Pinyin: Huáng tái zi
English: Yellow platform
Coordinates: 40°16'6"N 115°56'24"E
From the southern path at Chenjiabao, the wall continues for about 3.1 kilometers (1.9 miles) and changes from a southbound direction to a westbound direction before you reach another trail on the right (north) side of the wall. The beginning of this stretch of the wall is not particularly difficult, but after about half way the condition becomes much worse as the wall transitions from brick to stone. The trail is about 750 meters (2480 feet) long and joins the end of the road about 900 meters (2950 feet) away from the southern Chenjiabao trail.
There are several towers along this stretch of wall from Chenjiabao to Huangtaizi. The final one, located near the middle of the long slope down to the Huangtaizi valley, is in good condition.
At this point, the wall has again left Beijing Municipality and entered Hebei Province. From here, it continues to the southwest for about 2.3 kilometers (1.4 miles) before rejoining the border between Beijing Municipality and Hebei Province. Here, the division of Beijing Municipality has changed from Yanqing County to Changping District.
Continuing to the west beyond the trail is extremely difficult, due to a very steep slope (more like a cliff) along which there is no wall or obvious trail to follow. If you aren't trying to follow a continuous path along the wall, it's better to approach from the next access to the west, at Huanglouyuan. Near the midpoint of this span between the two trails, the wall makes a sharp turn and changes to a southbound direction at a large tower. There, another, older, fragmented Ming Dynasty wall leads to the northwest. Near the top of the slope on the west side of this tower are some very high steps along the wall. These are not insurmountable, but there is a trail along the south side of the wall that allows you to bypass them and regain the wall just beyond.
Where the wall rejoins the Beijing/Hebei border, there is a trail leading south (left) towards Huanglouyuan. And about 1.5 kilomters (0.9 miles) further along the wall is another trail that also leads south to Huanglouyuan. These two trails along with the short span of wall in between present a good opportunity for a short round-trip walk in this area. This is a worthwhile hike because of the outstanding views along this part of the Great Wall.
Looking towards Dayingpan
Photo by Richard Fairbrother
West of the Huanglouyuan area, the wall rises to a height of over 1400 meters (4600 feet), providing even better viewing opportunities. The high point is a tower at the top of a mountain where the wall makes a sharp turn and leads to the north. Beyond this point are a few closely-spaced towers including a rare, round tower. The top of the round tower has collapsed, but its base is still mostly intact. Beyond the high tower, the path gets significantly more challenging. About 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) past the high tower, you will reach a steep area including sheer cliffs which are far too dangerous to try to climb down and up. There's no easy way past; proceeding requires serious commitment. The wall from here continues for another 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) until it reaches the Huailai County TV tower at Wangleng village near Laohutoushan. There is a road leading south here towards Henglingcheng.
From the TV tower, it's about 8 fantastic kilometers (5 miles) along the wall until you reach Dayingpan.
Location summary: Huangtaizi is about 55 kilometers (34 miles) northwest of downtown Beijing. It is about 3.7 kilometers (2.3 miles) south of Chenjiabao and about 10.3 kilometers (6.4 miles) east of Dayingpan. The path of the Great Wall from Chenjiabao to Huangtaizi is about 6.5 kilometers (4 miles). The path of the Great Wall from Huangtaizi to Dayingpan is about 16.3 kilometers (10.1 miles).
Driving directions: From Deshengmen City Gate near the Jishuitan subway station on the north side of Beijing, drive north and northwest on the G110 Badaling Expressway for 62 kilometers (38.5 miles). Exit onto S220 and drive north for about 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles). Make a U-turn and drive south for about 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles). The road curves to the left to parallel the expressway. Drive for another 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles). Turn left at Waipocun and drive south on Waishi Road for about 9.5 kilometers (5.9 miles), passing Chenjiabao and Chenjiapu. Turn left and drive 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) to the end of the road, where the trail leads to the Huangtaizi Great Wall.