The (Greater) Great Wall

180 miles of new sections discovered—new hiking opportunity?

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Always wanted to hike China’s Great Wall but can’t stomach the crowds? Your chance might be coming—experts announced today the discovery of new sections of the ancient wall totaling 180 miles.

These undiscovered parts of the wall were previously unknown thanks to rivers, trenches, and hills that were concealing them. After two years of staring at results from infrared range finders and GPS devices, experts uncovered the existence of the new sections that total the length of Massachusetts. This addition brings the total distance of the wall to a whopping 3,900 miles, longer than the width of the continental U.S.

Don’t bust out your passport and hiking boots just yet. Most of the wall is buried underground—after all, no one even knew it was there—although recent efforts to restore the wall may soon extend to this section.

It is, however, tempting to visit the area before tourism strikes: The wall receives an estimated 72,000 visitors per day during peak season and one popular section of the wall near Badaling doesn’t have a single brick that isn’t carved with names or graffiti.

Not convinced that China is the place for your next backpacking adventure? Check out our feature on their cultural revolution surrounding outdoor activities that will hopefully spur conservation movements.

—Morgan Keys

Study: China’s Great Wall Is Longer Than Thought (AP)

Image credit: ninnet (via Flickr)