The Twin Peaks, namely the South Peak and the North Peak, are situated respectively to the southwest and northwest of the West Lake. The South Peak near the West Lake has an altitude of 257 meters and the North Peak where the Lingyin Temple is located 314 meters. They mirror each other across a distance of over five kilometers.
According to historical records, the scene was once only visible from over the Lake; it became observable on land during the early Qing dynasty (before 1722 AD) when a pavilion was erected for a better view of it. The scene varies with the weather and the time of the day. On foggy days, for instance, the two peaks’ tips will emerge above the clouds like they have pierced through them with their towering steepness. While on rainy or cloudy days, the Peaks will either mingle with or get wrapped in the mercurial clouds which change frequently in color and shape. As it becomes hard to tell the hills from the clouds, a view of misty beauty forms and the splendor of a Chinese scroll painting unfolds.