Solitary Hill, as the name implies, is a lone hill that can be found at the northwestern corner of West Lake. The hill rises 38 meters (around 125 feet) above sea level and measures about 300 mu or almost 50 acres in size. Compared to the other hills that surround the lake, the Solitary Hill actually has the lowest summit. However, it is considered as the biggest of the islands there, and is also the only natural island. This is what makes it a great scenic spot.
Solitary Hill is called as such because it is completely surrounded by water. It is also sometimes called the Solitary Island. However, aside from its unique position, the island also has several other characteristics. For example, the hill is a thriving ground for flourishing plum blossoms, which is why it is also sometimes called the Plum Blossom Island.
Things to do
It is a unique experience to be standing on the Solitary Hill, as you will be completely surrounded by water. But being on the hill does give you a great vantage point from which you could admire the beautiful landscapes that surround it. Since it is the lowest of the mountains in the area, you will see huge lush mountains looming before you. On the eastern part, you will also see the Bai Causeway, and on the west, a quaint view of the Xiling Bridge. On the south, you will catch a glimpse of the Outer West Lake, and on the north, the Inner West Lake will greet you. Indeed, Solitary Hill is considered as one of the best places to go to take in the beauty of West Lake itself.
If you come at the right time, you will also be treated to the ‘Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake’, one of the ten famous scenes of the West Lake. This scene is usually formed along the boundary between Solitary Hill and Bai Causeway.
While there, you will also find a lot of cultural relics to marvel at. Most of them are collected inside the Zhejiang Museum, which lies at the southern foot of the hill. The Wen Lan Pavilion is another popular spot on the hill; it especially attracts lots of literati. The middle of the hill holds the Zhongshan Park, another great place to spend a relaxing afternoon in. The park is believed to have been built on the same site where the Qing Dynasty’s imperial garden once stood. The park was opened in 1927 in commemoration of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the proclaimed leader of the Xinhai Revolution, which took place in 1911.
Moving towards the west, guests are also greeted by the Fang He Pavilion, which is closely tied to the story of the Plum Wife and Crane Son. There you will also find the grave of Qiu Jin, a known female revolutionary who died towards the end of the Qing Dynasty.
Those who visit the Solitary Hill must also take a pilgrimage to the top of the hill, where the Xiling Seal Society can be found. This entire area is dedicated to the study and preservation of ancient Chinese seals.
Due to its unique position, the hill also offers another great sight. Since the water under the hill is the natural habitat of large groups of fish, there is a wooden platform there from which you can see the fish. This platform is called the ‘Platform for Watching Fish’, while the home of the fish who live there is often called the ‘Fish Kingdom’.