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Great Wall Forum Thru-Hiking Policy

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  • Great Wall Forum Thru-Hiking Policy

    The Great Wall Forum does not generally encourage Great Wall thru-hiking. The Great Wall is fragile and needs protection. Also, thru-hiking the Great Wall is much more dangerous than most people realize. We encourage those who are interested in a thru-hike for its own sake to look elsewhere. The Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail in the United States are good choices. Europe and Australia each have many similar long-range hiking trails. In China, a little research will reveal suitable treks as well.

    Unlike many of those thru-hikes, thru-hikes on the Great Wall have no infrastructure, no outside support, no facilities, and no prospect of assistance in times of trouble. They can be dangerous. The Great Wall is not a place for the inexperienced, nor for first-time thru-hikers. Thru-hikes here are characterised by long stretches of emptiness between short areas of Great Wall. Indeed, the fact that the "Great Wall" is not actually one single continuous construction is not widely known, even among those contemplating thru-hikes. Finally, the impact on the fragile wall of poorly planned or executed thru-hikes usually outweighs the contribution to knowledge about the wall.

    For these reasons, only those who are genuinely interested in the Great Wall should consider any long Great Wall hike. We are happy to help serious researchers or those with a commitment to using their proposed hike to significantly enhance existing protection, preservation, and knowledge of the Wall. Such help will only be provided to those who are willing to participate in Great Wall research and to do more than their fair share to help protect and preserve the Great Wall. Otherwise, please do not post here asking for thru-hiking assistance.

    For your first experience of the Great Wall, we highly recommend visiting the Beijing area. As you can see on the Great Wall Forum map, there is a wealth of hiking, including (for the experienced) multi-day and challenging hikes, and a wealth of Ming and pre-Ming architecture to experience. We don't endorse any specific commercial provider, but overnight experiences are readily available.

    And if the Great Wall Bug bites you too, the fragile wall areas to the west will be there next year on your second trip - with luck and with careful commitment to preservation of this historic construction.