Fairytale Autumn in Mountains in Beijing | Fragrant Hills


Currently, Beijing is experiencing the most beautiful scenery of the year, with various species of colorful leaves such as cotinus coggygria, ginkgo, metasequoia and European ash entering their best viewing period one after another. The red leaf festivals in various scenic areas have also begun, with mountains covered in red and forests dyed in various colors.

Fragrant Hills

The red leaves in Beijing's Xiangshan (Fragrant Hills) Park are reaching their peak. The two "message trees" in front of the Qianzheng Palace, the Shantung Maple trees, are changing color, while the tranquil Jingcui Lake has already embraced the atmosphere of late autumn. In about one week, the red leaves of Fragrant Hills will enter their best viewing period.

According to past experience, October 21st, 22nd, 28th, 29th, and November 4th, 5th will be the peak periods for tourists. The park recommends that visitors try to choose weekdays (Monday to Thursday) to visit the park. Tickets can be purchased in advance through the official WeChat public account for a more convenient entry, or tickets can be purchased on-site at the park entrance. Annual passes can be used as usual. If only weekends are available, it is also recommended to avoid the relatively busy period from 8:00 to 15:00. Additionally, it is advised to choose green transportation options such as public transportation.

In recent years, to provide residents and tourists with a higher-quality ecological landscape experience, Fragrant Hills Park has continuously enhanced its colorful landscaping by scientifically selecting "colorful leaf tree species." Each year, over 3,000 Chinese sweet gum trees are planted, and more than 1,000 trees of 20 varieties of colorful leaf trees, including Red Maple and Liquidambar formosana, have been introduced around the foothills and the southern mountain. Coupled with over 5,800 ancient and famous trees, it has gradually created a diverse and integrated landscape with Chinese sweet gum as the main red-leaf tree species, complemented by colorful leaf plants like Red Maple, Golden rain Tree, and Groundcover plants.

These plants have undergone changes due to temperature differences between day and night, with their leaves gradually changing color. The entire park is now adorned with a vibrant mix of green, yellow, and red leaves, resembling a colorful mountain forest painting from a distance.

Currently, the average index of red leaf color change in Fragrant Hills Park is 12%, which is 7% lower compared to the same period in previous years, indicating a delay of 5-6 days. The areas with the highest color change rate are around 400 meters above sea level in the southern foothills. With an expected drop in temperature next week, it is predicted that the autumn leaves will change color more rapidly, heralding the peak viewing period, which could extend into early November, depending on weather conditions. 

Five "Autumn Appreciation Routes" offer unique attractions:

"Double Red Route" 

This route visits the eight historical revolutionary sites in the southern mountain area of Fragrant Hills. It allows visitors to explore the historical chapters of the older generation of revolutionaries who worked tirelessly to build and establish New China on Fragrant Hills. Along the way, they can also enjoy the red leaves of Fragrant Hills, making it a "Double Red" journey.

"Ancient Architecture Route" 

This route includes hiking to Fragrant Hills Temple, Yuxiang Pavilion, Xiyang Pavilion, and Yunchao Pavilion in the southern mountain area. Visitors will be surrounded by red-leaf forests, and they can appreciate the classical garden atmosphere in these ancient structures. It also provides the opportunity to enjoy the newly reopened "Twenty-Eight Scenic Spots of Jinyi Garden" at Yuxiang Pavilion and Xiyang Pavilion.

"Climbing Route" 

This traditional climbing route takes visitors to places like Yuhuaxiu and Xiangwuku in the central area, allowing for a brief rest. It provides distant views of the splendid red leaves in the northern mountain area. As visitors make a turn at the halfway point to the "Ladder to the Sky" route, they can experience the even more vibrant hues of red leaves in the north mountain, which is exposed to direct sunlight.

"Aerial Route" 

Visitors can easily reach the mountaintop by taking the Fragrant Hills Cable Car for an 18-minute ride. Along the way, they can enjoy magnificent views of the Biyun Temple to the north and the beautiful red-leaf forest area in the southern mountain. On the way down, they can not only have panoramic views of Beijing's picturesque scenery but also marvel at the beautiful landscapes of the Eyeglasses Lake area. The crystal blue water surrounded by red, green, and yellow colors is broad and exhilarating, creating a sense of tranquility and delight.

"Secluded Route"

Located in the area outside the north gate of the park, the Biyun Temple scenic area is away from the crowded areas of the park. Here, visitors will find high, golden ginkgo trees in the ancient temple area, enhancing the architectural elements. It creates a filter of softness and tranquility, which feels particularly rustic and secluded.