One of the more popular hikes in the immediate Kunming area, situated just off of Lonquan Lu, right behind Xuning Temple (虚宁寺). Nice, gradual dirt path for the first few kilometers, followed by a paved pathway to the summit. Great views of Kunming all the way to Dianchi on a clear day.
+- 540 meters +- 1,770 feet
Wide Dirt, then concrete; Loop
This is a pretty well-trafficked trail, popular with families, trail-runners, and mountain bikers alike, so there are normally enough people to help direct you if you aren't sure which way to go.
Starting from Xuning Temple--which is worth a visit in itself--take the small dirt road left (south of the temple itself) towards the back of the temple. After about 500 meters, the path forks to the right (the left-hand fork is where you will come back, but you can take this way as well for a faster route to the summit). After 100 meters the trail then switchbacks and begins climbing North/Northeast for 400 meters before turning sharply to the West. It continues gradually climbing for a little more than half a kilometer, then turns back to the North. It keeps gradually climbing for almost a kilometer, still as a wide dirt path.
The trail begins descending slightly through fields and old quarries for about .8 km. The dirt path then ends, and you join an asphalt road, a parking lot, bathrooms, snack stalls, and a miniature fake stone forest replica. If you want to skip the first 3 kilometers of the hike you can drive up to this point (coordinates: 25° 7'49.30"N, 102°42'23.57"E), entering from a different point further north on Longquan Lu, but the road is not friendly to e-bikes! The trail is also concrete/paved, and a bit more crowded, from this point on.
Continue through the fake stone forest and climb the steps up towards the cobble pathway through the real forest above, turning south. This is a pleasant section with nice views down towards Northern Kunming, but the path has numerous forks so be careful not to get turned around. There is a small concrete road adjacent to the pathway, keep heading south and you will be fine.
This section of trail continues for another kilometer or so, meandering uphill through the forest and hugging a ridge-line that provides good views towards the East. Then, the path joins the road, and as of the last time we hiked this the only real option from here on out was to walk along the road. This can be pretty hot in mid-day as there is no tree cover, but the views are nice and the landscape is striking. Walk along this for about a kilometer until you come to a small parking lot with a couple more food and drink stands. This is as far as cars can go.
The last 500 meters is a short slog up a concrete footpath up to the summit! Head to the other side of the concrete wall, find a nice rock to sit on, and enjoy the views to the south. There is a wooden shelter a bit below the summit that would be a suitable place to spend the night, but as yet we haven't tried it (and it likely is not allowed).
There are numerous options for descending (returning the way you came, driving down, or even some southern or western descents we haven't explored), but we decided to take the more direct path down the east face of the summit and make it a loop. From the wooden shelter or above, head east down one of a few smaller pathways until you find the main path that descends steeply down the mountain. This is steep, and it would be treacherous if the path were even a little bit wet, so be wary after rains and consider going down a different way if it seems sketchy.
Keep descending steeply through the forest for a little more than a kilometer. You should then reach a fork. Take a left there, and after 150 meters you'll drop down onto a dirt road (if you take a right at the fork, you will still reach the same road, just further away :)). Follow this road for a little more than 500 meters until it rejoins the initial fork from the beginning of the trail. Another 500 meters and you're back at the temple!
Getting to the Trail Head
The trailhead is located at Xuning Temple (虚宁寺) off of Lonquan Lu in North Kunming. The temple is found easily on Baidu Maps, but we've laid out some information for you below：
Baidu Maps: https://j.map.baidu.com/c7/eEA
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/LgJZNXX6UzZSqHdD8
GPS Coordinates: 25° 6'37.89"N; 102°42'44.48"E (25.110525, 102.712355)
Bus Stop: 沙坝营 Shabaying; Bus Routes 9, 84, 115