GOOD-HEARTED PESTERING: If we feel for anyone come the happy foliage days of fall, it is for the people who cover the phones at various visitors' bureaus and chambers of commerce. Those are the tireless employees on the frontlines of the foliage watch, and they must get inquiring calls throughout late September and all of October. And all of the calls ask this: "Are the leaves changing yet?" And then the nice employee stands, walks to a window, and gives the out-of-town caller a full, up-to-the-minute report on the trees that can be seen from the visitors' bureau office.
AND... this is understandable. It can be difficult to predict the change, and when it comes, it arrives with a briskness that is both notable and fleeting. So, yep, leaf-peepers want to be on-schedule, but that schedule varies from year-to-year, depending upon the dryness of the previous winter, overnight lows, and several other meteorological, nature-based factors. Nevada City surely gets many a call starting in September, but the oh-so-picturesque northern Gold Country burg goes a step further: They've got a downloadable brochure.
TRUE... the brochure isn't going to tell you just when the trees dotting the hilly town'll go crimson and gold, but it'll give you a great idea what to watch for. The higher elevations of the region tend to start seeing autumn hues in September, while Nevada City and Grass Valley can go full bore in the glorious department come October. Want to keep tabs on one of the prettiest fall (and anytime) cities in California? Best watch this space, leaf-peeping, visitors'-bureau-phoning eager beavers. ("Eager beaver" is a compliment, of course; what is fall foliage-tracking without some eager-beaver-ness?)