Chinese: 驴鞍岭
Pinyin: Wàng quán yù
English: Wang spring valley
Coordinates: 40°27'13"N 116°27'27"E

The Great Wall at Wangquanyu and Moyashike has so many positive attributes one wonders why more people don't come here. This place 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 Wangquanyu and Moyashikeis not unusually dangerous.

Wangquanyu and Moyashike consists of a span of wall that leads from east to west, from Beijingjie (the Beijing Knot) at Jiankou to Xiangshuihu, 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.

Much of Moyashike'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 these Great Wall sites, take the road from the Huairou urban area towards Mutianyu. Instead of turning right at the Mutianyu roundabout, go straight and continue to the west. 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 Mafangtai and then Wangquanyu.

Wangquanyu 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 west, 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 too dangerous 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 tablet that describes a survey meeting of Ming Dynasty officials. The tablet 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.

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.


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.

The spur wall is about one kilometer (0.6 miles) in length. From the point where trail 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 or slightly more to walk this trail.

Location summary: Moshikou and Moyashike are about 61 kilometers (38 miles) north of downtown Beijing. Moshikou is about 5.7 kilometers (3.5 miles) west of Jiankou pass and about 0.8 kilometers (0.5 miles) east of Xiangshuihu. The path of the Great Wall from Moshikou to Xiangshuihu is about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles). 2.2 kilometers (1.4 miles) west of Beijingjie and 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) east of Moshikou, the spur wall heads south and east towards Yingfeidaoyang at Jiankou.

Driving directions: From the Huairou urban area, take X009 northwest for 24 kilometers (14.9 miles) to Nanye village. Turn right on X008 County Road and drive north for 1.6 kilometers (1 mile). Turn right again and drive for about 3.5 kilometers (2.17 miles) and then turn right towards Wangquanyu and drive to the end of the road.