For those who want to see a restored section of the wall which is more fun and less touristy than Badaling and not as far as Simatai or Jinshanling, then Mutianyu is a good choice. Just over an hour from Beijing in normal traffic, it is possible to see in a morning or afternoon and combines well with the Ming Tombs.
The Great Wall at Mutianyu is about 70 km or one and a half hour drive in normal traffic from downtown Beijing, just as close as Badaling.
Mutianyu offers wonderful Great Wall views with much fewer tourists and makes a great choice for a half-day trip.
Mutianyu has some good options. You can take the cable car up, have a little stroll on the wall then come back down the cable car. Or you can take the cable car up and walk for about 45 minutes on the wall, down hill mostly, to the toboggan sled. It's pretty long run on the toboggan track down the hill from the wall. There are double cars for parents with kids as well as the usual single cars. Fun and safe, everyone seems to enjoy this.
In Mutianyu village there are fish farms and restaurants, so you can fish out your own trout from the pond and have it cooked up for your lunch.
Average time for this activity : 2 hrs
Opening hours : 8:00am until 5:00pm with last admission at 5:00pm