After enjoying a week of blue-sky days, we felt inspired to direct you towards some of Beijing’s best spots to view red leaves. The list below picks up where the first one left off.
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; you can get to your destination even on no-drive days since all of these scenic spots can be accessed via Fifth and Sixth Ring Roads. Click on each link for complete addresses.
1. Beigong National Forest Park北宫森林公园
Said to be second only to Xiangshan as a place to view red leaves. This 9km2 park has many scenic spots, with mountain peaks, ridges, a fruit orchard, and a 240-meter high viewing platform from which visitors can admire panoramic views of the park and nearby villages. Take a break at the “100 Species of Birds Forest” and enjoy the clean air before heading back to town.
• Distance: 31km from the city center, 58km from Shunyi via North Fifth Ring Road
• Opening hours: 6.30am-8pm (Apr 1-Nov 30), 7am-5pm (Dec 1-Mar 31)
• Admission prices: RMB 10
Named after the mountain’s resemblance to a snake (mang means boa constrictor), this national park is the largest forest area around Beijing, at 82km2. It is located near the Ming Tombs Reservoir in Changping District and is a popular hiking venue, with tourists often climbing the 3,666 steps to the highest peak. The park also boasts the largest stone-carved Buddha in North China.
• Distance: 55km from the city center, 47km from Shunyi via North Sixth Ring Road
• Opening hours: Daily, 8am-5pm
• Admission prices: RMB 20
At over 2,000 meters above sea level, this is the highest peak in Beijing. It is famous for alpine meadows, as well as plants and animals that do not thrive at lower altitudes. Rhododendrons, lilac, and birch all grow here, and it is a haven for Xinjiang fine-wool sheep and yaks. The temperature in Lingshan is roughly 10-12 degrees Celsius colder than downtown Beijing. This is a more involved visit that normally requires a cable car and horse ride (one hour to ascend). It can be done on foot, but it will take four hours to climb and come back down. Read about one writer’s trip to Lingshan here.
• Distance: 200km from the city center, 194km from Shunyi via North Fifth Ring Road
• Opening hours: Daily
• Admission prices: RMB 45/person in peak season (Jun, Jul, Aug), no fee in low season
4. Jinhai Lake and Jinhai Lake Water Park金海湖水上公园
From our friends over at the Beijinger: “Located two hours east of Beijing, the lush hills embracing Jinhai Lake are dotted with pavilions, rock formations, caves, historical spots, and what is purported to be Asia’s largest peach orchard. If you tire of hiking and chomping on peaches, you can fish, rent a boat, go swimming, or visit the water park for water skiing and parasailing. Jinhai is very popular with native Beijingers.”
• Distance: 94km from the city center, 81km from Shunyi via JingPing Expressway
• Opening hours: Daily 7am-6.30pm
• Admission prices: RMB 28
5. Mutianyu Great Wall慕田峪长城
Mutianyu is a popular alternative to the Badaling Great Wall for those who want a less-touristy feel. This doesn’t mean you can escape vendors and hawkers because they are still here, but the Wall itself has a much more authentic feel to it despite being restored. Take the cable car up and walk a 3km section of the wall to get to a toboggan station before whizzing back down to the foot of the mountain. A combination of history, a work-out, and some amusement-park style fun.
• Distance: 75km from the city center, 52km from Shunyi via JingCheng Expressway
• Opening hours: Daily 7.30am-5.30pm (Nov-Mar), 7am-6pm (Apr-Oct)
• Admission prices: RMB 45/adult, RMB 25/child 12 and under
• Cable car ticket: RMB 60 (one way) or RMB 80 (return)/adult; RMB 30 (one way) or RMB 40 (return)/child 12 and under; cable car up + toboggan down RMB 60/adult, RMB 50/child
Photo by ames sf (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.