This can be a visitor publish by Jamie English.

California might not be the primary state you consider in your subsequent fall getaway, however it’s doable to do some unimaginable leaf-peeping right here. Mix the altering colours of the timber with the state’s well-known golden mild and mildly chilly temperatures, and California turns into its personal journey worthy autumnal vacation spot.

Listed here are the highest eight locations to go to in your subsequent fall journey as a solo feminine traveler:

1. Japanese Sierra Nevadas

The jap aspect of the Sierra Nevada mountain vary is among the finest locations you possibly can expertise fall foliage in California. It extends for about 400 miles and will be simply accessed alongside Freeway 395 north of Los Angeles. It’s a lot much less visited than the western aspect, giving it a way of solitude among the many altering leaves in early October. 

On this space, you’ll discover groves of aspen mingling with cottonwoods, willows, and native grasses. Temperatures can get chilly because the wind comes down off the mountains into the desert, so convey layers in the course of the day and gown heat at evening as you’re taking within the autumn vibes. 

The colours look wonderful always of day, however remember to catch dawn or sundown as usually as you possibly can to see the timber actually mild up.

An ideal day right here could be to soak in Travertine sizzling springs within the morning, then head out for a day of leaf-peeping at Lundy Canyon and Conway Summit till the solar units. On the southern finish of the Sierras, discover your fall colour kick at Rock Creek Street and Lake, then hike from there to Little Lakes Valley; or begin your day at North Lake Street with a hike to Lake Sabrina. End the day with a soak at Wild Willy’s Sizzling Spring. And don’t overlook to search for on the stars. This a part of the state has one of many darkest evening skies you’ll see!

Tenting abounds, however if you happen to don’t have the best gear to remain heat, we suggest making your house base in Bridgeport on the historic and quaint Bridgeport Inn, or in Mammoth Lakes on the just lately up to date Outbound Mammoth.

2. The Redwoods

California’s coastal redwoods might not be the simplest to get to on the far western nook of the state, however if you happen to make the 5-6-hour trek from San Francisco or Sacramento, then you’re in for a mind-blowing getaway. 

The redwoods are on common 500-700 years previous, with among the oldest being as much as 2,000 years. Having lived that lengthy, these timber are among the many largest you’ll ever encounter — over 300 toes tall and 20-30 toes broad. Add the colourful fall foliage of big-leaf maples, dogwood, and black oak timber, and your senses can be utterly lit up. 

redwood trees in humboldt california

Temperatures can be within the 60s, and the ocean brings a cool crispness to the air that’s ideally suited for climbing among the many giants. One benefit of a fall journey right here is you can go later within the season and nonetheless discover unimaginable colours. Plan for a visit from mid-October by way of mid-November for the very best leaf-peeping present.

Head to Humboldt Redwoods State Park to hike alongside the gorgeous Eel River, drive the Avenue of the Giants, and even take a journey on a gondola or prepare. Another choice additional north is a go to to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, the place you’ll discover the very best fall foliage on the Cathedral Bushes and Massive Tree Circle trails. 

Different unimaginable sights within the space embrace the 1,500-year-old Massive Tree Wayside, herds of grazing elk, coastal cliffs at Patrick’s Level State Park, and the Jurassic-like Fern Canyon. You too can drive to the three different parks that make up California’s Redwood State and Nationwide Parks: Del Norte Coast, Jedidiah Smith, and Redwood.

Tenting is obtainable at all the state and nationwide parks, however if you happen to don’t need the trouble of tenting gear, take a look at Scotia Lodge, close to the doorway to Avenue of the Giants.

3. Western Sierra Nevadas 

As the most important excessive alpine lake within the US, Lake Tahoe is spectacular 12 months spherical (see the very best issues to do in summer time and winter), however come within the fall to look at because the aspens flip gold and showcase in opposition to the lake’s clear blue water. 

Inside a number of quick hours’ drive from Sacramento or Reno, you will be immersed in colourful aspen groves on the Taylor Creek Customer Heart and Camp Richardson on the south shore. Take a sluggish stroll alongside the boardwalk and breathe in all the autumn feels.

While you’re carried out there, head to the Eagle Creek Falls path for an array of colourful timber and crops by the river’s edge, a vigorous waterfall on the finish of the hike, and views of Emerald Bay alongside the way in which. When you’re feeling daring, you possibly can cross the street and go down a stone staircase to stroll alongside the highest of a second waterfall because it plunges down over granite.

The sunsets are unimaginable right here as the times shorten and the skies flip pink, casting delicate hues over the mountains and lake. Be certain that to choose a spot alongside the lake or at a viewpoint and settle in for a colourful present because the day ends. 

With a number of days, you may as well soak up a scenic drive alongside Luther’s Cross or Carson Cross Freeway by way of close by Hope Valley. Simply half-hour from South Lake Tahoe, the Aspen forests right here encompass the roads and open meadows.

If heading into the mountains, your finest wager is to purpose for mid-October, however be certain that to comply with a fall foliage predictor like this one if you’ll be able to make a spontaneous day or weekend journey.

Keep at The Coachman, probably the greatest boutique accommodations in Lake Tahoe, for a heat and trendy atmosphere, or on the just lately renovated Desolation Lodge in Hope Valley for cabin getaway vibes.

4. Sacramento and the Sierra Nevada Foothills

For a much less crowded space on the western aspect of the Sierra Nevadas, small Gold Rush cities one hour east of Sacramento are nestled within the foothills and surrounded by an enormous number of deciduous timber that can make your jaw drop come October. 

