Huangyaguan translates to "Yellow Cliff Pass," an apt description for this off-the-beaten-path, yet fully restored, portion of the Great Wall of China. Its distance from Beijing—about a three-hour drive to the east—means its often quieter than other sections while still providing spectacular views. The entire section is built into a mountain ridge, and travelers will find an array of watch towers, emplacements, barracks and other military defense features while hiking along the wall.
Most tours visiting Huangyaguan depart from Beijing or Tianjin and last anywhere between seven and 10 hours. Travelers can walk or hike along the wall with a guide to the giant statue of General Qi Jiguan, passing sights such as the Heavenly Ladder and the Widow Tower along the way. Some tours hike the full distance between the two entrances (about 1.5 miles), while those that are light on hiking often also include a trip to the nearby Eastern Qing Tombs.
Insider's Tip: If you're lucky enough to visit at sunset, you'll see that the cliffs to the east of Huangyaguan almost seem to glow.
While the hike between the two entrances can take one to two hours, it's best to leave yourself an additional hour or so to explore various points of interest within the pass. Visitors should be aware that there are a large number of steep steps to climb when exploring this section of the Great Wall.
Did You Know? Runners converge on the Great Wall at Huangyaguan each May to run the Great Wall Marathon.