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  • Writer's pictureMeghana Gowda

The best locations to witness the fall foliage in Northern California

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Everyone thinks California's all about endless summer, but guess what? California has a legit fall season, too! 🍂🌞 Yep, we've got those crisp, cool days and leaves that change color – it's not just palm trees and beaches all year round. Read along to dive deeper into the fantastic fall locations across California. I will tell you all the details on where to find the best autumn vibes in the Golden State. 🍂🌄

California may not be as well-known for its fall foliage as some other states in the United States, like New England or the Midwest, but there are still some beautiful places to catch the changing colors of fall.

Eastern Sierras is the best place to see Fall Colors in California. The aspen groves in this region turn vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red during the fall, creating a picturesque landscape against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The best time to see fall foliage is mid-October in the Eastern Sierras and late October to early November in the Tioga region of Yosemite.

Mammoth Lakes

When it comes to experiencing fall colors in Mammoth Lakes, California, you're in for a breathtaking display of nature's beauty. Nestled in the Eastern Sierra region, Mammoth Lakes is a hidden gem for those seeking vibrant fall foliage.

Some major locations are

🍂 Convict Lake is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, which perfectly mirror the surrounding mountains and the vibrant fall foliage during the autumn season. No hike is required for the view and the beach. If you want to hike, you can take a two-mile easy trail loop hugging the shore all the way around Convict Lake.

🍂Twin Lakes

🍂Mcgee creek

🍂Rock Creek

June Lake Loop

The June Lake Loop, situated near the town of June Lake, is a treasure trove of fall foliage. One of the most accessible ways to witness the beauty of the loop is by taking a scenic drive. The loop itself offers incredible vistas, winding roads, and various pull-offs where you can stop to admire the scenery and capture those perfect fall photos. The loop is about 15 miles long and offers a leisurely drive through the heart of fall's splendor. Gull Lake and Silver Lake have beautiful fall colors around them.

🍂June Lake


Bishop, California, is another hidden gem in the Eastern Sierra region that offers a spectacular display of fall colors. Many Parts of Bishop also change into yellow trees. Bishop is a fantastic destination for those seeking autumn beauty and outdoor adventures.

🍂Bishop Creek

🍂North Lake

🍂Lake Sabrina

🍂South Lake

Lake Tahoe

The Lake Tahoe region is another excellent destination for fall foliage. You can take a scenic drive around the lake and up into the surrounding mountains to see the changing colors of the aspens, cottonwoods, and other deciduous trees.

🍂Hope Valley

🍂Taylor Creek Visitor Center

🍂Marlette Lake

🍂Ebbetts Pass

🍂Luther Pass

🍂Lam Watah Trail

🍂Fallen Leaf Lake

🍂Apple Hill

Tioga Pass

Tioga Pass is located within Yosemite National Park and serves as the eastern entrance to the park. As a result of its high elevation, typically above 9,000 feet, the fall foliage season in Tioga Pass starts a bit earlier than in lower elevations, making it an excellent destination for those eager to catch the changing colors in early autumn. However, fall colors in Yosemite Valley starts late just like in the Bay Area. You can see fall colors in the peak from late October to early November.

Wine Country

California's wine country, including areas like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, is not only renowned for its vineyards but also for the fall foliage. The grapevines turn various shades of red and gold, creating a stunning contrast with the lush vineyards. You can also find vineyards in the Tri-Valley region of the Bay Area.

You can also check out the fall color map for the latest foliage report.

Enjoy the Fall Season!!


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