Despite its reputation as a bustling metropolis, Shanghai also offers picturesque trails and parks that are ideal for a quick getaway from the urban chaos.
Here are some of the popular day treks.
Sheshan National Forest Park 佘山国家森林公园
Sheshan National Forest Park in the western suburb of Songjiang District can be called the Shanghai's backyard garden. It has 12 hills stretching over 13 kilometers from southwest to northeast. The park includes West Sheshan, East Sheshan, Tianmashan and Xiaokunshan parks.
Opening hours: May 1-October 7, 8:30am-5pm; October 8-April 30, 8:30am-4:30pm (no entry after 4pm)
West Sheshan Park 西佘山园
The Sheshan National Forest Park's largest park is West Sheshan Park. Its landscape and natural surroundings draw a large number of visitors. Its peak, at an elevation of 98.9 meters, offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
The "Far East's first church" is an imposing structure perched atop the hill. It is designed in Roman style. Entry is free.
The silver hemispherical structure next to it houses China's oldest astronomy observatory. There is a 12-yuan (US$1.66) entry fee.
How to get there: Take Metro Line 9 to Sheshan Station (佘山站). Transfer to Songjiang Bus No. 92 (松江92路) and get off at Sheshan Stop (佘山站). Enter from the north gate and exit from the east gate.
East Sheshan Park 东佘山园
With an elevation of 74 meters, East Sheshan Park has a wide variety of animal and plant species. The park is especially famous for its tasty bamboo shoots.
There are 368 steps leading to the summit.
Among the attractions are the Baishishan Pavilion (白石山亭), Meigong Angling Rock (眉公钓鱼矶) and the bamboo path.
How to get there: Take Metro Line 9 to Sheshan Station (佘山站). Transfer to Songjiang Bus No. 92 (松江92路) and get off at Forest Park Stop (森林公园站). Enter from the south gate and exit from the west gate.
Tianmashan Park 天马山公园
At 99.8 meters, Tianmashan Park is the highest point in Shanghai. It used to be a Buddhist center with palaces and temples.
The hilltop Huzhu Pagoda (护珠塔) is over 900 years old. It has a distinctive tilt, leaning 7.1 degrees, 1 degree more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, thus earning itself the title "No. 1 Leaning Tower in the World."
Admission: 10 yuan
How to get there: Take Metro Line 9 to Dongjing Station (洞泾站). Transfer to Songjiang Bus No. 96 (松江96路) and get off at Tianmashan Bus Station (天马山汽车站). Enter and exit from the east gate.
Xiaokunshan Park 小昆山园
Xiaokunshan stands at 53.6 meters above sea level and boasts two scenic peaks in the north and south. From a distance, the hill resembles the head of a cow lying down, earning the name "cow head mountain."
Admission: 6 yuan
How to get there: Take Metro Line 9 to Sheshan Station (佘山站). Transfer to Songjiang Bus No. 67 (松江67路) and get off at Kungang Highway Qinghe Street Stop (昆港公路清河街站). Enter and exit from the east gate.
Chenshan Hill 辰山
Chenshan stands tall at 69.8 meters. Its botanical garden is the largest in East China, with more than 10,000 living taxa.
Throughout the year, there are numerous flower shows showcasing seasonal blooms.
Opening hours: 8am-5pm
Admission: 60 yuan
How to get there: 1. Take Metro Line 9 to Dongjing Station (洞泾站) and transfer to Songjiang Bus No. 19 (松江19路) or Songjiang Bus 96 (松江96路).
2. Take Metro Line 9 to Sheshan Station (佘山站) and transfer to Songjiang Bus No. 95 (松江95路) or Songjiang Bus No. 67 (松江67路).
Yushan Hill 虞山
Yushan, at an elevation of 263 meters, near Yangcheng Lake (阳澄湖) is a popular hiking destination within a two-hour radius of Shanghai.
From the highest point Jianmen Gate (剑门), you can admire the Shanghu Lake (尚湖). Other attractions in the Yushan Hill Tourism Resort include the Xingfu Temple (兴福寺), Songfeng Pavilion (松风亭) and City Wall (城墙).
Hiking up is free with only a few scenic spots requiring tickets.
There are additional backpacker-recommended wild hiking pathways ranging from 5 kilometers to 13 kilometers starting from Qingya Tea House (清雅茶苑).
How to get there: Take a high-speed train from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Changshu Railway Station (常熟站). Then take a 10-kilometer taxi ride for 20 yuan.
What to bring on a hike
Pack according to the hike's length, difficulty and time.