When visiting the great wall of china, one has four options, all are relatively far from central BeiJing, with the closest being about 60 Kms away. As would be expected, the great wall at Badaling is the closest to the city and is therefore the most visited, and like many of the other main attractions, you would need to elbow with the thousands of visitors. This section of the wall has also been extensively renovated and is therefore not in the original state.
When visiting the great wall, we decided to visit the Simatai (司马台) section, which is the furthest away from BeiJing and is still very much in the original state. This of course, makes it more challenging, steep, and crumbling in some areas, but in my opinion is the best way to see the original great wall. It also comes with the added bonus of not having any crowds.