Juyongguan Great Wall owes its name to Juyongguan Pass, one of the three great mountain passes of the Great Wall (the other two are Jiayuguan Pass and Shanhaiguan Pass). Holding a very important strategic place as the northern direct access point to Beijing in ancient times, the Juyongguan Pass was first built as early as the Qin Dynasty when Emperor Qinshihuang ordered the building of the Great Wall. The present pass was built in the Ming Dynasty and was most recently renovated in 1992.
Located 60 kilometers north of downtown, Juyongguan Great Wall is the nearest section to central Beijing.
Situated in a valley surrounded by mountains on both sides, Juyongguan Pass has two gates: the South Gate and the North Gate. The South Gate is the main entrance of Juyongguan Great Wall. The highway passes just under the Pass, which does make some noise. However, the parking lot is right below the Pass towers, so it is very convenient for travelers to walk up to the Wall from the parking lot, unlike other Great Wall sections that usually require a longish walk to access the Wall.
Once you get to the South Gate tower, you can climb the west part, which is very steep, or the less challenging east part. Most visitors prefer the west part, thus making it more crowded than the east part. The crowds thin out if you hike out a bit farther, however.
Since the Wall forms a loop at Juyongguan, you can take either the west part or the east part to get to the North Gate, where you can leave the Wall. Depending on your energy level, however, you can stop anywhere along the loop and return to the South Gate. After you get down from the Wall, you can browse the Cloud Platform, a unique architectural feature, and other historic buildings inside the Wall loop.
Stairs on the western part are quite steep and uneven, so this part of the Wall is very physically challenging. However, you don't have to climb very high to get a nice panoramic view of the Juyongguan Fortress and the Great Wall. You can return down to where you started whenever you feel too tired to continue.
Being quite close to Beijing, Juyongguan Great Wall is almost as crowded as the nearby Badaling section, so is not an ideal choice for visitors who want a quieter experience. Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water. Be sure to also wear a hat and/or apply sunscreen, as there is little shade once you are on the Wall.
The parking lot at Juyongguan Great Wall is right below the Juyongguan Pass towers and is relatively flat, so wheelchair users can appreciate the magnificent towers and the Great Wall up close from below. However, visitors that completely rely on wheelchairs cannot access the Wall itself, since there are many steps leading up to it.
Opening hours: 8:00am-5:00pm (April to October) / 8:30am-4:30pm (November to March)
Entrance fee: 40 CNY (April to October) / 35 CNY (November to March)
Average time for this activity: 1/2 day
Public transportation is available to Juyongguan Great Wall, but requires at least one transfer. It is better to hire a private car or participate in an organized tour if you only have a half day for the trip.