Chinese: 太平寨
Pinyin: Tài píng zhài
English: Peace village stronghold
Coordinates: 40°14'47"N 117°27'20"E

Also known as Taipinganzhai, the Taipingzhai Great Wall has six watchtowers and one platform. The styles of the towers vary greatly here. There are square towers and one round tower. Some towers are solid and some are hollow. Some towers are located inside of the wall, and others are located outside of the wall. The Taipingzhai Great Wall is constructed of a curious mixture of brick and stone sections.

Starting from Banlagang Mountain in the east and arriving at Widow's Tower in the west, the Taipingzhai Great wall is small at about 870 meters (2860 feet) in length.

Taipingzhai features a nine-meter (30-foot) statue of Ming Dynasty general Qi Jiguang.

At the far west of the Taipingzhai Great Wall is a stone tower called Guafulou, or Widow's Tower. This two-story tower is 13 meters (43 feet) high with arched windows on all four sides. An oblong room is built on the tower and decorated with delicate dragon-heads on its west end. The name of this tower comes from the legend that this tower was built with money donated by twelve women to honor their husbands who had died while working on the Great Wall. Widow's tower is located at 40°14'55"N 117°26'55"E.

Taipingzhai Great Wall
Photo by Kim Siefert

Taipingzhai is very close to Huangyaguan. A popular walk is from Taipingzhai to Huangyaguan. It's easier to walk in this (westbound) direction because Taipingzhai's elevation (460 meters or 1500 feet) is higher than that of Huangyaguan (240 meters or 800 feet), making the hike generally downhill. Of course, being in a mountainous area, the walk is actually very much an up-and-down hike, but there is more down than there is up. The path of the Great Wall from Taipingzhai to Huangyaguan is about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles). This walk generally takes less than two hours, but it's easy to stop often to absorb the scenery and take photos, making it a longer walk. It's easy to find a minibus to take you along the winding road from Huangyaguan to Taipingzhai before or after your walk.

From the entrance at Taipingzhai, you can walk to the east for about 230 meters (750 feet), passing two very large towers, before the wall dead ends at a steep cliff that acts as a natural barrier. These are some of the largest towers on the entire Great Wall. The wall continues in its natural, unrepaired stone form at the top of the mountain, but it's a very steep climb to get there, and the wall there is in a very rough condition. If you wish to reach it, you will find a trail from the left (north) side of the wall that goes around to the north side of the mountain and then up its slope to the top.

Heading west towards Huangyaguan from the entrance at Taipingzhai, you will soon reach an intersection where a short (52 meters or 170 feet) tail wall leads north to a tower on the enemy side of the wall. Next you will reach an unusual, round stone tower at 40°14'48"N 117°27'5"E. About 340 meters (1100 feet) beyond the stone tower, you will reach the Widow's Tower. The Widow's Tower marks the end of the Taipingzhai Great Wall and the beginning of the Huangyaguan Great Wall.

Taipingzhai offers truly spectacular scenery. The mountains in the area are some of the most dramatic and photogenic mountains along the entire Great Wall.

Taipingzhai and Huangyaguan are accessed via the S101 and S302 highways from Jixian. You can take a train from Tianjin Railway Station to Jixian. In Jixian, there are minibuses and taxis to take you to the Great Wall.

Location summary: Taipingzhai is about 98 kilometers (61 miles) east of downtown Beijing. It is about 23 kilometers (14.5 miles) west of Panjiakou in Hebei province and about 1.4 kilometers (0.9 miles) east of Huangyaguan.

Driving directions: From Beijing, drive east about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the sixth ring road on the Jingping Expressway. At Xiagezhuangzhen, turn left onto X107 and then turn right onto S305 and then drive east for about 7.5 kilometers (4.5 miles). S305 will merge into S314. Continue for about 10.6 kilometers (6.6 miles) and the road becomes S301. Continue for another 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) and then turn left onto S101 Jinwei Expressway. Drive north for about 11 kilometers to Huangyaguancun. At Huangyaguancun, turn right onto X509 Great Wall Road (Chang Cheng Lu) and drive for 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) to Taipingzhai.