Huangyaguan Great Wall

Unlike other famous sections of the Great Wall in Beijing, Huangyaguan Great Wall lies in Tianjin, on the high mountains 28 kilometers north of Jizhou District. In history, as the last gateway to the national capital Beijing from the North, Jizhen ancient town has 18 fortresses around. Huangyaguan (Huangya Pass) is one of them, and the most significant one. It was first built in the Northern Qi Dynasty (556 AD). When Qi Jiguang, a famous general in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), served as the commander-in-chief of the region, he redesigned and overhauled the defensive fortifications with bricks. Huangya Pass was the most important ancient pass of Tianjin area in Ming Dynasty.

Huangyaguan Great Wall Facts

Chinese name: 黄崖关长城

Location: 28 km north of Jizhou District, Tianjin

Length: 42km

History: 550+ years

Best Time to visit: autumn

Time needed for sightseeing: 3-4 hours 

7-day China Wild Great Wall Hiking Tour from Huangyaguan to Mutianyu

Huangyaguan Great Wall hiking

Brief introduction

Huangyaguan (Huangya Pass) was named after the yellowish rock on the cliff on the east side of the pass. It was included on the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites in 1987, together with Badaling and Mutianyu Great Wall in Beijing. The Huangyaguan Great Wall, starting from Malan Pass in Zunhua City, Hebei Province in the east, and ending at Jiangjun Pass in Pinggu, Beijing in the west, is 42 kilometers in length. It is part of the ancient Great Wall of China. There used to be 52 turrets/towers and 14 beacon towers, a strategic site to the east of Beijing.

From September 1984 to September 1987, the local government and people worked together to repair a total of 3,025 meters of side walls and 20 towers. It is the longest part of the Great Wall restoration project in China. In 1990, the Huangyaguan Great Wall was selected as one of the "Top Ten Scenic Spots of Tianjin".

>> You may also be interested in The 13 Best Places to Visit the Great Wall of China

What to do & see

Huangya Pass

First built in Ming Dynasty, it is a famous pass along the Great Wall. It is connected to the Widow Tower in the east and Wangmaoding Mountain in the west. The fortress wall is 2152 meters long, with four gate towers in 4 directions, as well as barbicans, turrets, and water gates. Inside the fortress, you will see the archways, Bagua Street and Office building. In the center of the town, it is the Huangyaguan Great Wall Museum, with a collection of the weapons and daily necessities used by soldiers of Ming Dynasty. The museum displays the historical materials of the ancient Great Wall of China, especially those from Jizhou District of Tianjin. It is the first Great Wall museum in China.


Located in Xiaoping'an Village, 1km southeast of Huangyaguan, Taipingzhai is a fortress in the eastern part of the whole defensive system. Its altitude is about 400 - 500 meters above sea level. Travelers can go downstairs to head for Huangya Pass with ease. If going the other way, then it is much more difficult. Taipingzhai blocks the mountain valley on the east side of Huangya Pass. During the reign of Jiajing Emperor of Ming Dynasty, Mongolian troops once broke through the defensive line from here. There are six turrets, one watch tower, and one access door up to the fortress.

Huangya Water Gate

Connecting Taipingzhai to the east and Huangya Pass to the west, the water gate stands in the valley of Ju River. It was built during the reign of Yongle Emperor (1403~1424) in Ming Dynasty. The current gate was rebuilt on the original site in 1992. A castellated horse track is built on the upper side, and five tunnels are set underneath. It has a total length of 75.5 meters with a height of 12.5 meters. In the Ming Dynasty, iron cannons and bronze guns were deployed behind the crenels and embrasures. There are iron fences at the exits of five tunnels. The water can flow through, but the people and horses cannot cross.

Widow Tower

In the western section of the Taipingzhai Great Wall, there is a square tower called Widow Tower. According to legend, the famous general of Ming Dynasty - Qi Jiguang used to recruit Henan soldiers to repair the Great Wall. A group of twelve women went together to find their husbands and donated money to build this tower, which was later known as the "Widows Tower". It is 13 meters high with two floors. The outer wall of the lower building is connected to the city wall. 4 large brick columns in the ground floor divide the building into 4 vaulted halls. The upper floor is a rectangular hut, with dragon heads on both ends of the roof ridge, and pottery Lin (a legendary animal), phoenix, and lion crouching on the four eaves. The room can accommodate more than 10 people.

The Great Wall Marathon at Huangyaguan

Being considered as one of the most challenging marathons, the Great Wall Marathon was first launched in 1999. The races kicks off at the Yin and Yang square of Huangya Pass. Following the Great Wall, participants will run up and down 5164 steps, and go deep in and out of the villages nestled in green hilly areas. You will be amazed by the spectacular view of the Great Wall, and cheered on by the local villagers during the race.

The Great Wall Marathon features three distances:

Full marathon - 42.195km/26.2mi

Half marathon - 21.1km/13.1mi

Fun Run - 8.5km/5.5mi - a non-competitive run also on the Great Wall 

The Great Wall Marathon takes place on the third Saturday in May every year, but in 2021 the race has been moved to September due to Covid-19.

Huangyaguan Great Wall Marathon

Upcoming Huangyaguan Great Wall Marathon runs will take place on the following future dates:

25 September 2021

21 May 2022

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When to visit Huangyaguan Great Wall

Huangyaguan Great Wall can be a travel destination all year round. Though it is not recommended to visit in bitterly cold winter time, the view of the Great Wall in snow is stunning and photogenic. Usually tourists can go and visit the place between April and November at a milder temperature. Some people believe that November is the best time to see the Great Wall as many trees turn red, brownish, and yellowish to add more colors to the beautiful scenery.

Opening hours: 08:00-17:00

How to Get there

From Beijing

You can choose to take train or long distance bus from Beijing to Jizhou District (used to be Jixian County), Tianjin. Bullet trains are available at Beijing Railway Station (42min-1hr). Upon arrival, you can take local mini-bus to Huangya Pass (黄崖关). Alternatively, you can take a bus from Sihui Long-distance Bus Station to Jizhou Bus Station (2 hours), then board the local Ji Bus No. 3 to Huangya Pass.

From Tianjin

You can take a direct bus from Tianjin Tongsha Bus Station to Huangyaguan Village (2.5 hrs), 4 departures a day (7:10/10:10/14:00/15:00).

Or you can take a train from Tianjin Railway Station (one departure, 2.5 hrs) and Tianjin North Railway Station (3 departures, 2 hrs) to Jizhou North Railway Station. Then hire a local minibus to Huangyaguan.

From Tianjin Cruise Home Port

Tianjin has an outstanding cruise port. Many cruise liners stop here from the companies like Ovation of the Sea, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Symphony, Regent Seven Seas Voyager, etc. If you are on a cruise and plan a shore excursion to Huangyaguan Great Wall, then please book a tour in advance with a travel company. They will arrange an English speaking guide and a private car/van to pick you up at the port and transfer to your destination. 

Huangyaguan Great Wall Ticket Price

Adults: 70 Yuan

Travel Tips

A pair of comfortable walking shoes is a must when climbing the Great Wall at Huangyaguan.

Certain parts of the Great Wall are very steep, travelers should be very careful, and try not to go too far beyond your capability.

Further reading:

  • The Great Wall of China
  • Mutianyu Great Wall
  • Jinshanling Great Wall
  • Gubeikou Great Wall