Fall in Northern California

by | Sep 23, 2019 | Things to Do

Fall in Northern California  

Most Don’t  automatically think about California in terms of fall colors. The magical displays seem to be contained along the eastern seaboard from New England down to the Southern Appalachians. But California does have its own amazing autumn displays, and if you’re feeling adventurous you can find them this season. Here are a few places to see the fall colors in northern California.  

The Sierra Nevada Mountains 

We’ll admit, this is a several hour drive from the Bay Area, but seeing the Sierra Nevada mountains in the fall is well worth the trip. Peak leaf season in the mountain range tends to be about October, but depending on the weather you can see color from September into December.  

The biggest attraction are the aspen trees, which turn brilliant shades of orange and yellow. And you can take a scenic drive on U.S. Highway 395 along the eastern edge of the mountains to take them all in.  

Napa Valley 

A little closer is Napa Valley, the countries premiere wine region. You can’t beat the area any time of year as you tour the wineries, but it’s a special place in the fall. The last of the year’s grapes are harvested in October and fall colors dot the landscape clear into November.  

Of course, while the leaves will be spectacular, you’ll always have the chance to taste some of the most amazing wines. A fall tour of Napa Valley can be just the ticket for a relaxing long weekend.  

The Salinas River 

This river, the longest river in the central coast of California, starts in the Los Padres National Forest and runs into Monterey Bay. Along the river is a great way to see some fall color, specifically from the western cottonwood trees that grow in the river bottom areas.  

The best views of the Salinas River may be from Highway 101 between San Miguel and King City. This gives you an elevated perspective to see broad sweeps of the bright yellow cottonwoods.  

Big Basin Redwoods State Park 

About 40 minutes north of Santa Cruz is Big Basin Redwoods State Park and the Santa Cruz mountains, which can have some pretty impressive fall color displays. Along with fall colors, you can hike through the state park to see amazing waterfalls and, of course, the massive redwoods the area is known for.  

Driving along Highway 9 will give you some views through the state park as the colors change in the fall. October is usually the peak season, but it can last longer than other areas of the country.  


If you head north from the Bay Area along the cost, you’ll come to the city of Ukiah. What’s impressive here is how the downtown area embraced fall foliage and planted trees specifically to showcase the autumn colors. Check out the small-town life by enjoying a warm beverage in a street side café.  

The town of Ukiah welcomes visitors throughout the months of September, October, and November to get a sense of what beauty their downtown can have.  

Do you want to experience fall in California? Zachery Adam at GoPrime has spent more than 28 years in the Bay Area and works with California clients looking to buy a home in the area today.  We encourage you to talk with the team at GoPrime in California to learn your options and determine the best way to get you in your new home.  Contact Zachery Adam and the team at GoPrime 


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