Chinese: 古北口
Pinyin: Gǔ běi kǒu
English: Ancient northern pass
Coordinates: 40°41'20"N 117°9'18"E

The Gubeikou area boasts several sections of Great Wall. The Panlongshan Great Wall heads to the east from Gubeikou. The Wohushan Great Wall leads to the west. Panlongshan and Wohushan are reviewed separately; this section pertains to the Great Wall in the immediate Gubeikou area, to the south of and in between Wohushan and Panlongshan.

Gubeikou is a popular retreat for people who live in the Beijing area and a prime place for those interested in the Great Wall. Gubeikou was a very important pass during China's history and as a result it has seen many attacks and many phases of building and strengthening. Now there are many very good guest houses here to accommodate visitors. They can be found in all areas of Gubeikou.

Gubeikou towers

The central Gubeikou Great Wall is not usually visited by tourists. If you have arrived in Gubeikou to visit the other sections of the Great Wall near here, however, you may want to visit the central Gubeikou Great Wall as well. The walls here are a combination of late Ming Dynasty walls, early Ming Dynasty walls, and Northern Qi Dynasty walls. Vast lengths of the Northern Qi Great Wall were built over during the Ming Dynasty, and so only where it was thought that a superior route was available was the Northern Qi wall left alone. For this reason, not much remains of the Northern Qi walls today, making the relics at Gubeikou quite special. They are in much better condition than the span that can be seen in the Simatai and Jinshanling area.

No rebuilding has been done on this section of the Great Wall since the Ming Dynasty, but some repairs and rebuilding have been done on some of the main towers. Many parts have been raided for local building materials leaving little of the Great Wall remaining.

There are two primary paths to the Northern Qi walls in central Gubeikou. One begins just south of the point where the Jingcheng highway goes through two tunnels. Turn to the west and walk along a sidewalk until you reach an anti-Japanese defense monument and a nearby path on the right side that heads up the mountain and above the tunnels. From this path you can reach the wall (to the east) and towers (to the west) that are visible but not accessible from town. The towers were built during the Ming Dynasty. The second primary access is the last road before the tunnels on the opposite side of the highway, to the east. On both sides of this road you will find several paths up to various parts of the Great Wall.

Temple at Gubeikou

Start by climbing up to the Great Wall from just south of the Jingcheng Expressway tunnels as described above. There are several large towers at the top of the ridge. Three of them have been rebuilt. One of the tallest of these towers has a steel stairway built into the south side allowing you to reach the inside of the tower—and an impressive view of the area. It's possible to walk to the west and follow the string of towers and the barely-visible remnants of a Wall all the way down to the river, but other direction is much more interesting and rewarding. Walking along the wall to the east, you can continue for a reasonably long distance along a highly deteriorated but still prominent wall before you reach the point where the wall descends down to the road. This last downhill slope is too dangerous to climb safely, but there is a path to the right side which parallels the wall and winds safely down to the road. Once down to the road, you are at a pass which was repaired in 2004. This pass is located at 40°41'5"N 117°9'38"E, to the east of the highway. You could continue on the other side, where the wall continues its way to an intersection with the south side of the Panlongshan Great Wall. There are two more spans of Northern Qi wall that can be explored, one to the south and one to the east.

Location summary: Gubeikou is about 108 kilometers (67 miles) northeast of downtown Beijing. It is about 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) west of Jinshanling.

Driving directions: From Beijing's north sixth ring road, drive northeast on G101 for about 94 kilometers (58 miles) to Gubeikou.

Gubeikou Great Wall map

Gubeikou Great Wall map

Gubeikou Great Wall map

Gubeikou Great Wall map

Gubeikou hiking map (red = Great Wall, blue = paths)

Monument at point A on map

Path at point A on map

Path at point B on map

Gubeikou Panlongshan Great Wall photos

Bricks eroding faster than mortar

Northern Qi Great Wall

Minimal remains of what must have once been a magnificent tower

Recent collapse

Complex tower entrance

A rare, two-story tower

I was happy to see that the remains of this tower have been reinforced

This is the central Gubeikou Great Wall, around the area of 40°40'58"N 117°9'24"E. It is not the Panlongshan or Wohushan Great Wall. To access the Wall here, start at the south end of the highway 101 tunnels. Walk towards the west. After a few minutes, at about 40°40'50"N 117°9'23"E, you will find a path leading to the right up to the Great Wall.

More photos of the Great Wall at Gubeikou

Great Wall at Gubeikou

It looks to me like I went in around the same area as Fauster.

Driving north from Beijing through Gubeikou on the Jingcheng Expressway, you will see a hotel and a Wohushan Great Wall sign on the left (west) side.

Shortly before this on the right you can park. On the Gubeikou map, it's near where it says "Jing Cheng road".

There is a side street which leads up a hill to a courtyard. On the Gubeikou map, it's labeled Gubeikou old street.
There are temples and a very small museum in the courtyard.

View of Gubeikou from the old street.

They were rebuilding a part of wall.

Here it is from the other side.

The original wall

From here the wall was immediately accessible, but I was discouraged from going this way. I guess it was more dangerous.

Instead, I followed this obvious path through the woods

Which led to this path up to the wall

Which went to a large watch tower with many inscribed bricks.

From here, Jinshanling is to the right.

It's common for people to charge you when you cross their property when going around the military area.