Huangyaguan Great Wall Overview
The Huangyaguan (Yellow Cliff Pass) Great Wall is situated in the mountainous area of Ji County in Tianjin City, which is 130 km east of Beijing. Originally constructed in the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557) and it was repaired by General Qi Jiguang in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Huangyaguan Great Wall connects the Malanguan Pass in the east in Hebei Province and the General Pass in the east in Beijing City with a total length of 42 kilometers, and 52 watch towers and 14 beacon towers were built along this section. The rock and cliff to the east of the pass are always yellowish at the dusk, hence its name. This section of the wall was restored again between 1984-1986, and opened to the public in 1987. There are 20 watch towers being restored with total length of 3 kilometer.
“The Huangyaguan Great Wall was built on an abrupt mountain ridge. Being endowed with both natural beauty and cultural interest, it’s divided into two areas: Huangyaguan Pass and Taipingzhai Mountain Stronghold.”
This section is 2152 meters long and combined with the Huangya Fortress, the water pass, watch towers, the frontier cities, the Bagua Castle, as well as military facilities. The defense system of the wall is still intact. The Phoenix Fortress, located in the north of the pass, was one of the beacon towers left from ancient times to deliver message in case of emergency. The Bagua Castle was built on the idea of Eight Diagrams, which come from the ancient philosophy, the Book of Changes. Even the enemy could break into the pass, they would easily got lost and attacked by the soldiers. A Great Wall Museum and Forest of Steles were established when the restoration was going in 1980s.
Taiping Mountain Stronghold
Six miles northwest of Huangyaguan Pass and built 400-500 meters above sea level, the stronghold is located in Xiaopingan Village. There are 6 watch towers along the 873-meter-long mountain ridge. It controls the Chongshan Valley east of Huangyaguan Pass. The Widow Tower was built in the western end of this section. It is said that 12 wives contributed their smart money to build a watch tower when they came here to find their husbands were dead. A rock statue of Qi Jiguang was erected here in memory of his great work to defend the capital.
With its walls and towers built on mountain ridge with an average altitude of 738 meters, the Huangyaguan is really overwhelming. To the east there is the cliff, and the west, crags. It winds its way across mountains like a dragon. Guarding a stronghold, it has been the north entrance of Ji County.
On the mountains with peaks rising one higher than another, the wall jumps its way up and down as a linkage between the cliff and crags. Since the mountain is sloppy, the steps are very high. In some sections, it looks like that the wall is running straight up or down. When you look down, you will feel dizzy at the sight.
With a history of over 1400 years, the ancient wall was reserved well until today. In Ming Dynasty, it was added with walls made of bricks. The International Great Wall Marathon was held here every May from 1999, and a part of the race is on the wall. More than 1500 runners attended the event in 2009.
Activities at Huangyaguan Great Wall
- Hiking the wall at Huangyaguan Pass or at Taipingzhai. There are two entrances located at two ends. You can hike one of them for 1 hour.
- Hiking the wall from Taipingzhai to Huangyaguan Pass (Bagua Castle). For those who want to do more hiking, you can hike the whole section of the wall. It takes up to 2 hours to finish the whole section. Some sections of the wall are quite narrow and steep, so please take your own pace. It’s worth doing this, as you will be rewarded with the breathtaking scenery.
Travel tips at Huangyaguan Great Wall
- Most of travelers go Huangyaguan from Beijing, and there’s no bus from Beijing. It is recommended to employ a private vehicle. It will take up to 7 hours back and forth on the way.
- The East Qing Tomb is about 40 minutes driving from Huangyaguan, and most travelers will visit the tomb on the way. There are two underground palaces with similar style. Yuling for Emperor Qianlong is recommended for its featured rock carving in the tomb.
- The International Great Wall Marathon is held every May. It’s very busy then and difficult to find an accommodation.
Getting Huangyaguan Great Wall
- Start from Tianjin: You can take a bus to Jixian County in Tianjin Hebei Bus Station. The bus runs from 06:30 to 18:30. Between 06:30 and 12:30, it runs every eleven minutes, and between 12:30 and 18:30, it runs every six minutes. The bus ticket costs CNY 25 per person, and it takes about 2 or 2.5 hours from Tianjin Hebei Bus Station to Jixian County. When arrive in Jixian County, you can take a taxi to Huangyaguan Great Wall. It costs about CNY 50 and takes about one hour to the wall. Or take a tricycle from Jixian Passenger Station to Gulou Xikou (also Xiguan) which costs CNY 3 to CNY 4. In Gulou Xikou, there are many minibuses to Huangyaguan Great Wall. The bus can hold seven to eight people and costs about five to ten yuan (You can bargain over the price). The bus goes when it is full.
- Start from Beijing: Take a bus from Sihui Long Distance Bus Station （四惠长途汽车站） to Jixian County. The bus runs every ten minutes between 06:30 to 19:30. When arrive in Jixian County, you can take a taxi or a minibus to Huangyaguan Pass of Great Wall (Refer to the above detailed information “Start from Tianjin”).
- A taxi from hotel in Beijing will cost CNY 800 for a whole day trip.
Dining & accommodation
Around Huangyaguan Pass of Great Wall, many farmhouses provide visitors with dining, accommodation, picking and other tourist service. It is a good idea to stop at one of these farmhouses for leisure and entertainment.
- Chaoqun Farmer’s Guesthouse 超群农家院
Location: 100 meters to the south of the cross to Taipingzhai Room: more than 20 rooms with private facilities, most of the rooms have three or four beds and you can ask for the single room for you only. There’s a platform on the top of the building, an excellent viewpoint to see the Great Wall. Mobile: 86-13820614244
- Weijun Farmer’s Guesthouse 卫军农家院
Location: Xiaopingan Village, Taipingzhai Room: more than 30 rooms with private facilities, most of the rooms have three or four beds and you can ask for the single room for you only.
Tel: 86-22-22718959 Mobile: 86-13920863158
- Huangya Villa 黄崖山庄宾馆
Location: next to the Huangyaguan Pass, built on the site of Bagua Castle, government-run hotel Room: Mainly twin rooms in traditional Chinese courtyards. It’s renovated in 2008. Restaurant: A affliate restaurant of the hotel, basic western breakfasts are available.