season.autumn

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Eastern Sierra CaliforniaEastern Sierra

Leaves changing colors in California? Hey, it's not the East Coast / New England, but we have a few decent displays of Cottonwoods & Aspens in Cali.

Summer is over, the tourist are gone & the holidays are right around the corner. Nights are crisp & days area cooler. Autumn is coming upon us, especially in the higher altitudes (elevation 6000'-10,000'). Take some time off before the busy season starts & enjoy nature. Eastern Sierra, NorCal Lakes, the Gold Country, any Sierra Nevada river. Plan a weekend out - before the snow falls on the peaks. Fishing season is prime.


Lake Arrowhead bordered by the fall season

California in Autumn
Fall Colors:

SEPTEMBER
OCTOBER
NOVEMBER

Highways winding along a river gorge, laced with trees who's leaves are changing to brilliant golden colors. Take the time to enjoy what little bit of the fall season that California has to offer. Plenty of places for picnics & hiking. Take a weekend away from everyday routine. Relax, enjoy & see the seasonal beauty.

Activities

  • Biking these days couldn't be better! Cooler temperatures & slight breezes make riding very pleasant. Grab that mountain bike & head for the local hills.
  • Camping is still great in the desert, coastal & countryside areas, but temperatures are really starting to drop in the mountains.
  • Hot Springs are nice to visit this time of year. There are plenty of types to choose: from primitives to resort spas.
  • Explore the California backroads & get that SUV a little dusty! Plenty to see along these remote paths that lead to the ultimate in seclusion. Bring a picnic lunch & make a day of it.

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California Towns with Autumn Leaves!

Walnut Creek

Markleeville

San Rafael

Ponderosa
Downieville
Bridgeport
Tahoe
Chester

Most mountain towns have creeks that are lined with fall colors in early season. Aspens are more likely is Northern California & the Eastern Sierra, while Cottonwoods tend to appear more in SoCal. Some of the oak foothills region of the countryside have a mixed variety of trees that do change colors. A hike through such an area is a beautiful sight. Pack up a picnic lunch & head to the nearest town. Then relax in a local cabin for the evening.

Cool Overnight Stays, in Fall Color

Check out California Cabin Rentals
Fishing Cabins, Mountain Cabins

More Autumn Destinations in California

Autumn Scenic Drive in NorCal

Northern California's Scott Valley is a nice drive in October. Perfect visuals for fall colors in the Autumn months. Take a self guided driving tour. Take the Gazelle - Callahan Rd, off of I-5 (N of Weed), over ridge and into Scott Valley. This valley is a pallet of golden colors with oranges and browns complementing. Continue driving from Callahan north to Etna, Fort Jones and over Forest Mountain to Yreka California.

  • Hwy 168 W of Bishop - Alpine Lakes & Aspendell
  • Hwy 395 N of Bishop - Lake Crowley & Rock Creek
  • Hwy 395 SE of Mammoth - Laurel Lake Rd (dirt)
  • Hwy 158 N of Mammoth - June Lake Loop
  • Hwy 49 N of Grass Valley - Yuba River Downieville
  • Hwy 120 W of Mono Lake - Lee Vining Canyon
  • Hwy 120 Yosemite NP - Yosemite Valley
  • Hwy 89 Burney Falls - Lake Britton Dam
  • Hwy 395 SW of Bridgeport - Twin Lakes
  • Hwy 395 S of Bridgeport- Green Creek Rd (dirt)
  • Hwy 395 S of Bridgeport - Dunderburg Meadow Rd (dirt)

    Driving Directions: Map out one destination to another, specify directions and alternate routes, travel options. Check CalTrans for road conditions.
    GoogleMaps, Yahoo Maps, MapQuest are NOT the most dependable source for rural back roads destinations, so make sure to get some other printed maps to cross reference your journey.

  • Aspen Camping

    These campgrounds are located in or near aspen groves & are simply spectacular during the fall months. The higher elevation terrain (7000'-9000') will change earlier in the year (as soon as September), whereas the lower countryside may wait until late October. Pack warmly, cuz the cooler temps at night (20-30 degrees) is what makes these aweome, little autumn leaves change colors. The change can happen very fast (in days), when the early season snows move in - usually a minimal dusting by October.
    California Autumn Campgrounds
    nearby aspen groves, creeks, rivers, meadows
    nearest town:
    ASPEN HOLLOW CAMPGROUND Hume Lake
    BIG MEADOW CAMPGROUND Arnold
    DINKEY CREEK CAMPGROUND Shaver Lake
    Grover Hot Springs State Park Markleeville
    HOPE VALLEY CAMPGROUND Markleeville
    LAKES BASIN Recreation Area Sierra City
    OH RIDGE CAMPGROUND June Lake
    ONION VALLEY CAMPGROUND Independence
    QUAKING ASPEN CAMPGROUND Ponderosa
    ROCK CREEK LAKE Tom's Place
    WHITNEY PORTAL CAMPGROUND Lone Pine

    free camping in California

    Primitive camping can be especially nice in Autumn. Less crowds means you'll most likely get the best camp site, no matter how late you arrive. Hunters and fishermen are out in force, so use extra caution on where to pitch a tent. Temperatures will be dropping, so bring your winter bag. See amazing free camping in high elevation aspen trees: Green Creek, W Fork of Coyote Creek on Coyote Flat, Baker Creek, Levitt Lake, Parker Lake Road.

    NOTE: a campfire permit is required to have a fire on the back roads. California camp fire restrictions are higher in late summer thru to winter months. Visit the nearby ranger station or call ahead to verify conditions.

    Autumn in Northern California

    From the Sacramento River from Castle Crags State Park, this area offers amazing colors in the fall season. Small town charm & great fishing is just some of what the area can offer.

    Visit Yosemite with Autumn Colors & No Crowds

    Yosemite for Fall: This is one of the best times of year to visit this popular park. The summer crowds are gone & the winter snow has yet to fall. Warm autumn colors against the granite walls are a spectacular sight to see. Night are getting chilly & day temperatures are perfect. Bike rentals are available with paved paths winding throughout the park. October can often bring an early snow, so be sure to check the weather.

    • bike rides
    • camping
    • hiking
    • picnic
    • rock climbing

    amtrak yosemite

    Take the Train
    with shuttle bus service directly to the lodge

    lodging

    • river cabins
    • mountain lodges

    California Autumn Road Trip Photos


    June Lake Autumn 2000
    Autumn Fishing Trip 2004
    Early Autumn 2009
    Snowy June Lake 2010
    Eastern Sierra Autumn 2012


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