- Celebrated: October
- Location: Beijing
Red Leaf Festival, a grand festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of excited visitors every year, is held at Fragrant Hill. Between the middle of October and early November is the best time to enjoy the beauty of the red and yellow autumn leaves and the beautiful Fragrant Hill scenery.
Recommended Tourist Routes
Red Leaves Special Route
The South Mountain of Fragrant Hill is the best place to enjoy the red leaves. Start from the East Gate, and once finished visiting Jingcui Lake, Shuangqing Villa, and Fragrant Hill Temple, you'll reach Daheshun Gate. From Daheshun Gate, walk along Heyu Road to get to the top of the mountain.
Using this route, tourists can find themselves at the most prime locations for viewing the red leaves. Reaching the top should take most visitors around two hours — all of which is surrounded by breathtaking scenery that epitomizes the beauty of the season. Visitors should prepare well and bring water and food for this healthy and pleasant journey.
Family Visit Route
For a family tour, Middle Road is the best choice given its flat terrain and ease of use. Tourists can start from the East Gate, and after visiting Yuhua Villa and Sweat Mist Cave can reach the top. From here, you can enjoy an overlooking view of the beauty of the red autumn leaves. When traveling in a mid-sized group, this is an excellent choice, especially for a family tour.
The cableway route offers visitors an alternative view to enjoy that not only highlights the attractive red leaves, but also the historic Biyun Temple. Starting from the north gate, the cableway lies to the south and arrives at the top in about 18 short and scenic minutes.
Tourists can enjoy the beauty of the red leaves at Fragrant Hill as well as the entire view of Biyun Temple in the north. Also, you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Beijing. From here, you’ll experience an entirely different view of China's natural beauty.
Along the cableway, tourists can also visit Jianxin Temple and Biyun Temple. Jianxin Temple is located west of Yanjing Lake. Built during the Ming Dynasty, it has a history of more than 500 years and is the only scenic spot on Fragrant Hill displaying southern Chinese characteristics.
Best Spots for Red Leaf Viewing
1. Jingcui Lake
Through the east gate, enter Fragrant Hill Park and walk south. From there you will reach Jingcui Lake in only five minutes. The lake is the perfect, and closest place to view the red leaves.
- Specialty: As the lake is nearest to the gate, tourists save time and energy by going there. Mountains and water surround the lake, and the red autumn leaves stay around the longest there.
- Capacity: 300 to 400 people
- Best time for visiting: around October 25 to November 9
2. Fragrant Hill Temple
In the prime of the Tang Dynasty, Fragrant Hill Temple was first constructed and is the birthplace of Fragrant Hill culture.
In the late Qing Dynasty, the temple burned down and what remained was nothing but relics. However, tall old trees, stones decorated with exquisite fresco, and stone tablets carved with elegant calligraphy still tell us the history and retain the essence of the original Fragrant Hill Temple.
- Specialty: Fragrant Hill Temple is rich in history and culture. Tourists can learn about its history while enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds, and seeing the red autumn leaves.
- Capacity: 500 to 800 people
- Best time for visiting: October 18 to November 2
- Tips: Some parts of Fragrant Hill Temple have a spot where it's loose underfoot. Tourists should take care while walking.
3. Heshun Gate
Heshun Gate is located 300 meters to the south of Fragrant Hill. It is part of the south wall of the park. During the early Qing Dynasty (from 1644), emperors traveled through Heshun Gate when visiting the park, and headed toward Badachu Park. This tradition gave this trail the name “Ancient Royal Road,” and consists of the path between Langfeng Pavilion and Heshun Gate.
In recent years, the road has been renovated by the managing organization of Fragrant Hill Park. This organization has also reformed the entire scenic area to be lush with various trees and shrubbery.
Now, the road is covered with flourishing trees and, in particular, smoke trees, known for their smoke-like fluffy flower heads. On the ancient royal road, tourists can get closer to the red autumnal leaves than in any other place, and the road also takes them directly into the smoke tree zone.
- Specialty: Allows tourists to go deep into the smoke tree zone
- Capacity: 3,000 to 5,000 people
- Best time for visiting: October 25 to November 9
- Tips: Be prepared for some hill climbing.
4. Yuhua Villa
Yuhua Villa is located in the center of Fragrant Hill Park. It has the largest flat terrain in the park and is the best place to get an overview of the entire park. It takes around 20 minutes to walk to Yuhua Villa along the middle road from the east gate of Fragrant Hill.
- Specialty: Yuhua Villa has the best view of the entire park. Tourists can enjoy fragrant tea boiled with spring water while enjoying the beauty of red autumnal leaves.
- Capacity: 800 to 1,000 people
- Best time for visiting: October 15 to November 4
- Tips: The area is flat from the east gate to Yuhua Villa. This tourist route is the best choice for a family tour.
5. Sweat Mist Cave
Sweat Mist Cave is in the middle of Fragrant Hill. Given the flat terrain, some fitness equipment is placed here and provides a good place for tourists to take a break and exercise.
Meanwhile, the major buildings of Sweat Mist Cave have been rebuilt, creating a classic imperial garden. While standing at Sweat Mist Cave, tourists get different views of the beauty of the red autumnal leaves and fully experience their natural beauty and harmony.
- Specialty: Tourists can experience the beauty of the imperial garden. It is a good place to rest and have a cup of tea.
- Capacity: 800 to 1,000 people
- Best Time for visiting: from October 15th to November 4th
- Tips: It takes more than half an hour to get to the Sweat Mist Cave. Tourists should wear suitable sneakers.
If you feel like going for a hike and explore the natural beauty of the area we have some recommendations.
During Fragrant Hill Red Leaf Festival, there are hundreds of thousands of visitors, so you are advised to visit from Monday to Friday. On weekends, visitors should go early to avoid the crowds and traffic jams. While also crowded, the Beijing subway (lines 4 and 10) may be better to get you to the west of the city. See our Fragrant Hills page for buses, or show the Chinese addres to a taxi driver.
Songlin Restaurant is located on the west side of the Zhisong scenic spot of Fragrant Hill Park. It is a large restaurant with a unique style, an elegant environment, and excellent food, mainly serving Beijing, Shandong, and imperial cuisine. It can accommodate more than 200 people at once in its 1,500 square meter area of operations.
The highlight lies in the unique environment. Tourists can enjoy the natural beauty and delicious food at the same time. Sample Beijing food and indulge in an all-senses experience.
The best time to visit Beijing is in the autumn. When you visit Fragrant Hill, do not forget to taste the tea served at Shuangqing Villa and Sweat Mist Cave. Also, having the tea at Healthy Garden, Yuhua Villa, and Yunzhou Tea House is also recommended.
Fragrant Hill Villa is in the middle of a major road in Fragrant Hill Park. It is a two-star, foreign-oriented tourist hotel integrating accommodations, catering, and entertainment. It was rebuilt on the formerly famous Fragrant Hill Hospital (from 1920 to 1949), and now offers 103 standard rooms and 206 residential beds.
Tourists booking rooms here can visit Fragrant Hill Park for free. Meanwhile, staff at Fragrant Hill Villa help visitors book tickets to Biyun Temple, the cableway, and the surrounding entertainment. For overseas friends, the best choice is to stay at Fragrant Hill.
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