Beijing is edged on three sides by low mountains that were, in ancient times, favorites sites of summer retreat and religious endeavor. Many of these temples, pagodas and caves are now open to the public.
Guoya Mountain, to the north of Beijing. Three of its original 72 temples remain.
Shangfang Mountain, near Dafang Mountain. Temples from the Han Dynasty and Yunsi Grotto make this an interesting place to visit.
Shijing Mountain, to the west of Beijing. There is a Tang Dynasty pagoda and stone tablets inscribed with Buddhist sculptures that date from the Sui to Ming dynasties.
Danan Mountain, Shihua (Stone Flower) Cave, a natural karst wonder, houses 10 stone Buddhas at the foot of the mountain.
East Lingshan Mountain, in the Mentougou District, is the highest peak in the Beijing area. Pine, birch, linden and more than 500 kinds of shrubs and herbaceous plants cover the mountain. Lingshan Mountain is especially beautiful in the autumn when the leaves begin to change and all becomes a festival of color.
Songshan Forest Park is the secondary forest under the state protection. The main attractions in gorge and the Songshan hot spring. The jot spring, known as Tangzimiao, has healed the aches and pains of Chinese from as early ago. Today there are three hot Spring pools, covering 120 square meters, for up to bathers at once.
Baihuashan Park, in the area of Fangshan County and Mentougou District, 50 kilometers from the city proper, boasts the third highest peak in the Beijing area. It is an ideal spot for sightseeing or a cool retreat on a hot day.