Zhonghe Temple

Zhonhe Temple
The temple is a long, steep hike up the mountainside behind Dali. This is a great day trip and offers fantastic vistas of Dali and Erhai Lake. You can take a new chairlift up Mount Zhonghe.

You could also hike up the hill, a sweet hour for those in relatively good shape. No one path leads directly up the hill; instead, oodles of local paths wind and switchback through farm fields, local cemeteries, and even one off-limits military area. Walk about 200 m north of the chairlift base to the riverbed. Follow the left bank for about 50 m and you'll see lots of ribbons trails leading up. Basically, all roads start from here, just keep the chairlift in sight and when in doubt, bear left. You should eventually come upon a well-worn trail and, following that, some steps near the top.

Branching out from either side of the temple is a trail that winds along the face of the mountains, taking you in and out of steep, lush valleys and past streams and waterfalls. From Zhonghe it's an amazing 11 km up-and-down hike south to Gantong Temple or Qingbi Stream, from where you can continue to the road.