West Lake Hiking
West Lake, in East China's Hangzhou city, is renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in China. The lake is surrounded by mountians on three sides, and borders on Hangzhou city on the other side. The Su Di (Su Bank) and the Bai Di (Bai Bank) divide the lake's surface into five sub-lakes: Li Lake, Wai Lake, Yue Lake, Xili Lake and Xiaonan Lake, each of which possesses its own beauty and charm. There are many historical sites on shores of the lake. Travelers can choose to take a boat cruise on the lake, or walking around the lake to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Below are the most famous hiking ways around West Lake.
Hike from the South Line (South Hill Road)
Route One: Yongjin Pool—Yongjin Pavilion—King Qian's Temple—Royal Pier—Listening to Orioles Singing in the Willows —Bachelor Bridge—Long Bridge—Double Cast Bridge.
The spectacular Yongjin Pavilion, the weeping willow at the Orioles Singing in the Willows, the solemn nature of King Qian’s Temple, and the love stories of the Long Bridge and Double Cast Bridge all make West Lake a region full of mystery.
King Qian’s Temple: The statues of five kings are enshrined in King Qian’s Temple. On the door of the temple hangs a board with three Chinese characters that mean Benefaction Temple. Hours of Operation: from 8:00 to 17:00
Long Bridge: It is believed that the Long Bridge is where Miss Zhu Yingtai and Mr. Liang Shanbo met. Since then, the bridge has witnessed many love stories, and it is also one of the three lover bridges in West Lake.
Route Two: Net Keats Temple—Leifeng Pagoda—Wang Village—Zhang Taiyan Memorial—Su Dongpo Memorial—Prince Bay Park—Viewing Fish and Lotus Fronds at Flower Pond.
Tourists travelling on this route can visit the Net Keats Temple and listen to the bell ring on the Nanping. The beautiful sunset scenery at Leifeng Pagoda, the natural attractiveness of Prince Bay, the exhibition of Su Dongpo’s paintings and calligraphy, and the garden art at Huagangguanyu also are good attractions for visitors.
Leifeng Pagoda: Built in 977, King Qian Hongshu built the pagoda to celebrate the birth of a baby by his concubine Huang. The pagoda was called Huangfei Tower, named after a mountain. Sunset is the best time for tourists to visit. Hours of Operation: from 7:30 to 0:30.
Su Dongpo Memorial: The Memorial includes a main exhibition hall, a tablets hall, Baipo Pavilion, and Leiyue Pavilion. Collections on the first floor mainly provide a brief introduction of Su Dongpo. On the second floor are exhibitions of Su Dongpo’s paintings and calligraphy.
Hike from the West Line (Yanggong Causeway)
Route: Bath Gue Bay—The Turtle Pond—Maojiapu—Hangzhou Flower Nursery—Guo Village—Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard —Hangzhou Botanical Garden.
Visitors can enjoy the pure, natural beauty at Yanggongdi. This is also a good choice for those who want to enjoy the peace and serenity at West Lake.
Maojiapu is a village of pure South China style. The village has many mulberry bushes and trees, creating a natural water pastoral scene in Jiangsu Province.
Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard: Once a wine workshop during 1127–1279, people later planted lotus flowers at the back of the courtyard. The Courtyard was famous for the beautiful lotus and aroma wine and has become one of the most favorite scenic spots at West Lake.
Hike from the North Line (North Hill Road)
Route One: Yuewang Temple—Mucai Pavilion—Circles Home—Solitary Cloud Cottage—The Buddha Home—Site of West Lake Expo Industrial Pavilion—Shenglu—Baoqing Villa—Jingyi Villa—Jiankua Villa
The circled north road and ancient city walls demonstrate an elegant status and rich culture. Here, visitors can feel the history of Hangzhou city.
Yuewang Temple: Yuewang Temple was built in 1221 to memorize Yuefei, and includes the Zhonglie Shrine, the Qizhong Shrine, and Yuefei Cemetery. Hours of Operation: from 7:30 to 17:30
Circles Home: Shi Liangcai, general manager of Shen Newspaper, built this home for his second wife, Mrs.
Shen Qiushui. The Circles Home was designed to reflect both Chinese and foreign architectural styles.
Route Two: Xiling Bridge—Qiu Jin Tomb—Xiling Seal Club—Zhongshan Park—Zhejiang Museum—The Autumn Moon Over the Calm Lake—Melting Snow at Broken Bridge.
Gushan is famous for its scenic beauty by the lake and its rich culture. Xitaiyi Palace existed here during the South Song Dynasty, and was subsequently renamed Shengyin Temple.
