West Lake is surrounded by the hills on its three sides – North, South and West with its east lakeside bordering Hangzhou city’s downtown area, hence the hill names of North Hill, South Hill and West Hill around West Lake.
Among the numerous places to hike in the green and historical mountains around West Lake, the hike on Baoshi Shan is always my favorite.
Baoshi Shan means Bashi Hill or Precious Stone Hill, an important part of the North Hill. Local people often refer to Baoshi Hill as the North Hill on the north bank of West Lake. There are numerous paths lead up the hill either from the lakeside, or from its north hillside.
Baoshi Shan is dotted with unique caves, Buddhist and Taoist shrines. The slender Baochu Pagoda rises atop Precious Stone Hill where you can have a panoramic view of West Lake and the city as a whole, one of the two best West Lake viewing places with the other being Leifeng Pagoda.
I start my one and half hour hike from Baoshi Shan’s north hillside behind Yellow Dragon Cave. The normal hike trail takes around one 50 minutes, which takes up to about 2 hours due to the extra time for photo taking and the lake viewing.
Actually the reason for my hike starting from the northern side of Baoshi Shan is that I stumble across a “Baoshi Shan Guide Mao” signboard standing at the foot of the north hillside behind Yellow Dragon.
I’m greatly intrigued by the practical hike guide map carved on the signboard with detailed hiking information – toilets, historical sites, caves, etc. Having been on the hill top of Baosi Hill for many times, this is my first time hike from its north side.
Baoshi Shan Hiking Guide Map Signboard in Chinese
The well maintained mountain paths are built with solid slabs zigzagging up to the hill top.
I walk along the bamboo path up to the hill.
After 10 minute’s hike, I come across a rock sign carved with four directions. Please choose the direction pointing to Ziyun Cave (紫云洞) which will lead to the highlight of the trail destination – Baochu Pagoda.
Continue to walk on the hill path, soon you will encounter a tomb, the Tomb of Niu Gao. Niu Gao (1087 – 1147) was an anti-Jin general under Yue Fei in Southern Song Dynasty ( 960–1279).
This rock sign tells you the path leading to the important attraction on the Baoshi Shan – The Sunrise Terrace (初阳台) which is a good place to view a sunrise in early morning.
The Sunrise Terrace (初阳台) on a hill top.
I continue to walk on the paved stone path flanked by bushes and tress on the mountain range in Baishi Hill.
While walking on the flat mountain range, here and there I have a glimpse of West Lake below in a haze, similar to a traditional Chinese painting.
Some bird singing attracts me and I find a group of local bird lovers are getting together and have their pet bird cages hung on the tree branches.
This is the final rock sign pointing to the path leading to Baochu Pagoda (保俶塔). People are trying to climb to the hill top and have a bird-eye view of the lake and city as a whole.
Standing on a rock hilltop
The slender Baochu Pagoda standing on Baoshi (Precious Stone) Hill on the north bank of West Lake in Hangzhou.
Overlooking West Lake dominated by the Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge and surrounded by the city’s downtown area.
The Baidi Causeway divides the lake into the outer land and inner lake in a haze.
Baoshi Hill is a place for romance seeking.
The 16 Chinese characters engraved on a huge rock by Baochu Pagoda says: Glory belongs to the Immortal in heaven; Peace and Happiness to people on earth.
On the hillside there is a ” book bar” where you may have a drink over reading a book.
These are my favorite local snacks which I often ate when I lived in Hangzhou 18 years ago. These shabby food makes me very nostalgic.
I finish my one and half hour hike at Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge.
Tip: Hassle-free Hangzhou Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for Hangzhou Guided Tours:
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Top 10 Photography Spots in Hangzhou
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The Best hiking trail in Hangzhou
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Hangzhou East Railway Station
Hangzhou Airport Arrival Hall
How to Visit Feilai Peak Grottoes in Hangzhou
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Hangzhou Bicycle Hire
Wushan Night Market in Hangzhou
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Hangzhou’s Best Bars & Nightclubs
Best Way to Visit Hangzhou from Shanghai
How to Visit Grand Canal Hangzhou
How to Visit Xiling Seal Engravers’ Society
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Hangzhou Tea Plantation
How to Visit Leifeng Pagoda
How to visit Hupao Spring (Tiger Spring) Hangzhou
How to Visit Yellow Dragon Cave in Hangzhou
The Best Place to View Sunrise over West Lake Hangzhou
Any question, just drop a line.