Full Moon over the Silver Pagodas
Hike the hills of Changping District and see the Silver Pagodas beneath the light of a full moon.
The route is one of our easier ones, but there’s still a bit of uphill and downhill walking. We’ll be in farmland where we don’t often run into people even during the day. At night, it should be all but empty. The glow of Beijing will be visible to the south, but there aren’t many big towns to the north, which means that the night time sky will be looking good!
We scheduled this hike to take advantage of the full moon, which will rise around about 6:50pm on the day of the hike, about twenty minutes after sunset. It’s going to be a ‘micro’ full moon, with the moon at its apogee. That means the Moon is at its point in its orbit that is farthest away from Earth.
- Bring a flashlight or headlamp, because it will be full dark before we finish the hike
- Bring something to eat for dinner during the drive out to the trailhead
- Bring some warm clothes to put on while we’re waiting for views of the Moon from the top of Silver Mountain
- Bring a flask of hot water and your cocoa/coffee/tea if you’d like to brew up a drink while we’re waiting up top.
This hike is a version of our Silver Pagodas hike that starts off with an easy walk out the back of Longevity Village, a tidy settlement in the Changping hills. It’s named Longevity Village because many of the villagers live to a ripe old age.
Walking out the back of the village we’ll get on to a trail that leads out into the hills, and will follow a dirt road out into the chestnut orchards in the hills.
The dirt road eventually peters out, but will lead us to 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!
On the way up there are plenty of spots to take a rest and enjoy the views, and there’s also a quick detour that will give us a look at an old quarry site. The mountains out here were the source of many of the rocks used to build the older houses in the village, and at the old quarry site we can see how those rocks were chipped out of the cliffs.
It will start getting darker as we climb up the valley, and we’ve (hopefully) timed it so we’re up on the park stairs before it gets really dark.
We’ll climb the park stairs 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 … and hopefully the full moon!.
From the top we’ll follow the park trail down to the pagodas, and then over a semi-secret hill trail to finish with a walk out through another larger village.
Bad weather plan
This hike will only be cancelled if rain (or thunder/lightning) is forecast for the evening. Otherwise we’re good to go,and fingers crossed for good views of the Moon. If there was a change to the plan we’d let you know.