The Great Wall: Jiankou – For hiking and photography enthusiasts, there is no better place on the Great Wall of China than the dramatic and difficult Jiankou section, says CNN cameraman Brad Olson. Located about 90 km from Beijing, the Ming Dynasty relic is best entered from the north through the village of Xizhazi in Beijing's Huairou District. As the section is about 9 miles (18 km) long with rugged terrain, Olsen covered it over four visits, once during each season.
The Great Wall: Jiankou – Spring. A former watchtower, the Nine-eyed Tower is the largest of its kind on the wall.
The Great Wall: Jiankou – Soldiers' barracks are located nearby, behind the tower.
The Great Wall: Jiankou – Summer. An ancient pine tree stands by Beijing Jie (Beijing Knot), where three sections of the wall meet. A difficult place to get to, getting down is even harder, Olson says.
The Great Wall: Jiankou – Autumn. The foliage shows off its best colors around the General's Tower, although pollution can still create hazy conditions.
The Great Wall: Jiankou – Although the wall has not been maintained for the last 450 years or so, the bricks and mortar dating from the Ming Dynasty are in surprisingly good condition, Olson says.
The Great Wall: Jiankou – Winter. Only a few hardy souls visit the wall during the cold months.
The Great Wall: Jiankou – The middle section of Jiankou is built into a jagged rock wall. It is passable, but there is a risk of falling off the wall. Olson recommends hiring a local guide in Xizhazi village.