We’ve been lucky to have some really beautiful blue sky days recently. If this keeps up, it’ll be a great opportunity to head out to one of Beijing’s best spots to view red leaves. Go on a weekday if you can, as these places can get extremely busy on the weekends. Shunyi dwellers with a car needn’t worry; since all of these scenic spots can be accessed via Fifth Ring Road and Sixth Ring Road, you can get to your destination even on no-drive days. Click on each link for complete addresses.
1. Xiangshan 香山
Arguably Beijing’s most popular spot to see red leaves, Xiangshan (also known as Fragrant Hills) is covered in smoke trees. A cable car makes it convenient to go up and down the mountain. There are also forests and lakes to be explored. Click here for a walking guide around Xiangshan and neighboring Beijing Botanical Garden.
- Distance: 32km from the city center, 38km from Shunyi via North Fifth Ring Road
- Opening hours: Mon-Fri 6am-6.30pm, Sat-Sun 8am-8pm
- Admission prices: RMB 10, RMB 5 for students. Cable car costs RMB 50 from Mon-Fri and RMB 60 on Sat-Sun and holidays (one way).
2. Badaling Great Wall 八达岭长城
Though always overrun with tourists, Badaling has the distinction of holding a red leaf festival every November. Local newspapers all feature photos taken from around the wall.
- Distance: 72km from the city center, 65km from Shunyi via North Sixth Ring Road and Badaling Expressway
- Opening hours: Daily 6.40am-6.30pm
- Admission prices: RMB 40 (Nov 1-Mar 31). Cable car costs RMB 40 one way and RMB 60 roundtrip.
3. Baiwang Mountain Forest Park 百望山森林公园
Often referred to as Beijing’s source of oxygen because of its close proximity to the city. The park covers an area of roughly 133 hectares, of which more than 95 percent is vegetation. There is rock climbing available for lovers of the sport. Check the website for details (in Chinese).
- Distance: 26km from the city center, 33km from Shunyi via North Fifth Ring Road
- Opening hours: Daily 8am-5pm
- Admission prices: RMB 6
4. Miaofeng Mountain 妙峰山
The highest peak in Beijing, Miaofeng Mountain is located at the intersection of Haidian, Changping and Mentougou Districts. The area is renown for its ancient temples, majestic pine trees and interestingly-shaped rocks. A paved road leads to the top of the peak, making Miaofeng accessible by car and bike.
- Distance: 43km from the city center, 67km from Shunyi via North Sixth Ring Road
- Opening hours: Daily 7am-7pm
- Admission prices: RMB 20, RMB 10 for students
5. Shangfang Mountain National Forest Park 上方山国家森林公园
The largest national forest park in China, Shangfang features twelve peaks and nine caves. One of the park’s highlights is Yunshui Cave, which stretches for over 600m. The cave contains the largest stalagmite in China at more than 37m tall. Temples and nunneries also dot the park.
- Distance: 72km from the city center, 103km from Shunyi via North Fifth Ring Road
- Opening hours: Daily 8am to 8pm
- Admission prices: RMB 40
Photos courtesy of Scott Meis Photography (Flickr)
Dana is the beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Beijing in 2011 (via Europe) with her husband, two sons and Rusty the dog. She enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new food. In her free time, she can be found exploring the city and driving along the mountain roads of Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu.