Best Places to See Autumn Leaves around Xian

Plan your Xian tour in Autumn? Fall period in Xian are the months of September, October and November, and the weather is usually fine and pleasant. The Mid-October through Mid-November is the best time to see autumn colour around Xian.

Xian Major Destination Map for Peeping Autumn Leaves ( Google)

If you happen to visit Xian during the period of between Mid-October and November, you have myriad opportunities to take wonderful pictures of  fall foliage around Xian. Now we are going to reveal the top 10 places to view the autumn leaves around Xian.

1. Xingqing Palace Park 兴庆宫

Known as “Xingqinggong Park” by google Map, Xingqing Palace Park is located in the eastern suburb of Xian, about 6km to the east of Bell Tower, the city center of Xian. 

It was built on the former site of the Xingqing Palace of the Tang Dynasty. Xingqing Palace was the political center during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty, a place where Emperor Xuanzong and his favorite concubine – Yang Guifei lived for a long time.

Today the relics of the former Xingqing Palace has been turned into a free city park. There are some original relics of the former Xingqing Palace.

In addition,  some ponds, pavilion, halls and buildngs have been rebuilt according to the Tang Dynasty style. Xingqing Palace Park is a ideal place to view the autumn leaves in Xian. Xingqing Lake built on the former “Dragon Lake”  is ringed with dense trees and green lawns, changed into a colour wonderland in autumn.

Autumn View at Xingqing Palace Park
Autumn View at Xingqing Palace Park

2. Fragrant Hill 香山

Fragrant Hill here reminds people of the same name Fragrant Hill in Beijing. Beijing’s Fragrant Hill is famed for its fall colors which entices a consistent flow of tourists each year. Now the Fragrant Hill here we are talking about is located in Hancheng, about 227 km northeast of Xian.

The  city of Hancheng itself  is a big draw. Hancheng Old Town is adjacent to the Yellow River on its east. The original old town was made of mud that dates back to Jin Dynasty (1164), also known as Jin City. In Ming-era (1640), the old town was rebuilt with bricks. The present old town still keeps its main north-south street of 1200m long in the style of Ming and Qing dynaties. About 40 lanes or alleys fan out from the main street, forming numerous hutongs and courtyard houses of Ming and Qing styles.

The Fragrant Hill is located in Xuefeng Township, about 30 km west of  Hancheng’ city center. Hancheng’s Fragrant Hill is afire with maple an smoke-trees, attracting numerous visitors every year.

Fall Foliage at Hancheng
Fall Foliage at Hancheng

3. Shaohua Mountain National Forest Park 少华山国家森林公园

Shaohua Mountain National Forest Park is situated 85 km east of Xian’s city center and 30 km west o Huashan Mountain (Mt.Shaoshan).  The forest park has a varied landscapes with green valleys and glittering waters.  The maple trees change  their colors with the change of the four seasons.

At the end of September red leaves are slowly coming to the slopes and valleys of the mesmerizing mountain. At the mid-October the previously green-dominated color has been gradually changed into multi-colors – red, yellow, green, purple, pink, and crimson. The rich colors under the sun bounce off lights in a spectacular fashion. Standing on a high hilltop, you will feel recharged and totally relaxed.

After visiting Shaohua Mountain (Mt.Shaoshan), you may continue to go to Huashan Mountain (Mt.Huashan) or drive back to Terracotta Warriors. Mt.Huashan, or Mount Hua is one of the five sacred mountains in China.

The other four are Taishan in Shandong, Songshan in Henan, Hengshan in Shanxi and Hengshan in Hunan. Don’t be confused with Huangshan or Yellow Mountain,  another world famous mountain in China. For more information on Huangshan, check out Huangshan tour.

Autumn Color at Shaohua Mountain
Autumn Color at Shaohua Mountain

4. Jinsi Grand Canyon National Forest Park 金丝大峡谷国家森林公园

Jinsi Grand canyon is located in Shangnan County,  about 200 km southeast of Xian. Jinsi Grand Canyon is a national AAAA scenic area, a national forest park and geopark. It is oft-lauded as “Wonder of Canyon and King of Ecology”,  “Capital of Canyon” and “the most beautiful canyon in China”.

The whole canyon is covered with dense forests, a combination of plants from both northern China and southern China. The canyon is narrow and long with water flowing turbulently. Landscape of Jinsi Grand Canyon features extreme steepness and beauty, represented by deep and narrow valley, sheer steep cliffs and peaks, and  fantastic waterfalls.  Jinsi Canyon is a fairyland of colors in autumn.  Daily buses from Xian conveniently bring you to this beautiful landscape of colors in autumn.

