Western Hills Forest Park to the ‘Hanging Armour’ Tower
An A-to-B hike in the Xishan and Xiangshan area that follows forest paths, fire-break roads, and park trails around and over hills and tops.
This hike is one we started doing while almost everywhere else was closed. At the beginning we thought it might not quite be the sort of trail we usually go for, but it's actually a pretty good ramble and the views from the high parts are especially nice. And we’re hoping the hills will be extra especially nice as the autumn colours start to show.
We start off at the Western Hills Forest Park and hike the park paths up into the hills, aiming for the ‘Laughing Ghost’ rock outcrops right at the top. There are a few different ways to get up to the top, and on this visit we're going to take the take the longer route up the concrete road instead of the super-steep stairs.
The longer track goes past some of the pools in the lower part of the park, and then slowly climbs through pine forests on the way to the high ridgeline.
The ‘Laughing Ghost’ rock outcrops are the highest point in the park. From up top we’ll have views back towards Beijing, and sharp eyes will spot Fragrant Hills, the Summer Palace, and Beijing’s CBD area off in the distance.
After ducking under a small fence to get out of the park area, we’ll hike for 30-40 minutes down narrow dirt trails to the Nanmu Farm Reservoir and stop there for a lunch break.
From the reservoir we head up into the hills again, aiming for the ‘Hanging Armour’ Tower. There are a few different ways to hike over there, and we’ll choose either the short-ish but steep climb up a big hill, or a more relaxed ascent on a fire break road. Both options take us over the hill and down to the ‘Hanging Armour’ Tower, which we’ll take a look at before hiking out to the end.