Hiking Around the West Lake in Spring

These days, and since the weather has started to warm up, hikers can be seen everywhere in the mountains around the West Lake. Climbing to the top of the mountain and overlooking the West Lake, from afar, is something you simply must experience for yourself.

Watching the Sunrise on the Mountaintop

Route: South gate of Jianpao Villa (坚匏别墅) – Baochu PagodaPrecious Stone Hill Floating in Rosy Clouds  – Hama Peak (蛤蟆峰)
Difficulty: ★

Only 800 meters to the top, it’s not a long distance and there are easy starting and ending points. It is the most suitable one for beginners.
Hama (Toad) Peak is the best place for admiring the sunrise of the West Lake where you can overlook the West Lake agreeably. Generally, you should arrive there before 5 a.m., otherwise, you won’t get a nice position. There are path lamps on the Precious Stone Hill, by and large, which make it safe to climb onto the top before dawn, however, safety should still be paid attention to.

Looking for Southern Song Dynasty’s Relics

Route: Eight-Diagram Field – Shilong Cave (石龙洞) – Qiyun Temple (栖云寺) – Fenghuang Pavilion (凤凰亭) – Yunju Hill (云居山) – Chenghuang Hill (城隍山) – Wushan Square
Difficulty: ★★

It is more than 8 kilometers to the top and takes about 3.5 hours to complete.
This route has the richest cultural heritage along which you’ll see diverse historical sites. For instance, on the way downhill from the Phoenix Pavilion, you should see the Western Trinity Statues of Shengguo Temple beside the mountain path, which is the biggest set among the West Lake’s grotto statuary that was excavated during the late Liang Dynasty period. Not far from there are the statues of the Eighteen Disciples. Hiding in the mountain forest, many historical relics are quite easy to be missed if you’re not careful.

The Most Beautiful Crest Line

Route: Fengshui Cave (风水洞) – Xishan Hill (西山) – Niubei Hill (牛背岭) – Shi Men Wu (石门坞) – Goutou (狗头山) Hill – Ye Shan Tou (野山头) – Ruyi Peak (如意尖) – Shuangling Village (双岭村)

Difficulty: ★★★

It is about 12 kilometers all the way and takes about 5 hours for experienced hikers, therefore stamina is required but it’s also worth a try.
Ruyi Peak, 536 meters high in altitude, is the highest hill in Hangzhou’s city proper. It has quite an original ecology and unique landscape. At the end of March, you can see azaleas blooming there. It is also called “the most beautiful crest line among the West Lake’s mountains”. Ruyi Pavilion on the peak is a viewing platform with a pretty-wide sphere of vision that allows you, weather permitting, to see the West Lake in the west and the Qiantang River in the east. In May, the whole mountain is covered by wild raspberries.

River, Bamboo and Tea Mix Trip

Route: Pagoda of Six Harmonies – Tou Long Tou (头龙头) – Linhai Pavilion (林海亭) – Wuyun Hill (五云山) – Bamboo Lined-Path at Yunxi – Baile Bridge (白乐桥) – Jade Emperor Hill – Eight-Diagram Field
Difficulty: ★★★★★

It is about 42 kilometers to the top, so we don’t recommend inexperienced hikers to give it a try.
As you start to ascend, you’ll soon see the Qiantang River from afar. There are also many other places to admire Qiantang River along the way. The middle section of the route features bamboo and tea. Although it’s not far from the city proper, it’s quiet and the air is fresh. In the latter section keep an eye out for Southern Song Dynasty’s relics, such as Jade Emperor Hill, Eight-Diagram Field and so on.

If you’re a tea lover as well as a hiking fan, then this route is worth the travel time. Both Meijiawu Village and Longjing Village, on this route, have tea gardens in every family. You could stop to sample country-style dishes, whilst sipping a cup of the finest local tea.