The Jinshanling Great Wall , near the town of Gǔběikǒu, marks the starting point of an exhilarating 10km hike to Sīmǎtái . The adventure – winding through stunning mountainous terrain – takes around four hours as the trail is steep and parts of the wall have collapsed, but it can be traversed without too much difficulty. Note that the watchtowers are in various states of preservation and some have been stripped of their bricks. Autumn is the best season for the hike; in summer you’ll be sweating gallons so load up with water before you go (ever-present hawkers on the wall sell pricey water for around Y10 a bottle, or more depending on how thirsty you appear). To commence the hike, turn left when you reach the wall and keep going. The cable car at the start of Jīnshānlǐng is for the indolent or infirm (one way/return trip Y30/50). Arriving at Sīmǎtái you have to buy another ticket to cross a rope bridge (Y5). You can do the walk in the opposite direction, but getting a ride back to Běijīng from Sīmǎtái is easier than from Jīnshānlǐng. Of course, getting a ride should be no problem if you’ve made arrangements with your driver to pick you up (and didn’t pay in advance).