Beijing's foilage season begins in middle October and ends in early November. Mountains and hills in the suburbs of Beijing are really spectacular in the autumn season. Listed below are the best places close to Beijing to see fall foilage. Visit these places to catch a glimse of great colors.
Best time for watching: Middle October to early November
Features: the most famous place to see autumn leaves in Beijing.
When it comes to watching the red autumnal leaves in Beijing, the first place to go is Fragrant Hill. Fragrant Hill is on the east side of the West Mountain, northwest of Beijing. The hill is 20 kilometers away from the city, is covered by smoke trees that turn dark red-purple after a frost, and its layer upon layer of peaks and knolls sit 577 meters above sea level.
When the frost descends, the tens of thousands of fields around Fragrant Hill look as red as fire. Seen from a distance, one could assume that the red were flower petals. Only when near the mountain can one tell that they are actually oval leaves.
The best season to view the red autumnal leaves is from mid October to early November, and viewing lasts for about one month. The Fragrant Hill Red Autumnal Leaves Festival is held in mid October every year and goes for about 20 days. Activities include climbing the mountain, viewing the red leaves, and participating in a cultural exhibition. There are also many scenic spots on Fragrant Hill, including Glasses Lake, the Jianxin Building, Zhao Temple, Banshan Pavilion, Fragrant Hill Temple, Hongguang Temple, and Senyu Tablet, among others.
Planning a tour to see red leaves in Beijing this year? See China Highlights' Beijing tours.
Tourists can take the following buses: 318 (Laogucheng – Fragrant Hill), 331 (Xinjiekou Huokou – Fragrant Hill), 360 (Beijing Zoo – Fragrant Hill), 634 (Xi Zhimen- east gate of Fragrant Hill), 714 (Fuchengmen – Fragrant Hill), 696 (Shangxinpu – Fragrant Hill), 698 (ChengnanJiayuanbei – Fragrant Hill)
Badaling Forest Park
Best time for watching: from late September to late October
Beijing Badaling National Forest Park covers 56 hectares, and is planted with more than 50,000 maple trees. The park is near Badaling Great Wall, located on the south hill along with the first Chinese railway and a bronze statue of Zhan Tianyou. Every autumn, the place is full of red color and visitors. Autumn is the best time to enjoy the red leaves at Badaling Great Wall, and the viewing period is half a month earlier than that of the urban cities.
From late September to late October, Badaling Forest Park demonstrates a natural, colorful beauty. The yellow maples make the park a treasure spot. As time goes by, those yellow maples turn red transforming the park into a sea of red.
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Mutianyu Great Wall
Best time for watching: from middle October to late November
Mutianyu Great Wall is a famous scenic spot in Beijing, around 20 kilometers away from Huairong District. One can find more than 280,000 colorful trees here, and the best season to view the red leaves is between October and November. During this time, the place becomes a fairytale world filled with red, golden, and green leaves.
Public Transportation: Tourists can take bus line 916 or 936 at Dongzhimen, then transfer and get off at Mutianyu station.
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Baiwang Mountain 百望山
Best time for watching: from middle October to middle November
Features: The closest place to see red leaves from urban Beijing.
Baiwang Mountain Forest Park is located three kilometers from the Summer Palace. Many kinds of red leaves are planted there, such as red maple from the U.S. and Dutch red leaves, which can be enjoyed three seasons in a year. After the first frost, the entire mountain is covered with the red color of these leaves, creating a spectacular sight.
There are two excellent places to view red leaves. The first one is Friendship Pavilion, which offers a flat terrain. Tourists are surrounded by red leaves while walking along the path. The other place is Lanfeng Pavilion at the top of Baiwang Mountain. Here, you can get an overview of the beauty of red leaves.
Walk along the stone path atop Baiwang Mountain. There is a small hill to the west of Baiwang Mountain where a fairy statue made of white marble stone stands. Here, you can enjoy a different view of red leaves.
Compared with the crowded Fragrant Hill Red Leaf Festival, enjoying the beauty of the red leaves at Baiwang Mountain is a quieter and more comfortable experience. For tourists who drive, you do not need to apply for a gate pass. In addition, it takes only a few minutes to drive west from Qinghe Xiaoyinghuandao or Shangdihuandao. Tourists can also drive from the Anhe Bridge and the summer palace.
Public Transportation: Tourists can take line 330, special 4, special 5, special 6, 933, and 697 and get off at the Baiwang Mountain station.
Beigong Forest Park 北宫森林公园
Best time for viewing: from early October to middle November
Beigong Forest Park is in Changxindian town of Fengtai District. It is another place for local residents to view red leaves and natural beauty. Every autumn, the 1,800 hectares of Beigong Forest Park are covered with colorful leaves. Hulu Lake in the center and the colorful leaves create a natural watercolor image. Beigong Forest Park demonstrates different views in each season, and is a good choice for foreign visitors.
In addition, tourists can play at the water park, which is full of south China characteristics, and pick fruits at the park. It is a good place to exercise, pick fruit, and spend your vacation.
Transportation: Tourists can take line 310 and get off at Xinzhuang station or take line 385 and get off at Huagongqichang station.
Labagou Gate 喇叭沟门
Labagou Gate Summer Recreational Palace is located in the core area of the virgin forest of Manzu town of Labagou Gate in Huairou District.
Given the high elevation and short duration of the frost, the original oak forest gradually turns red in color. From a distance, the forest appears full of red color. The maple and white birch forest demonstrates a natural and beautiful image. Red maple, yellow leaves, and white trunk form a fairytale environment.
Public Transportation: Tourists can take a long distance bus at Dongzhi Gate or take 936 to get to the park.
Hongluo Temple 红螺寺
Hongluo Temple is located in the middle of Hongluo Mountain. It is the best place for a close view of the red leaves. The colorful leaves cover an area of 4,000 mu, and most of them are planted on mountains around 300-400 meters high. Tourists can reach the best place by taking the special red leaf line. Here, tourists can enjoy deep red leaves and the feeling that one gets under those colorful leaves.
In addition, tourists can take the cableway to reach Guanyin Temple and walk about 300 meters to reach the best place to view the red leaves. Tourists can enjoy scenery that only shows up in the fairytale world.
Transportation: Tourists can take line 91 or 936 at Dongzhi Gate, then transfer on the public bus to Hongluo Temple.
Miaofeng Mountain 妙峰山
Best Time for watching: from early October to early November
Miaofeng Mountain is famous for its ancient temples, unique pines, spectacular rocks, and roses. It is the highest mountain in west Beijing. The vegetation coverage rate is more than 90%. Here, tourists can enjoy the spectacular mountains, deep valleys, as well as the colorful leaves. While walking along stone paths, tourists can experience the beauty of red leaves and green pines. Enjoying the red leaves in Miaofeng Mountain is a traditional custom dating back to Yuan Dynasty.
Public Transportation: Tourists can take the tourist line at Pingguoyuan subway station.
Continue to read best places to see fall colors in China.