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Red Leaves Festival at Fragrant Hill in Beijing

"I see a thousand hills crimsoned through / By their serried woods deep-dyed"—Mao Zedong

Red Leaves Festival at Fragrant Hill
Red Leaves Festival at Fragrant Hill
Red Leaves Festival at Fragrant Hill
Red Leaves Festival at Fragrant Hill

Fragrant Hills or Xiangshan Park is an imperial garden where emperors of the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasty came for hunting and being away from the summer heat. Nowadays, this place is famous for its autumn leaves. There are many kinds of red-leaf trees at Fragrant Hill, the majority of them are sumac and maple trees.

Every year from about mid-October, the leaves take on the hues of red and amber. Due to the different altitude and temperature, the color depth increases from the northwest mountainous areas to the southeast plain.

Every year between mid-October and early November, the Red Leaves Festival is held at Fragrant Hill. Viewing red leaves is the primary theme of this festival. There are various spots across the park for viewing the red leaves. Jingcui Lake is the most easily-accessible place for you to view the leaves as it is close to the east gate. Yuhua Villa provides an excellent panorama of the entire park. At the Sweat Mist Cave, you will be inside the deep-dyed woods and have a close view of the red leaves, but it requires some hiking. The Ancient Royal Road across Heshun Gate to Badachu Park is where you can get the closest to the red leaves while passing by recently planted smoke trees. The last popular spot is called the Fragrant Hill Temple. Here, you can both learn the history of the Fragrant Hill and appreciate the beauty of autumn.

During the Red Leaves Festival in Xiangshan Park, there are three periods of viewing. The first is from mid-October to late October. At that time, the leaves have not yet turned totally red, so that you can see a colorful picture of the hill. The second period is from late October to early November. The leaves get darker, and the scenery looks more saturated. The last period runs roughly from mid-November to late November when the temperatures drop, the wind blows off all the leaves from the trees, and you can see the red forest full of fallen leaves.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Fragrant Hill and see the autumn leaves?

The ideal period for observing the autumn scenery at Fragrant Hill is from mid-October to mid-November, coinciding with the annual Red Leaves Festival. During this season, the green tree leaves change into varying hues of red and amber, adding more charm to the beauty of the park. The color depth differs as per the altitude and temperature - the north-western mountainous regions show brighter color shades while the south-eastern plains being relatively lighter. The Red Leaves Festival at Fragrant Hill lets visitors lookout for the red leaves and enjoy many exciting activities around the park. Show more

Where are the best spots to view the red leaves during the Red Leaves Festival?

Fragrant Hill boasts of several excellent sites for observing red leaves during the annual Red Leaves Festival. Yuhua Villa treats visitors to a panoramic view of the whole park while Jingcui Lake is easily accessible from the east gate. Visitors typically leave impressed by Heshun Gate to Badachu Park, where they can get the best view of the beautiful Red Leaves Festival from the Ancient Royal Road, passing a newly planted smoke tree. Tourists can also visit the renowned Fragrant Hill Temple, which proffers an excellent view. To get a closer view, one may hike to the Sweat Mist Cave for an intimate experience. Show more

What kind of trees can be seen at Fragrant Hill during the autumn season?

Fragrant Hill Park has various types of red-leaf trees, but the most common are sumac and maple trees. Each year, during the autumn season, the trees' leaves change from shades of green to vibrant shades of red and amber, luring many visitors to the park. The higher altitudes and lower temperatures result in deeper and brighter hues of autumn colors, thus giving a more diverse scenic view to this picturesque place. Show more

Are there any specific activities or events during the Red Leaves Festival?

The Red Leaves Festival at Fragrant Hill has many exciting activities for visitors to indulge in besides viewing red autumn leaves. Visitors can watch traditional dance performances, live music, and taste various foods. Guided tours, workshops on traditional crafts and painting, and calligraphy sessions can be enjoyed. The park also conducts a photography competition, and during the festival, an entertaining parade is staged for the visitors. Show more

Is there any historical significance to Fragrant Hill and its beauty during the autumn season?

Fragrant Hill, or Xiangshan Park, served as an imperial garden for centuries. Emperors of the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties would often retreat and hunt amid its beauty, while escaping the scorching summer. Since then, the park's autumn scenery has enthralled poets and public figures, who have expressed admiration through various art forms. The enchanting autumn foliage of the hill enduring from time immemorial continues to delight locals and tourists alike, retaining the charm and charisma that make it a must-visit destination. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin