Chinese: 小西湖
Pinyin: Xiǎo xī hú
English: Small west lake
Coordinates: 40°24'42"N 116°18'5"E

Xishuiyu is a popular tourist resort. There are many hotels, farm houses, and restaurants here as well as activities like boat rides and scenic walkways.

The Xishuiyu Great Wall combines spectacular views of the Great Wall, access to the real Wild Great Wall, and a beautiful scenic environment. The dam and reservoir were built in 1974.

Overview of Xishuiyu Park and Xiaoxihu reservoir

Most of the Great Wall around Xishuiyu is in reasonably good, deteriorated but not collapsed condition. It connects with Zhuangdaokou and Erdaoguan in the east and Longquanyu in the west. About one kilometer (0.6 miles) of the Great Wall in the center of the park was restored in 2009-2010. It seems that only the top surface was replaced.

The Great Wall is a dominant part of Xishuiyu, and the views are impressive with high mountains and water all around. But if you are looking for a way to reach the wall you may be a bit perplexed because it appears to be up on top of mountains and basically unapproachable. You have only a few choices of how to reach the wall. Upon entering the main gate into the park, there are paths off to the right that goes up to a high point on the wall. Some of these paths may be protected by a fence and signs warning people to keep out, but others will be clear. Once you can get onto the wall here, you can follow it to the east via Yaoziyu to Zhuangdaokou.

The other choice is to get onto the wall to the west of the park. When you first enter the park, take the first left turn and follow the path along the south side of the reservoir. At one point you will cross the wall where the path leads right through it. If you go to the right (north), you can follow the wall for a short distance before it abruptly stops on the edge of a steep hill above the dam. If you go to the left (south), the wall simply curves around and rejoins the path.

A pile of bricks allows climbing onto the wall

Continue straight along the path and you will again cross the wall at a point where it's barely noticeable unless you look for it. You can follow the wall to the right (northwest) here, but it is pretty steep and overgrown and soon ends at the water's edge where you would have to turn around and come back.

Continue straight along the path and you will see a tower atop a hill on the right side. Just past this tower, there is a trail off to the right. Follow this path down to the valley. It's steep and sometimes a little bit hard to locate. Cross the stream on some rocks. Following the trail back up the other side of the valley you will reach the Great Wall. You can get up onto the wall here, but at this point you can only go to the right (east) up to one high tower and then down to the reservoir. Heading left (west) you will soon find a tower that has been blocked off with bricks to prevent access. You must therefore find your way through the thick woods and soon you will find a place where you can climb up onto the wall. From here, you can hike to the west on the wall towards Longquanyu. As you follow the wall, you will get views of the Xiaoxihu reservoir to your right. You will find several opportunities to get off the wall and walk down to the reservoir, crossing through a large Ming Dynasty chestnut field at the bottom. There is a path all the way around the reservoir so you can follow it in either direction. You can also follow a path to the west along the valley and stream all the way to Longquanyu in a path roughly parallel to the Great Wall.

Author at Xishuiyu

Location summary: Xishuiyu and Xiaoxihu are about 56 kilometers (35 miles) north of downtown Beijing. It is about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) southwest of Yaoziyu and about 3.1 kilometers (2 miles) east of Longquanyu. The Great Wall continues from Xishuiyu to Longquanyu, crossing the Yanqing county line about halfway. This span is about 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles). It continues another 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) to a dead end at Songshugoucun.

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 6.2 kilometers (3.85 miles) to Huanghuazhen. Turn left towards 353, drive for about 550 meters (1800 feet), and then turn right onto 353 Road. Drive for 3.3 kilometers (2 miles) to Xishuiyu.