The Fragrant Hills Park (香山公园) is located 20 kilometers northwest of Beijing and not far from the Summer Palace. The name of the park derives not from the fresh air or aroma in the area, but in the shape of the hills themselves. If you look close enough (and with a bit of imagination thrown in) you can just make out the shape of an incense burner at the peak of the hills.
The best time to the hill is autumn when the red leaves decorating the trees on the hillside add an extra special glow to the area.
In fact, many Beijingers come here every year to collect red maple leaves.
The Fragrant Hills Park is also known as the Garden of Congenial Tranquility. However it is generally pretty busy here unless you escape the crowds and head into the woods. Take a chair-lift or hike up the peak itself for great views of the surrounding countryside. Once you reach "Incense burner peak" and, if you are felling fit and brave, head off on some of the marked trails and delve into the woodlands.
The hills and woods were a favorite country retreat of the emperors. The building of Temples began here in the Jin Dynasty (1186 AD) and by the Qing Dynasty, (1745 AD) 28 had been erected in the Garden of Congenial Tranquility. In 1860 and again in 1900, the Garden was seriously destroyed by fire and many of the temples and halls ruined. Today, only some of the buildings have been restored. When the Central Committee of the Communist Party moved to Beijing from Hubei, Mao madeDouble Purity Villa his residence here. Inside the Villa are various displays and cultural relics. However, it's the views of the countryside, which are the most attractive thing about the Park. From Ghost Fear peak on a fine day, (Ghosts apparently fear heights!) one can see the Yongding River, Luding Bridge, Prospect Hills, Summer Palace, Yuquan Hill and the outskirts of the city.