Melting Snow at Broken Bridge: The Broken Bridge is believed to be where XuXian and Lady White met. Winter is the best time to visit here, especially during the snow.
Xiling Seal Club is a famous academic community founded in 1904. It was known as the best academic community in China. People at Xiling Seal Club mainly devote themselves to the study of sculptures, seals, and paintings.
West Lake Circle Trail
The Children’s Palace—Bai Causeway—Su Causeway—South Hill Road—Hupao Road—Xiao Tianzhu—Tou Longtou—Noble Pavilion—South of the Peak—China National Tea Museum—Shili Danglang—Bamboo Lined Path at Yunqi—Outside Bridge—Baizi Point—Stone People Pavilion—North of the Peak—Zhejiang University (Laohe Mountain). The entire route is about 85 li, or 42.5 kilometers.
Part one: The Children's Palace—Xiao Tianzhu (about 7.5 kilometers).
The Children’s Palace—Broken Bridge—Bai Causeway—Su Causeway—South Hill Road—Hupao Road—Xiao Tianzhu
Most of this part of the route is an urban road. Tourists can enjoy the essence of the West Lake scenic area. Starting from the Children’s Palace, walk toward the west side and reach the Broken Bridge. Walk through the Bai Causeway, then walk along West Lake to the Su Causeway. Walk toward the west side to Hupao Road. Xiao Tianzhu is 300 meters from the Pupao Park.
Part two: Xiao Tianzhu—China National Tea Museum (around 5 kilometers)
Xiao Tianzhu—Tou Longtou—Horses Hills—Hupao Mountain—Shangman Juelong—Water Music Cave—South of the Peak—Zhejiang Hotel—China National Tea Museum
This part of the journey is mixed with mountain trails and stone steps. On the left of the entrance to Pearl Dock at Xiao Tianzhu is a small path. Go along this road and turn right at each fork. After finding the stone steps, follow the instruction board. A gravel road is at Hupao Mountain, 200 meters from the Nobel Pavilion. Walk along this road and go left to go to Shangman Juelong. Go downhill to the entrance to the Water Music Cave, then climb the mountain by following the stone steps. Follow the instruction board and reach Pinwang Pavilion at South of the Peak. Then go along the road and reach Zhejiang Hotel. Go across the road to the entrance to the China National Tea Museum.
Part three: China National Tea Museum -- Bamboo Lined Path at Yunqi (around 10 kilometers). China National Tea Museum—Jingqing Mountain—Tianma Mountain—Qipan Hill—Yangfeng Mountain—Lion Peak—Liaowang Pavilion—Wanlin Beishan—Five Yunshan—Bamboo Lined Path at Yunqi
This part of the journey is on a road made of stone steps, and is a very popular tourist route. Go along the stone steps road and follow the stone instruction board. It is easy to reach the gate to the Bamboo Lined Path at Yunqi. An old poem describes this part of journey: “The meandering path in the forests leads to a secret place. Girls in the tea garden are busy picking tea. Walking on the road surrounded with bamboo seas to find ancient sites, the spot Shili Tanglang suddenly shows up at the distance.”
Part four: Bamboo Lined Path at Yunqi—Stone People Pavilion (around 10 kilometers). Bamboo Lined Path at Yunqi—Outside Bridge—Dingjia Mountain—Yanjia Mountain—Bamboo Mountain—Lion Cage—Stone People Pavilion.
This part of the journey takes place on kind of a mountain road mixed with a gravel road. Walk across the road on the left of the entrance to the Bamboo Lined Path at Yunqi and reach the gate of the Outside Bridge. Turn right at the bridge and walk along the road to reach the Stone People Pavilion.
Part five: Stone People Pavilion-- Zhejiang University (Laohe Mountain) (around 10 kilometers). Stone People Pavilion—Longmen Mountain—Beauty Peak—North of the Peak—Zhuangyuan Peak—General Mountain—Zhejiang University.
This part of the journey is a mix of a mountain road and a gravel road. Walk along the ridge to get to General Mountain. Go down along the road on the right side to Zhejiang University.
Another pupolar hiking trail in Hangzhou is to hiking along the Beijing-Hangzhou Great Canal. Hangzhou is located at the south of Hangzhou Grand Canal. Visitors can also take a hike around the Hangzhou Grand Canal and experience its civic lifestyle. Hiking trail for reference: Small Succession Bridge—Canal Museum—Qingsha Park—Site of Fuyicang—Royal Pier—Moon Night at Jia City—Hou Shengjia—Xinyifang—Scissors Museum—Creek Straight Street—Sanglu—Gongchen Bridge—West Canal
I updated this article on May 2, 2012
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