Our Flower Wood hike takes us along a trail that connects two villages in the hills of Huairou, passing orchards, fields, reservoirs, grindstones, and sometimes donkeys!
We’ll make it a little longer by adding on a semi-secret trail that will get us to the Silver Pagodas, a temple site that dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD). The pagodas were built in the 1400’s and are still there; the temples are long gone, burned during war.
The hike starts off mostly flat, but there’s a bit of hill-climbing to do near the middle. The first climb is the toughest; after that it’s much easier – a nice day out in the countryside that’s not too tough.
Flower Wood is a small roadside settlement, and we’ll start the hike with a stroll through its narrow streets. At the back of the village, a bridge crosses a dried riverbed, and a trail leads through the fields, heading for the hills.
The trail was made by villagers to make it easier to transport produce from the orchards in the hills. To begin with, it was a narrow dirt path; since then it’s gradually widened to allow the little blue three-wheeler trucks to get in. We’ll follow the trail up a long valley, walking through all the chestnut orchards on the way to the hill trail that will take us over the ridge.
The climb up and over the ridge is the toughest part of today’s hike, a climb of approximately 200m over 1.5km of trail. As well as being a decent climb, it’s also a little bushy!
At the top of the hill is one of the main landmarks of the hike: an old, old pine tree, alongside a recently-built shrine. We’ll take a break here before continuing on to Lily Village.
The countryside around Lily Village is quite similar to that around Flower Wood, but the hills are much smaller. We’ll follow narrow dirt trails through more orchards on the way down to the village road.
From the village we’ll follow a concrete road up a broad valley, passing a large reservoir. After a while we’ll turn off the main road and head down a narrow gully, aiming for the dirt road that will take us to the start of the Silver Pagodas hike.
We’ll walk into the village where that hike begins, carefully crossing the main road on the way, and take a look at their opera stage and the closed temple. We’ll then take a scenic shortcut over the hills to arrive at the Silver Pagodas, cutting off a lot of distance from our regular route.
After a good look about the pagodas, we’ll move on to a local restaurant for a big meal before heading back to the city.
What to bring on this hike
- Snacks to eat
- Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
- A bottle of sports drink with salt content (Gatorade, Pocari Sweat)
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)