Autumn Camping California

Autumn Lakeside

RV camping Tent Camp Fishing Hiking

Amazing autumn colors can be found through OCTOBER and NOVEMBER in California, but you’ll need to leave the city in order to find the very best colors and scenic beauty. Fall season happens quickly (weeks) in the high country and slower (months) in the lowlands. Plenty canyons and parks in the urban centers have hiking trails thru some nice trees, but nothing compares to the backroads, creeks and rivers of the big mountains.

Elevations, the higher the better, is where you find the real displays of color. Aspen groves can be found along mountain slopes, creek canyons from 5000′-10,000′ in elevation. Cottonwood trees are found in the drier regions, in ranching areas and in desert canyons – up to about 6000′ elevation. Aspen trees start to turn yellow as soon as the chill of nights drop; if the temperature shift is subtle, the aspen leaves become more orange as the days go into the fall season. If an early snow or freeze happens, just one night, the glorious foliage becomes dead brown crispies dangling in the wind.

CAMPFIRE RESTRICTIONS can still be in place from the dry summer, but any decent amount of rain can change the status, so make sure to check with the rangers for up-to-date fire info.

Tent Camp


Southern California

has minimal fall colors.

Big Bear Lake, CA
Lake Arrowhead, CA

Ojai Camping – Wheeler Gorge
Sespe Hot Springs (hike-in access only)


Southern and Central Sierra

have a few aspen groves and several cottonwood canyons.

Kern River Canyon

Ponderosa, CA
Quaking Aspen Campground Tent Camp
Quaking Aspen CabinTent Camp
Giant Sequoia National Monument

Wishon Reservoir
Lily Pad Campground

Kirkwood, CA
Blue Lakes Road
Carson Pass CA Highway 88


Northern Sierra

primarily has the big river canyons, most of which have fall colors. Yuba River, Feather Rivers.

Downieville, CA
Yuba River Campgrounds

Hope Valley, CA
Hope Valley Campground Tent Camp

Lake Tahoe

Bucks Lake, CA
Haskins Valley @ Grizzly Campground
Oro-Quincy Highway – Plumas NF


Autumn Bliss Hike

Eastern Sierra

is the ‘place to be’ for Autumn Colors in California. The dramatic desert meets the tallest granite peaks. Every canyon is a different scene, some have small lakes lined with aspen groves, some have a creek with aspens.

Aspendell, CA
North Lake Campground
Lake Sabrina Road
Bishop Pass (high country hikes)

sabrina creeking

Bishop, CA
Bishop Creek, Hwy 168
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest – both Silver Canyon and
Cottonwood Creek have aspen trees. (both are 4×4 roads)

Bridgeport, CA
Green Creek Road w/ signage for
Dunderburg Meadow
Twin Lakes
Hoover Wilderness (high country hikes)

Independence, CA
Onion Valley CampgroundTent Camp
Kearsarge Pass (high country hikes)

June Lake, CA
June Lake Loop / Hwy 158
Parker Lake (dirt road to primitive camps)
June Lake CampgroundTent Camp
Oh Ridge CampgroundTent Camp
Reversed Creek CampgroundTent Camp

Lee Vining, CA
Lee Vining Canyon / Hwy 120
One of the biggest aspen grove canyons in the state.
NFS campgrounds
NFS Campgrounds in Lee Vining Canyon: Big Bend, Aspen Grove, Boulder, Moraine, and Cattleguard Campground.
NFS Camps @ Yosemite’s EAST GATE (9000′ elev): Ellery Lake, Junction, Saddlebag Lake, and Sawmill Campground.

Lundy Lake
Virginia Lakes
Trumbull CampgroundTent Camp

Lone Pine, CA
Alabama Hills has a few cottonwoods in the canyon.
Whitney Portal has only a few aspens.

Mammoth Lakes, CA
Red’s Meadow Campground
Laurel Lakes Road (dirt road, rough)
Convict Lake

Tom’s Place, CA
McGee Creek Campground Tent Camp

Rockcreek Road
Impressive Rock Creek Road in Rock Creek Canyon, one of the very best “Autumn Drives” in the Eastern Sierra.

