Moshikou

Chinese: 摩石口
Pinyin: Mó shí kǒu
English: Carved stone pass
Coordinates: 40°27'12.55"N 116°27'27.21"E

Once you’re familiar with the Moshikou Great Wall, you will wonder why more people don’t come here. Moshikou is appealing in many ways. It’s close to Beijing and easy to reach. It’s in good condition although no work has been done on the wall since the Ming Dynasty. The wall has many interesting architectural and aesthetic features. The wall is built on high ridges, and the scenery is great. But most of the wall where you can walk at Moshikou is not unusually dangerous.

Moshikou consists of a span of wall that leads from east to west, from Xiangshuihu to Beijingjie (the Beijing Knot) at Jiankou, which can also be referred to as the outer wall, plus a spur wall that begins along the main span and goes southeast towards Yingfeidaoyang at Jiankou. The spur, which was the only wall here before the Ming Dynasty, can also be referred to as the inner wall.

Moshikou Great Wall map

Much of Moshikou’s Great Wall was built upon what was originally a Northern Qi Dynasty Great Wall. This includes the entire spur wall and the main wall to the east of the point where the spur joins the main wall. There is also a Northern Qi wall that is still in its original form since the Ming Dynasty did not built a brick wall upon it. This wall is across the valley from the spur wall and leads east towards Yingfeidaoyang. The Northern Qi wall was originally continuous all the way to Yingfeidaoyang, but the portion in the lowest part of the valley has been completely destroyed.

To reach the Moshikou Great Wall, take the road from the Huairou urban area to Mutianyu. Instead of turning right at the Mutianyu roundabout, go straight and continue to the east. After about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) you will reach Bohaizhen, where you can turn right and drive north for about 4.3 kilometers (2.7 miles) to the entrance of Moyashike Park. Or, from the Mutianyu roundabout, you can drive about 8.5 kilometers (5.6 miles) until you reach Nanye, where you turn to the right. From Nanye, drive about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) north and then turn right towards the Xiangshuihu Great Wall. From there, drive about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles). You will drive through Dazhenyu town. Just before the ticket area for Xiangshuihu, turn right towards Wangquanyu.

Moshikou Great Wall

From Wangquanyu, follow the road to the east until it reaches a valley where the road turns left (north) towards the Great Wall. You can reach the Great Wall by following the road until it ends and then taking a short trail along the valley to where the wall crosses the valley. There are some trails on the right side beyond the final left turn, and they go up to the wall, but this incline is too dangerous to climb safely. It’s worth going down to this area to see the wall here as it’s quite steep to the east and, to the wast, it’s not only very steep but quite convoluted as it sweeps up, down, and back up again. This area cannot be climbed but is very unusual and worth a look and a photo. This direction (left, or west) leads to the Xiangshuihu Great Wall, but it’s nearly impossible to access from here.

View from east to west across Wangquanyu valley

To walk the Moshikou Great Wall, which is to the east, you will take the trail that goes off to the right side of the road where the road made its ninety-degree left turn about 200 meters (700 feet) before the end of the road. The trail goes to the northeast up the side of the mountain and joins the wall near the first tower and takes 30 or 40 minutes to ascend.

The main wall viewed from the west

Inside the second tower, you will find an inscribed tabet that describes a survey meeting of Ming Dynasty officials. The plaque is loose inside the tower; it isn’t certain where it was originally located. Several attempts have been made to steal this relic but fortunately none has been successful.

Plaque

If you’re starting from the western end, near Wangquanyu, you’ll find a beautiful stretch of the Great Wall that follows the ridge line for 1.1 kilometers (0.7 miles) and five watchtowers before it reaches the junction with the spur wall. This section of the wall is well-preserved and relatively easy to follow. From the junction point with the spur, you can choose whether to go right (south) along the spur or to go left (northeast) towards Beijingjie and Jiankou. The distance to Beijingjie from here is about 2.2 kilometers (1.4 miles). This portion of the wall is in worse condition and is more challenging to follow, especially as you get higher and closer to Beijingjie, but it is possible to continue all the way to the Beijingjie summit. The construction style of this wall is different in many details as well.

Looking to the east at Beijingjie from the outer wall

From Moyashike, there are two trails to the wall. The shorter one is to the left and the longer one is straight ahead. The shorter trail joins the spur wall and takes about an hour; the longer one goes through the valley and eventually leads up to the main wall, taking a little more than an hour. The shorter trail is well-maintained while the longer one can be more challenging. You will find an interesting cave along the shorter path.

Abrupt end of spur wall

The spur wall is about one kilometer (0.6 miles) in length. From the point where trai l meets the spur wall, the distance to the main wall is about 0.6 kilometers (0.4 miles) and the distance to the end of the spur is about 0.4 kilometers (0.2 miles). There are no towers going towards the main wall and there are two towers going towards the end. Both of these towers have ornately carved doorways. This wall can be heavily overgrown, especially on its lower part, as it receives little traffic. The spur ends on a downhill where the slope begins to get extremely steep. There is a small structure at the end that resembles an open watchtower. From this point, there is an excellent view of the entire valley of Moyashike park.

Carvings on tower doorway

The longer, northbound trail from Moyashike goes along the valley and through the gap in the inner (spur) wall. The remains of the inner wall, which is a Northern Qi wall which was not rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty, are all but undetectable if you don’t know exactly where to look for them. The trail continues through the valley in between spectacular cliffs and becomes more and more difficult to follow as it makes its way to the outer wall roughly half way in between the point where the inner and outer walls meet and where the outer wall reaches Beijingjie. It takes an hour to walk this trail.

Moshikou Great Wall map

Moshikou pass

Moshikou pass

Moshikou pass

Moshikou pass

Moshikou pass

Moshikou pass

Moshikou pass

Moshikou pass

Moshikou pass

Tablet at Moshikou

Tablet at Moshikou

I got a few good high-resolution images of this tablet. I would be happy to share them with anyone who would like to try to translate.

The cave on the trail from Moyashike (40°26'53"N 116°28'21"E)

Moshikou Inner Wall

Moshikou Inner Wall

Moshikou Inner Wall

Dead end (40°27'6"N 116°28'47"E)

Moshikou Inner Wall

Extremely high-quality construction

Moshikou Inner Wall

Moshikou Inner Wall

Moshikou Inner Wall

Moshikou Inner Wall

Moshikou Inner Wall

Moshikou Inner Wall

Moshikou Inner Wall

Moshikou Inner Wall

Ornate tower decorations of Moshikou

Ornate tower decorations of Moshikou

Ornate tower decorations of Moshikou

Ornate tower decorations of Moshikou

Ornate tower decorations of Moshikou

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

These inside bricks appear to have been added rather than being a part of the original Great Wall.

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

Inside of a tower

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

The high points of the Moshikou outer Great Wall provide a great opportunity to look at Jiankou from the west.

Beijingjie, the Beijing Knot, viewed from the west

Yingfeidaoyang viewed from the west

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

Moshikou Outer Wall

To the west, you can see Xiangshuihu and Lianyunling

Moshikou Outer Wall

Tower at 40°27'36"N 116°28'55"E

Moshikou Great Wall at Moyashike Park – Photos

Moshikou Great Wall viewed from the southwest (near Dazhenyu)

Moshikou Great Wall viewed from Jiuyanlou tower to the northeast
The wall at the upper (south) part leads east (left) to Yingfeidaoyang mountain at Jiankou
The wall at the lower (north) part leads east (left) to Beijingjie (Beijing Knot) at Jiankou