Xiangshan Park

Xiangshan Park, Beijing Attractions, Beijing Travel GuideXiangshan Park, also known as the Forest Park, is located on the eastern sides of the Western Hills, approximately 10 kilometers to the west of Beijing. The Fragrant Hills are, as their name indicates, an aromatic area of natural beauty. This park is a favorite place for hiking, especially in the autumn when the changing leaves make for spectacular scenery. Due to its high elevation and dense cover of trees, spring arrives late in the area and summer days are always pleasantly cool. The best time to visit the park is late fall, when the smoke tree leaves turn red. The trees make the grandest display of all. There are also groves of apricots, pears, peaches and lilacs adding their fragrance, and the more solemn evergreens, whose contribution to the local beauty are unrestricted by seasonal changes.

Fragrant Hills Park (Xiangshan)In 1186 of the Jin Dynasty, the Xiangshan Temple was built here and for a period served as the emperor's traveling lodge. In 1745, Emperor Qianlong had a number of large halls; pagodas, memorial archways and leisure pavilions built and changed the name of the area to the Garden of Peacefulness (Jingyiyuan). This complex served the famous Qing ruler as one of his summer palaces and became one of the three favorite hills of Qianlong, beside Jade Spring Mountain (Yuquanshan) and Longevity Hill (Wanshoushan) in the Summer Palace.

Unlike many other places that show off their red leaves, the Fragrant Hills offers lots of ancient Buddhist buildings and historic resorts: the reason why many visitors go there despite the crowds and traffic. The best places to watch the red leaves are at Xiangshan Temple, Banshan Pavilion, and Yuhua Peak. If you're up for it, climb up to Pingtai, Xishan Qingxue, and Shenyuwu for a view of the whole mountain.