Fall in Northern California- 8 Best Places to Visit This Fall (For Leaf Peepers!)
When you think of Fall in US, the Northeastern states shine the brightest with their picturesque yellow, orange and red foliage. My dream is to one day take a fall road trip through New Hampshire and Vermont for the ultimate leaf peeping trip. And one day I will make that happen! But for now I am enjoying Fall in Northern California which can be quite beautiful as well. Here in California we do get some gorgeous foliage color change. It happens quickly, in fact it’s already happening now as I write this post! Depending on the weather and elevation the foliage starts peaking around mid October.
Check out this Fall leaf map for weekly updates on the peak of the fall foliage!
Here are the 8 best places to experience fall in Northern California.
One of the best things to do here in Northern California for fun fall activities is a visit to apple hill. This community of apple farms peak during apple season in the fall and offer all the best apple baked goods, cider tasting and beautiful farms for the country life vibes. This is my favorite way to start off the fall season- I have gone every fall season for the past 4 years. I even wrote all about my favorite farms to visit.
Yosemite is amazing to visit anytime of year, but the fall is said to be especially magical. Not only for the beautiful fall colors, but the summer crowds have thinned out and the park will be more enjoyable to visit. I will be visiting Yosemite during the fall for the first time this November. And I will write about my fall visit, so stay tuned for that!
This amazingly massive waterfall is a must see and beautiful to visit in the Fall. You will find less crowds and beautiful fall foliage. And with a constant flow of 100 million gallons a day the falls is always impressive to see at any time of year. It’s a easy walk down to the falls from the parking lot. There is also a 1 mile loop trail you can follow for an easy short hike through the forest.
Beautiful Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite places to visit in Northern California. The giant lake borders California and Nevada and always offers stunning views. The foliage in the fall is a beautiful array of yellow and orange from the aspen trees changing colors. The colors in Lake Tahoe usually peak around mid October… I am planning to visit next weekend which is the second to last weekend of October and hoping to catch some of the last fall foliage. According to the leaf tracker the peak is happening right now, so keep your fingers crossed for me that it lasts another week!
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Wood National Monument is just north of San Francisco in Marin County and is one of the Coastal Redwood Forests in which can only be found in California. Visiting during the fall is ideal for nice weather and less crowds. I wrote all about visiting the gorgeous state park here including how to get your required parking reservation prior to arriving at the park!
Wine lovers, this is for you! Wine tasting amongst the yellow foliage sounds pretty amazing to me. With cooler weather this makes it an enjoyable time of year to visit and explore wine country. Some favorite wineries are Robert Mondavi and Sterling Vineyards (has a scenic gondola ride).
Mono County/June Lake
This is #1 on my list for next year’s fall leaf peeping and I was sad I couldn’t squeeze it in this year. Located just outside of Yosemite, this area is supposed to have some of the most amazing fall colors in California. Drive the 16 mile June Lake Loop for the best fall views and explore up to 4 lakes along the way! You can just drive part of the loop or make a day of the whole thing.
Half Moon Bay
Here you won’t find the fall foliage but Half Moon Bay has some great pumpkin patches and fun farms to visit. And it is also likely to be great weather as the bay area tends to be foggy during the summer. At the beginning of September you can also find U-Pick sunflower at Andreottis’s Family Farms followed by their pumpkin patch and corn maze in October. Some great farms to visit are: Andreottis Family Farm, Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch, Lemos Family Farm. Half Moon Bay also has some beautiful beaches and delicious sea food, especially the lobster rolls at Sam’s Chowder House!
I hope this gave you some inspiration for something to do this fall to enjoy the season! Fall is definitely my favorite. And these are the 8 best places to experience Fall in Northern California!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog, and be sure to check back weekly for new posts- I post every Wednesday!