June and July are prime hiking months in Hangzhou as the city’s lush green hills are not only easily accessible, but also provide lots of shade to escape those hot, humid days when you just have to get outside and exercise. We’ve collected a few great hiking paths for you to explore with friends in this first part of our series on climbing Hangzhou’s hills.
1. The Relaxing Route
Route: Broken Bridge (断桥) -> Baoshi Mountain (Baochu Pagoda)(宝石山, 保俶塔) -> GeLing (葛岭) -> Sunrise Platform (出阳台) -> ZiYun Cave (紫云洞) -> Yue Temple (岳庙)
Transportation: Bus 7, 51, 52 to Broken Bridge bus station (断桥站)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Starting from the Broken Bridge, go west and climb Baoshi Mountain from the nearest entrance off of Beishan Street, visiting Baochu Pagoda on the way. Be sure to take the safe paths when going west after Baochu Pagoda as there are a few moderately dangerous paths that people like to take because of the better view, but they have slippery rocks and no supports.
At about 2/3 of the way through your journey across Baoshi Mountain, either stop and take a break at Sunrise Platform (出阳台), or if you still have energy, turn left from Ziyun Cave (紫云洞) and climb Guapai Mountain (挂牌山), where you can get a great view of West Lake. If you go down the south-western end of the mountain, follow the signs to the end at Yue Temple. This route is very flat and good for beginners.
2. The Water Route
Route: Tiger Running Spring (虎跑梦泉) -> Li’An Temple (理安寺) -> Jiuxi (九溪)-> Six Harmonies Pagoda (六和塔)
Transportation: Bus 4, 139, 194, 197, 273, 315, 504 to Tiger Running Spring bus station (虎跑站)
Duration: 3 hours
Starting from Tiger Running Spring (虎跑梦泉), first visit Tiger Running Spring Park (虎跑梦泉公园) (10 RMB entrance fee) and then climb Tiger Running Spring Rear Mountain (虎跑后山). From there you will pass a nice viewpoint at Guiren Pavilion (贵人阁) on the back side of the mountain. Here you can view West Lake from the south facing north and the Qiantang River in the opposite direction.
After that, climb down the mountain in the direction of Jiuxi (九溪), with Lian Temple (理安寺) on the mountain and the Six Harmonies Pagoda (六和塔) as an optional reward at the end of your hike.
3. The Intermediate Route
Route: Zhejiang University Yuquan Campus (浙江大学玉泉校区) -> Jiangjun Mountain (将军山) -> Lingfeng Mountain (灵峰山) -> North Peak (北高峰) -> Lingyin Temple (灵隐寺)
Transportation: Bus 15, 21, 89, 815, 527 to Zhejiang University Yuquan Campus bus station (浙大玉泉校区站)
Duration: 3 hours
This route is relatively easy to navigate because all you need to do is stay on the high paths and follow the signs towards Lingyin Temple. Enter Yuquan Campus from the main gate on Zhe Da Rd. (浙大路), and go all the way to the back. Once you are facing the library (图书馆), take the path to the right that goes behind it.
Stay on that path until you start going up and there will be an entrance to Laohe Mountain (老和山) on the left. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the top, and take a left once you do. After that, the path is mostly flat as you climb past Jiangjun Mountain (将军山) and Lingfeng Mountain (灵峰山) on your way to the North Peak (北高峰).
North Peak is a famous mountain in Hangzhou, which many people say has the best view of the West Lake. On the top of the North Peak, there is a temple which is used for worshiping the god of wealth (财神) in China. There is also a giant golden bell there. When you go down the mountain, you can visit Lingyin Temple (灵隐寺), which is the biggest temple in Hangzhou, and one of the largest Buddhist temples in China.
After you’re all the way down, you can either take the bus from Lingyin Temple or walk on Lingyin Rd. back towards West Lake.
4. The Cultural Route
Route: Wushan Square (吴山广场) -> Chenghuang Mountain (城隍山) -> Fenghuang Mountain (凤凰山) -> Jiangtai Mountain (将台山) -> Ciyun Palace (慈云宫) -> Seven Cylinders (七星缸) -> Jade Emperor Mountain (玉皇山)
Transportation: Bus 8, 34, 35, 40, 314, 818 to Wushan Square bus station (吴山广场站)
Duration: 3.5 hours
There are many places of interest on this route, for example, City God Pavilion (城隍阁) , Phoenix Pavilion (凤凰亭), Seven Cylinders (七星缸), Zilai Cave (紫来洞), etc. You can see a great panoramic view of both West Lake and the Qiantang River in only a few hours.
5. The Tea Lover's Route
Route: Longjing (龙井) -> Qipan Mountain (棋盘山) -> Tianma Mountain (天马山) -> Jiqing Mountain (吉庆山) -> China National Tea Museum (中国茶叶博物馆)
Transportation: Bus 27, 28 to Longjing bus station (龙井站)
Duration: 2.5 hours
Green tea lovers unite! This route takes you through some of Hangzhou’s most famous green tea fields. This route is not very difficult, because the steps are all new. Bring along friends and your camera, so that you can chat with each other away from the bustling city and take beautiful pictures of the tea fields and the tea museum.
*If you decide to buy tea in Longjing Village, or at any other point, please only do so if you know what prices should be, as it is usually very expensive there – most villagers sell to stores or high bidding private buyers, so they won’t be giving you a cheaper price, at best.
To be continued in Part IICategories: Travel