The Best hiking trail in Hangzhou

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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

Baoshi Shan Hiking Guide Map Signboard in Chinese

It is a fine day, but there is haze all round the horizon. Not bad for hiking in a winter day with little wind. So I start my unprepared hill hike.

My eyes feel quite comfortable with the green trees and grasses, and the bamboo here and there in the cold winter here in Hangzhou. It is amazing for a man who has been accustomed to living in the northern China where winter’s main colors are either grey or white.

The well maintained mountain paths are built with solid slabs zigzagging up to the hill top.

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.

I walk along a 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).

The Tomb of Niu Gao

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.

This rock sign tells you the path leading to the important attraction on the Baoshi Shan – The Sunrise Terrace

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.

A glimpse of West Lake below in a haze

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. 

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.

climb to the hill top and have a bird-eye view of the lake and city as a whole

Standing on a rock hilltop

Standing on a hilltop

The slender Baochu Pagoda standing on Baoshi (Precious Stone) Hill on the north bank of West Lake in Hangzhou.

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.

Overlooking West Lake dominated by the Snow Lingering 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.

The Baidi Causeway divides the lake into the outer land and inner lake in a haze.

Baoshi Hill is a place for romance seeking. 

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. 

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. 

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.

my favorite local snacks in Hangzhou

 
 I finish my one and half hour hike at Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge.  

I finish my one and half hour hike at Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge.

 

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing 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 guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Any questions, just drop a line.

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2 Responses to “The Best hiking trail in Hangzhou”

  1. Cynthia says:

    Hello,
    Just recently I tried to go to Baoshu Pagoda, but I couldn’t find the trail up the hill to it. Where does the trail start? Is it easy to see the trail from the lake?
    ~Cynthia

  2. Daniel says:

    Hi Cynthia,

    Basically you start to walk along the Beishan Road (北山路)from the Broken Bridge (断桥), soon you will find an uphill road ( the trail up the hill) on your right side (the first uphill road branching off Beishan Road on your walk along Beishan Road), you just walk up for about 20 minutes and your will reach the Pagoda. Please check the link below to find more information on Beishan Road:

    Beishan Road
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/zhejiang-travel/hangzhou-travel/beishan-road-hangzhou

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