Jinsi Grand Canyon National Forest Park
Jinsi Grand Canyon National Forest Park

5. Niubeiliang National Forest Park 牛背梁国家森林公园

Niubeiliang National Forest Park is located Zhujiawan Village, Yingban Township of Zuoshui County on the southern slope of Qinling Mountains, about 75km south of Xian. The Park sits at the sea level of 1000 m – 2800 m with an area of 2123 hectares.

The park features pristine forests, clear waterfalls, unique gorge landscape, rare views of stone forests, alpine meadows, Qinling spruce. The park  is a good place  for fall foliage and leaf-peeping.

Autumn Red Leaves at Niubeiliang National Forest Park
Autumn Red Leaves at Niubeiliang National Forest Park

6. Huangboyuan Township 黄柏塬乡

Huangboyuan Township is situated in the south of Qinling Mountain range, in Taibai County, about 275 km southwest of Xian. Most of the land within Huangboyuan has been designated “Taibai National Reserve” and “Shaanxi Panda Protection Area”. Huangboyuan is oft-lauded as “the Most Beautiful Village in Shaanxi.

Its unique location makes Huangboyuan the confluence of the plants of Southern  and Northern China with a sharp drop of altitude (3767 m – 740 m ) and big temperature difference between day and night. Fenced off by Qinling Mountain range, the leaves here on the trees turn red earlier due to the loss of chlorophyll and the remaining of anthocyanin. Sudden fall of temperature speeds up the changes. Many experienced foliage viewers know how to plan their leaf-peeping trips. Autumn leaf viewers will flock here each year.

Autumn Color at Huangboyuan
Autumn Color at Huangboyuan

7.  Liping National Forest Park 黎坪国家森林公园

Liping National Forest Park is located  in the southwest of Nanzheng County, Hanzhong City, about 300 km southwest of Xian. The park features a varied landscapes of  primeval forest, waterfalls, alpine grassland, stone forests and it climate is also an appeal.

Liping National Forest Park is oft-lauded as Shaanxi’s Jiuzhaigou, the best place  to  place for hiking in spring, leisure travel in summer, see fall leaves and tasting fruit in autumn and hunting in snowy winter. So come to Liping National Forest Park in autumn for viewing fall foliage and having a bite of the fruits.

Autumn Leaves at Liping National Forest Park
Autumn Leaves at Liping National Forest Park

8. Xuejia Village 薛家寨

Xuejia Village is hemmed in a valley at the altitude of 1600 m, in Zhaojin Township of Tongchuan,  about 110 km north of Xian. Xuejia, literally “Family Xue”, named after Xue Gang, a rebellion leader against Tang Dynasty, who stationed his troop here.

In 1930s, Xuejia Village was once used as one of the bases for Red Army. The Red Army took the advantage of the natural barriers – four natural rock caves to build a red army hospital, garment factory, machine factory and commanding center. The relics site has been designated as the base for youth education. More than that,  the Xuejia Village is also a perfect place for viewing fall foliage mainly due to its diversity and density of the trees around Xuejia Village.

Fall colors at Xuejia Village
Fall colors at Xuejia Village

9. Nangong Mountain National Forest Park 南宫山国家森林公园

Nangong Mountain National Forest Park is located  in the east of Langao County, Ankang City,  about 240 km south of Xian. The park occupies an area of about  7,648 hectares.

This mesmerizing park encompassed mountains, waterfalls, rock and myriad plants and animals.  It is also well known for its landscape of the ancient volcano eruptions and glaciers,  primeval  forest.  It is a haven for endangered plants like Chinese dove trees, trembling poplars, cuckoopints, and katsura tree.  In autumn, the mountain flames with azaleas.

Autumn View at Nangong Mountain National Forest Park
Autumn View at Nangong Mountain National Forest Park

10. Pingheliang Forest Park 平河梁森林公园

Pingheliang Forest Park is located in Ningshan County, about 150 km southwest of Xian. Pingheliang is a branch of Qinling Mountain range, covering 130 square km at the altitude of 2280 meters.

The park features alpine meadows, massive ancient volcano eruptions, gushing waterfalls, primeval forests and myriad species of animals. Pingheliang’s autumn resembles a fairyland peppered with colorful leaves, one of the best time to visit Pingheliang.

Fall Colors at Pingheliang Forest Park
Fall Colors at Pingheliang Forest Park

Tip : Hassle-free Xian Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Xian guided tours:

Xian Tour
Xian Day Tour
Xian Tour Packages
Beijing Xian Tour

Further Readings

Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian
Tips for Visiting Xian City Wall
Tips for Visiting Shaanxi History Museum
Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower
How Visit Terracotta Army
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xian
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Best Time to Visit Xian

Any questions, just drop a line.

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