was built through the pass, a large section of the wall was destroyed. As a result, the remaining part of the wall on the west side of the road is abruptly chopped off and is therefore too steep to climb.

There are two trails leading to the wall that leads to the west, towards Zhuangdaokou. There is one trail on each side of the wall. The southern trail leads to a small restaurant and guest house and then joins the wall just above the first tower. The northern trail leads directly to the first tower, which must be entered by climbing a ladder.

To reach the eastern side of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall, you can climb the wall directly from its lowest point, but you're faced with a long and steep climb which, even though it has been rebuilt, is quite daunting even after being reconstructed. This location is known as Shibadeng and is easily circumvented. Again, there are two trails, one on the north side and one on the south side. To reach the base of the wall or the northern trail, you will first walk across the top of the dam that forms the reservoir. To reach the southern trail, there is a path leading down to a swinging bridge across the stream a short distance to the south of the dam. The northern trail is somewhat steep and joins the wall between the second and third tower. The southern trail is a bit less steep and joins the wall above the third tower.

All four of the aforementioned trails cross private property and during daylight hours you will usually find someone there to collect a small fee for use of the trail.

Tablet on west side

On the east side, the wall climbs somewhat steeply until the fifth tower is reached. At this point, the wall turns to the left and goes downhill slightly before reaching another mountain that presents a long uphill climb. After tower 6, you will find a battle platform, an area where the wall is extended into enemy territory to enable looking and defending downward in any direction. At tower 7, there a loose tablet which has a decorative border and extensive inscribed Chinese characters.

Hairpin on east side

Tower 8 marks the top of the hairpin. At this point, the wall turns to the right and soon begins a steep downhill plunge. At the center of this downhill slope is an abrupt drop of several meters which can be climbed or can be circumvented via trails on the left (east) side of the wall.

At the bottom of the hill is a small water pumping station. Here there is a path that can be followed south and back to the road. It's about 1.4 kilometers (0.9 miles) to the road. Although it's possible to continue eastward along the wall towards Jiugongshan, this is a difficult and dangerous climb.

About 200 meters (650 feet) south of the pumping station, there is an old structure that served as a barracks. It is a rectangle of about 45 meters by 32 meters (150 feet by 105 feet). The structure is still in good condition.

Battle platform

On the west side, the initial slope alternates between steps and ramp. The ramped areas especially can be very slippery when wet. A tablet in the side wall at the west side exit of tower 2 records information about personnel in charge and other details about building the wall in that area. Tower 3 at the summit has collapsed, and no attempt to rebuild it was made when the wall was repaired in 2005. In fact, the surface of the wall at a small area around the summit was made from uncut stones for some reason. After one more tower, which is in very good condition, the wall goes steeply down towards Zhuangdaokou. The wall is surfaced in bricks until the last tower before the bottom. Beyond this tower, steps have been made from large uncut stones, again far different from the original construction. Having been here before and after the wall was rebuilt in 2005, I was appalled at the way the reconstruction was done and several times I found myself lamenting the changes and wishing it had been left in its original state.

Fighting steps

Ming Dynasty general Cai Kai was in charge of the construction of the wall at Huanghuacheng. Purportedly, the construction took too long and cost too much money, for which Cai Kai was punished by beheading. After a survey of the area indicated that the quality of the construction of the wall was excellent (which it was), Cai was posthumously honored and the words Jin Tang were carved in a large rock near the Huanghuacheng Great Wall. As a result, Huanghuacheng is also known as the Jintang Great Wall, and the reservoir is named Jintang Lake. Jintang literally means “metal soup” and figuratively means “strong and firm”.

Huanghuacheng in original condition

The village to the south of the wall is known alternately as Huanghuazhen and Huanghuachengcun. The area around the village and the Great Wall has several guest houses and restaurants as well as small shops. With so many Great Wall locations in the area, it's not a bad idea at all to stay at a local guest house for a few days and explore all that this place has to offer.

Location summary: Huanghuacheng is about 56 kilometers (35 miles) north of downtown Beijing. It is about 3.7 kilometers (2.3 miles) southwest of Jiugongshan and about 1.1 kilometers (0.7 miles) east of Zhuangdaokou. The path of the Great Wall from Huanghuacheng to Zhuangdaokou is about 1.2 kilometers (0.8 miles).

Driving directions: From the Huairou urban area, take S308 road west for about 3.3 kilometers (2 miles) to Chawu. Turn right to stay on S308 and drive 4.2 kilometers (2.6 miles) to Qizhuangcun. Turn left to stay on S308 and drive for 17.6 kilometers (10.9 miles). S308 turns left but you will continue straight onto S213. Drive north for about 7 kilometers (4.35 miles) to Huanghuacheng.

Rebuilding the Huanghuacheng Great Wall in 2005

The Huanghuacheng Great Wall was repaired in 2005. Here is a before and after photo looking northwest from the area of 40°24'52"N 116°19'54"E.



Photos of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall west side between Huanghuacheng and Zhuangdaokou

The initial slope heading west from the road cannot be climbed.
There are paths around this area on both the north and the south side.

Start of path to the south

Start of path to the north

Looking down from the first tower

Looking down from above the first tower

Looking up

Second tower

Tablet at the north exit of the second tower

Tablet at west tower 2 (click for full-size image)

Location of tablet

Horrible repair quality

Looking down the final slope to Zhuangdaokou
Zhuangdaokouguan is visible at the bottom

Looking back up the slope

Steps at the bottom of the slope

Overview of the last slope before Zhuangdaokou

Huanghuacheng east side photos

The first two towers from the road

Shibadeng is much safer since it was repaired

The second and third towers

Tablet at east tower 7 (click for full-size image)

The Great Wall continues east towards Jiugongshan

Huanghuacheng fortress (barracks) Location: 40°25'0"N 116°21'7"E

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress

Huanghuacheng fortress