Fall Foliage

Peaceful Autumn Treks Are on the Golden State Breeze

Seeking scenes full of colorful foliage? The California Fall Color blog can help you plan your leaf-peeping adventures.


What to Know

  • California Fall Color blog is now posting 2021 updates to where leaves are turning around the Golden State
  • The national forests remain closed through Sept. 17, 2021
  • The Eastern Sierra and Plumas County are some of the earliest spots to go golden each fall, with Southern California's turn arriving in November and December

We appreciate that California is a large state, one of the very biggest, which means that not everything that happens here happens all at once.

Take fall foliage, which is, yes, a major and majorly stunning autumn sight in several spots around the 31st state.

Some people may claim that "there are no seasons here," or some variation on that oft-visited theme, but if you're in June Lake at the beginning of October, or in Plumas County or near Mt. Shasta near the end of September, you may take umbrage with that assertion.

And the glorious guide for dedicated leaf peepers living in or visiting the Golden State during its most golden stretch of the calendar? It's the California Fall Color blog, which has a most memorable and quirky catchphrase: "Dude, autumn happens here, too."

And autumn is happening, a little, even as the summer of 2021 comes to its toasty conclusion in several parts of the state.

Which means that peepers will soon be legging it for some of the state's higher elevation spots, all to spy aspens, oaks, and those wonderfully clacky cottonwoods, tall trees that do seem to charmingly "click" when a strong wind ruffles their oh-so-clicky yellow leaves.

But wait: Do keep in mind that the national forests will remain closed through Friday, Sept. 17. You'll need to plan your nature treks further out, perhaps for October, or call upon those wilder spots that remain open, like the national or state parks.

Wherever you want to roam, do check your destination's open or closed status before you leave home, and any other details you'll need to know before visiting.

Here's something extremely handy for peepers wanting to know when peak color is coming up at a favorite spot: There's a map on the California Fall Color site, one that gives a clear picture as to when the reds, golds, and oranges are nearly past their prime.

"GO NOW!" is often the enthusiastic call to action on the site, which is helmed by travel expert John Poimiroo.

We're not fully in the "GO NOW!" phase of fall color, which makes sense, since summer is still playing out its last hot-hot-hot act.

But when those calls do come, and they will? They do arrive quickly, meaning peepers may need to keep an overnight bag packed and ready, for any autumnal adventuring they wish to undertake.

Keep tabs now on all things fall foliage. Because, for sure, autumn does happen here, too, leaf-loving dudes.

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