Mountains around the West Lake may not be as majestic as Taishan Mountain, nor has the flame-red leaves as Xiangshan Mountain, but it has its own flavor. Let's make the most of the cool weather of early autumn and choose a mountain to hike and to embrace nature.
Precious Stone Hill 宝石山
Precious Stone Hill is a big name in Hangzhou. On the hill, visitors will find a lot of historical sites like Baopu Taoist Temple, Yellow Dragon Cave and Baochu Pagoda, as well as an array of hiking trails which extend in almost all directions and easy to conquer.
Precious Stone Hill has always been one of the hottest mountain hiking sites and its advantageous location on the banks of the West Lake also contributes to the fact that a constant stream of people come here to have a panoramic view of the West Lake.
In the meantime, Precious Stone Hill is known for its view of "Precious Stone Hill Floating in Rosy Clouds", which is one of "Top Ten Views of West Lake", for the special stones that form the hill.
The Baochu Pagoda, which stands at the east side of the hill, is a noteworthy landmark attraction of West Lake for its elegant appearance and advantageous location.
Especially at dawn, the Precious Stone Hill and Baochu Pagoda compose an extraordinary "painting". The nearby Geling Peak is said to be the place where Ge Hong (a famous Taoist, alchemist and medical scientist in the Eastern Jin Dynasty 317-420) tried to produce the elixir of life. There on the hill still are preserved historical sites about Ge Hong and his making the elixir of life.
Estimated hiking time: roughly two hours
Transportation: Take bus 6, 7, 16, 27, 52, 118 or Y10 to the bus stop of Children's Palace (pinyin: shao nian gong; simplified Chinese: 少年宫)
Recommended route: entrance on Beishan Road near the bus stop of Geling Peak (pinyin: ge ling; simplified Chinese: 葛岭) → Baochu Pagoda → Geling Peak → Ziyun Cave (紫云洞) → Guapai Hill (挂牌山)
Wuyun Mountain 五云山
With an elevation of over 300 meters, Wuyun Mountain is the third largest mountain of the mountains around West Lake. According to legend, there used to five-colored clouds lingering on over the mountain, hence the name, Wuyun, which literally means five-colored clouds in Chinese. The mountain is situated in between Qiantang River and West Lake, so the area is characterized by ample moisture and large temperature difference between nighttime and the daytime, and under the effect of sunlight refraction, clouds present gorgeous colors.
Near the mountaintop, a bluestone ancient path is flanked by straight bamboo forests leading downwards to Longjing Tea Protection Area. Around tea gardens are grown over ten century-old camphor trees. Hike northwards from Wuyun Mountain and you will get to Shi Li Lang Dang (Langdang Peak, another famous hiking route in Hangzhou), from which you can get to Longjing Village and Upper Tianzhu.
Estimated hiking time: A one-way trip from the bus stop of Nine Creeks (pinyin: jiu xi; simplified Chinese: 九溪) to the mountain top is about 70 minutes and a round trip takes about two hours.
Transportation: Take bus 4, 39, 103, 189, 190, 202, 280, 287, 308, 314, 318, 324, 334, 439, 514, 595 or 597 to the bus stop of Nine Creeks.
Yuquan (Jade Spring) – Northern Peak 玉泉-北高峰
The route from Yuquan (Jade Spring), Laohe Hill to the Northern Peak is no stranger to students from Zhejiang University. It is a part of the route of Zhejiang University Trail Walk.
Starting from the Stele of Trail Walk, the initial part of the route is the hardest part and after that the path is smooth and the view is good. You can continue to hike if you have the strength.
The Northern Peak is only 300 meters high, but a lot of people mistake it for the highest mountain in Hangzhou.
Estimated hiking time: roughly one hour
Transportation: Take bus 79, 16, or 15 to the bus stop of Zhejiang University (pinyin: zhe da; simplified Chinese: 浙大)
Recommended route: Yuquan → Laohe Hill → Northern Peak