Visiting the Great Wall: Cable Ride or Toboggan Slide?

Last summer, I visited the China as part of the multi-country Asia trip. Needless to say, I couldn’t visit China without making a stop to see the Great Wall of China in person. I decided to visit the Mutianyu section of the wall. There are a few options to get to the up to the wall. You can walk up to the wall (30-40 minutes, according to some estimates) or take a cable car up. At the end of the trip, you can walk, take the cable ride, or take the toboggan slide down.

Travel tip: If you are visiting during the hot, humid months, always opt for the cable ride. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of chances to walk once you get to the Great Wall.

Should I Take the Cable Ride or Toboggan Slide Down?

The toboggan slide looked like something I would be interested in trying, though I had wondered if it was safe and if it’s easy to operate. Since I booked a private tour and it included the cable ride (both ways), I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. Our ride was already paid for.

On the day of our visit, my family and I got a nice and easygoing tour guide. As we walked towards the cable ride ticket purchasing window, I nonchalantly asked whether she tried the toboggan slide. She had and she offered to get us either toboggan tickets, cable tickets, or a mix for our group if we are interested.

She didn’t have to say it twice. We jumped on the offer.

In Pictures

Cable Ride Entrance Signage (in Chinese and in English) ©travelgadgetreviews


Waiting in line for the cable ride ©travelgadgetreviews


View of the toboggan ride from above ©travelgadgetreviews
Another view of the toboggan ride from the ski lift ©travelgadgetreviews


Loading dock of the toboggan ride ©travelgadgetreviews


Is the Ride Safe and Easy to Operate?

I’ll break it down this way:

Is it safe?

Since you have control over the the speed, I would say it’s a safe ride. The only thing I’d caution on is to keep aware and make sure you leave enough space between the you and the rider in front of you. It’s no different than driving.

You don’t want to hit the rider in front of you, and you don’t want the rider behind you to hit you. Period.

Is it easy to operate?

Yes. You sit on the ride and there is a control stick in front of you. To slow down (brake), you pull the stick towards you. To move forward, you push it forward in front of you. That’s it. You do need to slow down when turning corners, though there are plenty of signs along the way to remind you. Staff members are stationed at various parts of the ride.

Who Shouldn’t Go On the Toboggan Ride?

The toboggan ride is for those who are a little more adventurous. It was fun for me, but I realized it’s also not for everyone.

Generally, I would not recommend the ride for those who lacks sufficient upper arm strength to push the control stick forward for a good duration of the ride, people who are uncomfortable with riding down a slide, people who don’t want to deal with control and speed (and might potentially back up the riders behind him/her).

In Summary

I was fortunate enough to try both rides. I got to enjoy the scenic view on the way up and come down on the toboggan slide for a little more adventure and a nice, warm breeze.

If given the choice, I’d probably do the exact same thing again.


To learn more about travel tours, you can find the “Everything You Need to Know about Travel Tours” series here.

Are you planning to visit soon? Which option have you been thinking of? If you have ridden in either the cable car or the toboggan, which did you prefer?

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