Where to Go to See Beautiful Fall Foliage in Northern California

A Fall Day in the Napa Valley III Ι © James Daisa/Flickr
A Fall Day in the Napa Valley III Ι © James Daisa/Flickr
Despite what many may think, Northern California is a marvelous place to see fall colors appear as the seasons change. Miles and miles of forests, vineyards, and mountain ranges create the perfect backdrop as autumn begins to grace the Golden State. These Northern California places are the best to witness fall foliage.

Mammoth Lakes

Up in the Sierra Nevada mountains is the town of Mammoth Lakes. In the autumn and fall season, the leaves turn a vibrant yellow. It’s a sight unlike any other. If you’re the hiking type, Mammoth Lakes is the home to Devils Postpile National Monument, a formation of basalt columns surrounded by greenery. There’s also the Rainbow Falls along the nearby San Joaquin River. These places are beautiful all year-round. But when the leaves begin to change, it’s like a whimsical dream of imagery.

First Autumn Color, June Lake, Sierra Nevada 9-2017 Ι © Don Graham/Flickr

Avenue of the Giants

Drive up north to witness this magnificent sight. The Avenue of the Giants is a scenic highway that runs through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It’s amazing to see all the mighty redwoods along this highway change color.

Avenue of the Giants, Redwood Highway, Myer’s Flat, CA, USA

Sisterwives: Lumberjack Edition 🌲#🎃inthewoods

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Plumas County

Fall in Plumas County creates a bouquet of leafy colors. The best news is that because Plumas County’s elevation is lower compared to the rest of the northern Sierra, the autumn colors tend to last longer. What a feast for the eyes.

Plumas County, CA, USA

Sugarloaf Ridge Park

One of the things that make fall in Sugarloaf Ridge special is that it’s not just the leaves that change color. Sugarloaf Ridge Park is located in the Mayacamas Mountains, where there’s lots of majestic, pine needle-clad redwoods. Watching the delicate needles change color and fall to the earth below is absolutely magical.
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Napa Valley

The vineyards in Napa Valley have one of the longest peaks in the region. Head to Napa Valley in the fall months and you’re sure to catch some of the most breathtaking foliage. Even the grapevines change with the season, transforming into the warmest of color palettes. Snagging a glass of wine from one of the many wineries and watching the changing colors makes for an amazing afternoon.

Napa Valley, CA, USA

Bishop Creek Canyon

Bishop Creek Canyon is a beautifully rugged mountain range that floods with color when the seasons change. The varying elevations of the area create an assortment of color palettes that are absolutely gorgeous and warming.

Bishop Creek Canyon, CA, USA

Hope Valley

Fall really hits in Hope Valley as early as mid-September. The dense forests here create what has been called a near psychedelic display of mesmerizing fall colors. It doesn’t matter if you go to the western side of Hope Valley or the east, each sight will feel more beautiful than the last. Nearby is South Lake Tahoe, which lends itself to an even more stunning setting as fall makes its debut.

Hope Valley, CA, USA