Chinese: 莲花池
Pinyin: Lián huā chí
English: Lotus pond
Coordinates: 40°26'24"N 116°34'35"E

Lianhuachi is a great place for a Wild Great Wall hike. You will not find many people here yet it's easy to access from Beijing. To the east of the road, the Great Wall at Lianhuachi is from the early Ming Dynasty and is constructed from stone. To the west, the wall is from later Ming Dynasty times and is constructed from brick. Therefore, you can experience both early and later Ming Dynasty Great Walls here with a single visit.

Walking to the east, you can reach Shentangyu. This hike takes the better part of a day. Walking to the west, you will reach Mutianyu in just a few hours. If you want more original Great Wall hiking once you reach the beginning of the restored Great Wall at Mutianyu, you can go south (left) and explore the spur wall. Of course, you can also do an out-and-back hike in either direction, or both.

Lianhuachi was known as Qiliankou in the time that the Great Wall was built in the Ming Dynasty. Today, in addition to the Great Wall, many restaurants and mountain villas make it a popular tourist destination. In fact, most people that come here barely even take notice of the Great Wall.

Lianhuachi is easy to reach from the Huairou urban area. Most Huairou taxi drivers will know exactly where it is. If you try to take a taxi from Beijing, be prepared with a map because most Beijing taxi drivers will not know how to get there.

If you are doing an out-and-back hike, ask the driver to wait for you and bring you back to Huairou. If you're hiking to Shentangyu, ask your driver to meet you there. If you are hiking to Mutianyu, you will not have any problem finding a driver to take you back to Huairou as long as you arrive there in the daytime.

Note that when driving from Huairou to Xizhazi (the village on north side of the Jiankou Great Wall), you pass right through Lianhuachi.

West side of the Lianhuachi Great Wall

Lianhuachi is starkly different on its east and west side. The east side, which is made of stone, is highly deteriorated as is typical for stone walls of this type in the mountains. This makes climbing challenging. On the west side, the construction is of brick with a cut rectangular stone base. Climbing is much easier on this side, but there are still areas where the surface is steep and crumbling.

On both sides, the towers are made of brick.

Hiking to the west from Lianhuachi, the most difficult part is probably getting up onto the Great Wall. The first choice is to follow the wall from its lowest point, and the second choice is to take one of several trails that bypass the first incline and join the wall up on the ridge. The first incline is the steepest one and that is the reason that you will find trails that bypass it. But it's really not extremely dangerous and if you're capable and careful you can climb this span without incident. If you use a trail to bypass this part, you should be aware that the trails are somewhat steep and slippery too.

Hiking to the east from Lianhuachi, towards Shentangyu, there are several difficult spots. Some of them can be bypassed with short trails, and others must be negotiated directly. There is also a span with no wall at all where you must follow a trail through the woods.

Lianhuachi's east side

Looking east from 40°26'16.5"N 116°34'41"E,
the start of the path to the lowest point of the Great Wall
is visible on the right (south) side of the road

Here is the start of the trail, at 40°26'16"N 116°34'42"E

Another view

The first part of the Wall is steep. If you want to bypass it,
use this trail at40°26'15.32"N 116°34'43.25"E.
Note, however, the trail is also steep and can be slippery.

There are other paths to reach this side of the Lianhuachi Great Wall, but I found these to be the best. Other paths join the Great Wall further to the west. You can find all of the paths on the Beijing Area Great Wall Map.

East Side Description

This building is the best way to approach the east side (40°26'18"N 116°34'43"E)

From the top of the building, this walkway leads to a trail through
the woods to the start of the Great Wall here. The trail is easy to follow.

There is another good way to reach the Lianhuachi Great Wall on the east side.
(巴壳公社, Ba Ke Gong She, Ba Ke commune, 40°26'15"N 116°34'49"E)

Cross the bridge and go to the left of the building and up the stairs

Here is the start of the stairs

Here are some more of the stairs.
As you near the top you will see signs for the Great Wall (in Chinese).

And here is the path.

There are other paths to reach this side of the Lianhuachi Great Wall, but I found these two to be the best.

Typical part of the eastern Lianhuachi Great Wall

Photos from the west side of the Lianhuachi Great Wall

The lowest point on the Wall

Where the Wall starts to climb

Looking down from the lower part of the first incline

Looking down from the top of the first incline

Once on the ridge, you will find that the Great Wall rises and falls as it traverses ridges.

Looking across the valley to where the Wall heads east towards Shentangyu

A closer view

A look down at Lianhuachi village

A look ahead towards Mutianyu

Inside of a tower

A place that calls for careful climbing

Inside of another tower

Typical part of the eastern Lianhuachi Great Wall

Photos from the east side of the Lianhuachi Great Wall

The only possible explanation I could come up with for this horizontal line was that the upper part was later added to the previously built lower part. But I am still not convinced.

Far in the distance, you can see Niujiaobian

Here the Wall joins a huge granite boulder

This Lianhuachi Great Wall Map shows the driving route
to Xizhazi as well as the Lianhuachi area.

Location summary: Lianhuachi is about 61 kilometers (38 miles) north of downtown Beijing. It is about 4.7 kilometers (2.9 miles) northwest of Shentangyu and about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) east of Mutianyu. The path of the Great Wall from Lianhuachi to Mutianyu is about 3.2 kilometers (2 miles). The Mutianyu spur wall is about 0.9 kilometers (0.6 miles) long.

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.

Lianhuachi Great Wall map

Lianhuachi Great Wall

Lianhuachi Great Wall

Lianhuachi Great Wall

Lianhuachi Great Wall

Lianhuachi Great Wall

Lianhuachi Great Wall

Lianhuachi Great Wall

Lianhuachi Great Wall