Chinese: 水关
Pinyin: Shuǐ guān
English: Water pass
Coordinates: 40°20'14"N 116°1'54"E

The Shuiguan Great Wall is a short restored section which was created in an effort to reduce congestion and overcrowding at Badaling. It's not the best choice for a special trip, but may be of interest if combined with visits to other nearby sections of the Great Wall, such as Badaling, and Qinglongqiao. A total of about 1.1 kilometers (0.7 miles) of the wall was rebuilt and the area was opened in 1995.

Shuiguan is easily reached from a well-marked exit from the Badaling Expressway about one hour's drive northwest of Beijing. Note that no return exit to the expressway exists here in either direction, so you must take secondary roads to Badaling to gain access back onto the expressway.

Shuiguan Great Wall, with Qinglongqiao and Badaling in the background

The Shuiguan or Water Pass Great Wall has been restored to a somewhat lesser degree than Badaling. When you approach the Great Wall here at the pass at the low point, you can choose to walk either west (left) or east (right). Both directions lead to a steep uphill climb. For some reason, most visitors seem to head west here.

To the east, the wall is restored for about 300 meters (330 yards) including one tower. There are signs but no physical barrier to prevent you from proceeding, and you can follow the wall relatively easily down to another end point about 170 meters (190 yards) to what was previously the end of the open area before they decided to shorten it. This second span is in deteriorating condition but still easy to walk. It's possible to proceed beyond this point as well as there is a fence but the fence is easy to get around. However, the wall has collapsed at this point and all that is left is one crumbling line of bricks. Therefore, proceeding east to the original span of Great Wall that can be seen heading tantalizingly up the next mountain requires going down a stairway and walking along a path on the right (west) side of the wall. Sometimes there are security guards present here, and they will not necessarily allow you to proceed down the path. The path leads back up to the top of the wall on the far side of the badly collapsed part. There is one more fence further along, but that fence too has been made very easy to pass. Following the wall further, you will reach a very large and well-constructed tower that is known as the number one tower. The tower is in excellent condition. Beyond that, the wall continues for about 90 meters (300 feet) and then ends. At the end, you can see that the original wall upon which the latest one was built extended slightly further. Beyond this, it was felt that no wall was needed. The views from this area overlooking the Shuiguan Great Wall and beyond are quite impressive.

From here you can walk down a path on the left side that leads northeast and down to the Commune by the Great Wall, a luxury hotel featuring buildings designed by famous international architects. The total length of the east side of the Shuiguan Great Wall is about 1.35 kilometers (0.85 miles).

Again, most people go to the west (left) from the main entrance. This mountain is higher than the east side mountain and many people can be seen trying hard to reach the top. Of course, some do and some don't. The view at the top is rewarding with the high points of the Qinglongqiao and Badaling sections of the Great Wall and beyond easily visible.

Number One Tower at Shuiguan

Beyond the next tower, the path is well blocked to keep visitors out of the unrestored Qinglongqiao Great Wall beyond, and security guards are often present.

In addition to the Commune by the Great Wall, there are many guest houses and small hotels nearby. Just go from the entrance straight through the main pass to the north side of the Great Wall to find them.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan visited the Shuiguan Great Wall in May, 2004. He and his entourage tried to keep his visit secret, but the effort was unsuccessful. Many of his fans were waiting for him when he arrived, but he walked up to the top of the west side anyway to the delight of all the onlookers.

Location summary: Shuiguan is about 57 kilometers (35 miles) northwest of downtown Beijing. It is about 6.3 kilometers (3.9 miles) northwest of Juyongguan, 2.8 kilometers (1.75 miles) northwest of Shangguan, about 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) southeast of Qinglongqiao, and about 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles) southeast of Badaling. From the pass at Shuiguan, the wall goes about 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) in a southeasterly direction and dead ends. The path of the Great Wall from Shuiguan to Qinglongqiao is about 2.8 kilometers (1.75 miles). The path of the Great Wall from Shuiguan to Badaling is about 5.7 kilometers (3.5 miles).

Driving directions: From Deshengmen City Gate near the Jishuitan subway station on the north side of Beijing, drive north and northwest on the G110 Badaling Expressway for 55 kilometers (34 miles) to Shuiguan.

Shuiguan Great Wall map

Shuiguan Great Wall

Shuiguan Great Wall

Shuiguan Great Wall

Shuiguan Great Wall

Crowded north side

Shuiguan Great Wall

Shuiguan Great Wall

Shuiguan Great Wall

Shuiguan Great Wall

Blocked end tower on the north side

From the Shuiguan pass gate to the end of the Great Wall to the south

Main entrance at Shuiguan pass gate

View towards the south

South end of the public area

A place in the woods down the hill from the wall where a whole section of outer cladding has fallen

View of Qinglongqiao and Badaling to the north

Distant view northwest towards Bangshuiyu

Here you can see where the Ming Dynasty builders stopped and the Northern Qi wall continues
40°20'5.33"N 116° 2'42.36"E

Steepest incline
40°20'6.63"N 116°2'34.88"E


Cháng chéng gōng shè jiè
Great Wall community border
40°20'3.70"N 116°2'43.24"E
"265" on top
I sure would like to know more about this...

View from the end of the Northern Qi Great Wall
40°20'3.70"N 116°2'43.24"E
This is the location of the southernmost remains that could be identified

Little remains of the Northern Qi Great Wall
40°20'4.07"N 116°2'43.20"E