After months of cold, blustery Beijing winter weather, spring is right around the corner. And while it may still feel a bit cool for my taste, when a friend invited me to join her and her aunt to visit the Yin Shan Pagoda Forest, aka Silver Mountain Pagoda Forest, I readily accepted. Then I asked what it was. That’s how bad I wanted to get out of town.
As it turns out, I had seen plenty of photos of the pagodas before, I just didn’t realize how close to Beijing they were. The mountains, forest, and pagodas are about an hour out of Beijing by car and when we arrived at 11am, the parking lot was nearly empty. Though snow was still on the ground in places and the wind was chilly, it was still above freezing and the sun felt great. After hiking up the stairs for less than an hour, I was rewarded with a 180-degree view of the valley below. Had I the time and energy, I could have climbed to a higher peak which would have afforded an even more impressive view, but I didn’t want to keep my friends waiting too long as they had opted not to climb the mountain.
Although the air will get warmer and the trees will bloom in the next month or so, I think now is a great time to get out and visit Silver Mountain Pagoda Forest, especially on a weekday. The entire time I was on the Mountain, I only saw two other people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-people, but the chance to walk in the woods with only the rustling of the leaves, fresh air, and trees for company was a welcome change from the crowded streets of Beijing.
For in depth details about hours, directions and even the bus route check out this story from 2010 here and then head for the hills before the rest of Beijing does.