Rock Creek Lake Campground @ 9600′ elev Tent Camp

Iris Meadow Campground @ 8600′ elev

iris meadow

Iris Meadow on Rock Creek Rd


Northern California

(this part under construction)

Sundial Bridge,
River RV Parks
Redding, CA

Weaverville, CA

Mount Shasta, CA
(downtown of Mt. Shasta)

McBride Springs Campground
(slopes of Mount Shasta)

Lake Siskiyou
Beach Camp Resort & RV Park

4239 W. A. Barr Rd
Mount Shasta CA
530 926-2610

McCloud, CA
McCloud Falls

MacArthur-Burney Falls State Park
Dusty Campground

Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen National Forest
Lassen Camping
Lassen Lakes

Susanville, CA
Bizz Johnson Trail
Roxie Peconom Campground

Modoc National Forest (coming soon)

Siskiyou Autumn Colors (coming soon)

Lighted Tractor Parade, Ferndale

John Deere Power!

Ferndale Tree Lighting

Ferndale’s Lighted Tractor Parade

Local farmers and ranchers parade fancifully decorated tractors and tractor-drawn wagons depicting holiday scenes down the Victorian Village’s historic Main Street. Sparkling country Christmas celebrations include the Tallest Living Tree Lighting, shopping and dining downtown. Romantic Christmas destination on the Northern California Redwood Coast!

Annual event: December
Ferndale, CA

Ferndale, CA 1998

Christmas: 2011

Boat Parade of Lights

tree boat parade

Parade of Lights
Holiday Boat Parade

Christmas Boat Parades in California



San Diego Parade of Lights
San Diego Bay
San Diego, CA

OceansideParade of Lights
Oceanside CA
Oceanside Yacht Club

Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights
Dana Point, CA

Cruise of Lights Boat Parade
Huntington Beach, CA

Christmas Boat Parade & Fireworks
Newport Beach, CA
100 years running!

sailing xmas tree

Naples Christmas Boat Parade
Belmont Shores @ Naples Canals
South Long Beach, CA

Long Beach Parade of 1000 Lights
Downtown Shoreline Marina
Shoreline Yacht Club
Long Beach, CA

LA Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade
Long Beach Area
San Pedro, CA

Redondo Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Redondo Beach King Harbor @ Los Angeles
Redondo Beach, CA
King Harbor Yacht Club

Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade
West Los Angeles California
Marina del Rey, CA

Venice Canals Holiday Boat Parade
West Los Angeles
Venice Beach, CA

Oxnard Parade of Lights
Marine Emporium Landing
Oxnard, CA

Ventura Parade of Lights Boat Parade & Fireworks
Ventura Harbor Village
Ventura, CA

Santa Barbara Parade of Lights
Santa Barbara, CA





Morro Bay Christmas Boat Parade
Morro Bay Embarcadero
Morro Bay, CA





Bethel Island Lighted Boat Parade
San Joaquin Boat Parade @ the California Delta
Bethel Island, CA
San Joaquin Yacht Club

Fisherman’s Wharf Lights & Sights Boat Parade
Pier 39, Aquatic Park
San Francisco, CA

Oakland Lighted Yacht Parade
Alemeda Estuary
Oakland, CA

Petaluma Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
Petaluma River Turning Basin
Petaluma, CA

Santa Cruz Harbor Boat Parade
Santa Cruz Harbor
Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz Yacht Club

Sausalito Lighted Yacht Parade
Sausalito Yacht Club
Sausalito, CA

Delta Reflections Lighted Boat Parade
McCloud Lake @ Downtown Waterfront
Stockton, CA
Marine West Yacht Club

Calico Holiday Fest

Christmas Calico Wagon

Holiday Festival at Calico Ghost Town

If you find yourself traveling through the giant Mojave desert around the holiday season, keep Calico Ghost Town in mind. Whether you are headed to Vegas or Utah, you can take a “stretch break” from the freeway driving, to see the historic cemetery, sip hot cocoa or browse the gift shops – just a few exits after Barstow on Interstate 15.

The actual Holiday Festival is a one day celebration in late November that kicks off the winter season. Tree-lighting ceremony, native dancers, food, live music and Santa. FREE collectable, stuffed bear w/ a minimum purchase at participating local shops.

Annual event: November

Calico, CA

holiday bear

bottle house calico

Truckers Christmas Parade

North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District

Eureka’s Truckers Parade
Truckers Christmas Convoy
Truckers Christmas Parade

Eureka, Northern California

BIG RIGS: The 18-wheelers stretching as long as 60 feet, include some with special parade additions that might be tacked on: bandstand platforms, dancing reindeer, flying fish, you name it. Join in this Eureka tradition, and you’ll never think of Jingle Bells in quite the same way again. The parade starts at 6 pm at Redwood Acres and goes to about 8:30 pm. Presented by KEKA country radio – Eureka Broadcasting and local sponsors.

Eureka, CA

a Corner Shoppe

Eureka California Old Town

Old Town Eureka, CA