West Lake is framed by rolling hills on three sides, which are the extended ridge of Tianmu Mountain Range. Tianzhu Hill, the king of them all, stands majestically as a landmark differentiating the hills in the northern part from those in the southern part.
Interestingly, these mountain hills present four distinct layers: The first layer is composed of Solitary Hill, Dingjia Hill and Xizhao Hill, all of them having an elevation below 50m. Hills elevated from 50m to 150m constitute the second layer, while the third layer comprises the hills with a 150m to 250m elevation.Finally, the higher hills elevated between 250m to 400m form the fourth layer.
According to the properties of rocks, the hills around West Lake split into two kinds: the first, second and third layer featuring fragile rocks and sprawling slopes, belong to the first kind, while the fourth layer with hard rocks, soaring peaks and deep valleys belongs to the second kind.
For over two thousand years, the hills along West Lake have been the home of wildlife, scholars and monks. This eclectic combination has resulted in countless temples and monasteries dedicated to Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism; every one of them co-existing in unity and blending harmoniously into the unspoiled landscape.