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

Silver Pagoda Loop

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. Includes a post-hike lunch at a countryside restaurant.

Level 3
Mostly easy, with an extended climb to the viewpoint at the peak of the mountain. 3–4 hours start to finish over 10km. (Can I do it?)

This hike is not currently scheduled

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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.

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)

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.

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 the Bell Pavilion, the Waist-Turning Pagoda, the Preaching Platform, and other spots used by the monks and nuns when the temple was still active.

The temple 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 finish the hike.

COVID-19 and participation precautions

The current precautions are minimal. Please read in full here: Operating hikes under COVID-19 precautions

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Photos and trip reports: Silver Pagoda Loop

  1. Silver Pagoda Loop, 2024/03/31

    Silver Pagoda Loop, 2024/03/31

    The wild cherry and peach flowers were all out as we hiked around Silver Mountain on the way to the pagodas—see 23 photos.
  2. Silver Pagoda Loop, 2019/12/01

    Silver Pagoda Loop, 2019/12/01

    The Silver Pagoda Loop hike is in an area that is typically very quiet and empty, and we were the first to blaze a trail through the new snow for much of this walk—see 23 photos.
  3. Silver Pagoda Loop, 2019/03/31

    Silver Pagoda Loop, 2019/03/31

    On this hike to the Silver Pagodas we saw patches of blossoms and blooms in the bare hills—see 23 photos from villages, field trails,and the pagodas.
  4. Silver Pagoda Loop, 2018/12/09

    Silver Pagoda Loop, 2018/12/09

    See 14 photos from the Silver Pagoda Loop—a village visit, a shrine by an ancient pine tree, views from the peak of Silver Mountain, plus the pagodas.
  5. Silver Pagoda Loop, 2018/09/02

    Silver Pagoda Loop, 2018/09/02

    We did the hike around the Silver Pagodas on a drizzly and misty day—see 15 photos from the pagodas and surrounding countryside.
  6. Silver Pagoda Loop hike, 2016/12/04

    Silver Pagoda Loop hike, 2016/12/04

    See 14 photos from our Silver Pagoda Loop hike, a stroll through the countryside that passes by the serene site of the Silver Mountain Pagoda Forest.

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