On this outing we’ll walk the easier sections of two good countryside hikes on this day out in rural Beijing, and finish up with a big meal at a countryside restaurant.
We begin this hike not far from Xia Zhuang village, after following a road up past the local reservoir. The road is alternately sealed and sandy, passing through chestnut orchards. Low hills rise on either side of the road, with patches of flat pines scattered across the hillsides.
From the reservoir we continue heading in the direction of Dayang Shan, following the road as it winds up through rocky scrub-covered hills on the way to Lily Village. There are quite a few isolated houses along the way, with the locals industriously looking after their chestnut orchards and cabbage patches. Donkeys are still used for heavy work, but there are also a lot of three-wheeler motorbikes parked around, ready to carry a load of cabbage off to the market.
Following the road, Dayang Shan comes into view as we finish the gentle climb to the rim of the basin above Lily Village. The bottom of the basin is full of well-ordered chestnut trees, with pine trees and scrub on the surrounding hills.
From Lily Village we’ll follow a concrete road up a broad valley, passing through chestnut orchards and walking past a large reservoir. In winter, we often see people fishing through holes in the ice of the frozen reservoir – perhaps we'll be able to see if they've caught anything!
The sealed road ends at the reservoir, and we'll get on to some nice dirt tracks as we head further into the hills. After a while we’ll turn off the main path and head down a narrow gully, aiming for the dirt road that will take us past our favourite hot springs hotel.
We’re not stopping today, though – we’re heading on to the Silver Pagodas. It’s a short walk from the hot springs hotel to the beginning of our 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 shortcut over the hills to arrive at the site of the pagodas, following a paved trail in and out of valleys, up and down steps, and cutting a lot of distance off our regular route.
Religious use of the site of the Silver Pagodas 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 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)