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Silver Pagoda Loop

In Brief: Follow a trail through the Changping countryside, passing villages, quarries, and a local shrine on the way to the Silver Pagodas, a set of five well-preserved 600-year-old pagodas that are all that remains of a big Buddhist temple.

Silver Pagoda Loop | The Silver Pagodas stand on the site of a temple first built during the Tang Dynasty

The Silver Pagodas stand on the site of a temple first built during the Tang Dynasty.

Key information

  • 400 RMB (360 RMB for members)
  • 8:30am departure from Lido Hotel Starbucks; Liangmaqiao subway area pickup at 8:00am. Back in Beijing around 5pm. (Find the meeting points)
  • 3–4 hours start to finish over 10km.
  • Snacks and drinks provided after the hike.

This hike is mostly flat, but there’s one tough climb right at the end that will give your legs and lungs a good workout, particularly if you’re not used to climbing in the hills.

We start off with a walk through a small village, stopping for a quick look at a 300-year-old performance stage and a temple. The houses in the village are mostly built from granite – likely sourced from a nearby quarry. After walking through the village we’ll follow a slowly ascending path through the countryside, passing an isolated shrine, fields, and concrete water reservoirs as we circle Silver Mountain.

The path takes us into a small village on the other side of the ridge, and we’ll follow dirt streets through its outskirts, walking past donkeys and old stone houses on the way to the chestnut orchards behind the village.

An ancient pine tree and a shrine to Zhong Kui, sited on a small hill
An ancient pine tree and a shrine to Zhong Kui, sited on a small hill. (Click for larger image)

Around the hill behind the village we’ll find what’s called the “Valley of Mercy”, and this is where the path starts to get a lot steeper, heading past more quarries and following a hillside trail up to the top of Holly Mountain. The valley is not too merciful to the legs. It’s quite a good climb!

Towards the top we’ll find the Silver Pagoda park trail, and climb its steps to the viewing platform at the top. We can look down on the pagodas from there, and will have an unobstructed 360° view of the surrounding mountain peaks and countryside.

From the top we’ll follow the park trail down to the pagodas, passing “North Beijing’s Number One Waterfall” and many other local landmarks. There are two big bells in the park and we will pass by one of them – it’s quite common to hear them toll as we walk.

The site dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), with the pagodas built in the 1400’s. The silver bells of the pagodas used to ring in the breeze, and are the source of the name of this peaceful spot. The temples are long gone, burned during war.

After we’re done looking about the pagodas, we’ll follow a nice trail through the hills to get back to the little village where we started the hike.

What to bring on this hike

Reasons you might not enjoy this hike

  • The hike is mostly flat, except for the last climb up to the top of the mountain behind the pagodas. It’s pretty steep!

There are risks involved in hiking. Please read our Risk Acknowledgment and Waiver and inform yourself before participating.

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Level3

Level of difficulty

Level 3 hikes are the type we do most often. Level 3 hikes will take around 3 hours, and can be either reasonably easy, or challenging, depending on how often you exercise.

Is the level of difficulty suitable for me?

Hike statistics

  • Distance: 10km
  • Time to complete: 3–4 hours
  • Total ascent: 520m
  • Total descent: 485m
  • Start height: 337m
  • Peak: 720m
  • Finish height: 373m
  • Location: Changping
  • Drive time: 2 hours each way

Hikes in Beijing

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