For instance, quaint Nevada Metropolis is simply the best place to walk with a heat drink in hand on a cool autumn day. Right here yow will discover maples, ash, American candy gums, and birch timber (amongst others) with each shade of purple, orange, and yellow you possibly can think about. 

After spending a lazy morning on the town exploring the eating places and buying, take a hike on the Cascade Canal Path, and remember to catch a sundown up Freeway 20 at this roadside viewpoint. Keep close by in Grass Valley on the restored Holbrooke Lodge. 

For extra enjoyable fall actions, head to Apple Hill and drive alongside the farm path. Apple Hill is thought for its U-pick apple orchards, and are available fall, you’ll discover loads of colour and festivities in addition to pie and heat cider. Some favorites embrace sizzling apple cider donuts at Rainbow Orchards, espresso or apple cider flights at Grandpa’s Cellar, or a glass of wine with a view from Edio Vineyards on the family-run Delfino Farms. Apple Hill is an area favourite and does get crowded, so attempt to come on a weekday if you happen to can, or purpose to reach as early as doable on the weekend. 

Keep near the farms in Placerville on the Historic Cary Home Lodge, or make the drive to downtown Sacramento for a room at The Citizen Lodge. The benefit of staying in Sacramento is you can go to each foothill cities in a single weekend, or you possibly can spend your second weekend having fun with California’s capital metropolis, previously often called the Metropolis of Bushes. Your want for autumn leaves received’t be disillusioned by spending half a day in Midtown or Land Park, adopted by a stroll alongside the American River. Head to Paradise Seaside for straightforward river-trail entry from downtown.

5. The California Desert

You received’t discover conventional fall leaves in California’s deserts, however you’ll discover excellent temperatures, epic landscapes, golden sunsets, and possibly even a dusting of snow! 

If you wish to go to any of California’s desert areas, October and November are among the finest instances to go. Cooler temperatures imply you possibly can hike at any time of the day, and if you happen to discover a dwelling with a jacuzzi, you possibly can soak within the crisp air at evening whilst you gaze on the stars. 

Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, two hours east of LA, is commonly graced with a dusting of snow within the fall and winter months, making the sight of its twisted cacti much more intriguing.

Keep within the well-liked Joshua Tree Home or Joshua Tree Acres if you happen to don’t wish to pitch a tent in one of many park’s 9 campgrounds. 

death valley national park in winter

When you’re in search of a quieter escape and larger-than-life views, soak up a dawn or sundown at both Font’s Level in Anza Borrego State Park (two hours east of San Diego) or Zabriskie Level in Loss of life Valley Nationwide Park (5-6 hours northeast of Los Angeles). Each landscapes are so surreal within the delicate mild that you just’ll suppose they’re painted backdrops.

And don’t fear, you possibly can nonetheless get your fill of unbelievable, eye-popping colour by strolling by way of the Artist’s Palette in Loss of life Valley, the place oxidized iron compounds, decomposing mica, and manganese minerals create a rainbow-like show. 

Keep on the adults-only Borrego Valley Inn or retro Hacienda del Sol in Anza Borrego, or The Oasis at Loss of life Valley in Loss of life Valley. (See different lodging and tenting choices in Loss of life Valley right here.)

6. Yosemite Nationwide Park

Yosemite Nationwide Park is among the most iconic areas on the planet, however seeing it dressed up in fall colours takes the fantastic thing about this granite valley to new heights. 

Quaking aspen, big-leaf maple, deer brush, white alder, and cottonwoods shift to yellow; dogwoods and sugar maples flip purple; and black oak turns into golden orange all through October. Stroll the valley ground path to take all of it in earlier than heading off to catch a glimpse of Yosemite’s well-known waterfalls: Vernal, Bridalveil, and Decrease Yosemite. 

The top of October and starting of November may convey mild snow that covers the valley whereas the autumn foliage nonetheless stays. Take into account your self fortunate if you’re one of many few guests who will get to expertise Yosemite in these circumstances! 

For an accessible view over the entire valley, drive the quick distance to Tunnel View. Sundown right here will convey out the autumn colour for the final word leaf-peeping expertise.

One other must-see viewpoint for sundown is Taft Level. As a substitute of leaves, the solar itself creates heat pinks and reds throughout the rocks because it pours over the valley on its technique to setting. To search out Taft Level, take the Glacier Level Street (open till the primary snow in November) up from the valley ground and stroll the one mile from the trailhead car parking zone for an exhilarating view over a sheer cliff. Keep in mind to convey a flashlight or headlamp for the quick however darkish hike again to your automobile after the solar units!

For a better drive to Yosemite, attempt flying into Sacramento and heading three hours southeast. In any other case you can also make the six-hour drive up from Los Angeles. 

Keep within the valley, if you happen to can, at Curry Village or the beautiful Ahwahnee. If there is no such thing as a availability you may as well take into account staying simply outdoors the park, at Rush Creek Lodge or AutoCamp Yosemite.

7. Coastal Wine Nations

mendocino headlands state park

For an sudden autumn location, head to the laid-back wine international locations of Anderson Valley, simply 40 minutes east of Mendocino alongside California’s northern coast, or Paso Robles, northeast of San Luis Obispo.

Each valleys are peaceable and crammed with vineyard-covered rolling hills that flip shades of orange, yellow, and purple come November for a late-season present. The coastal marine layer provides to the cooler fall ambiance, however you possibly can heat up from the within out with a glass of wine in hand as you loosen up at one of many wineries and benefit from the views.

For picture-perfect vistas and nonalcoholic grape juice choices in Anderson Valley, head to Navarro, one of many first vineyards to be planted within the space within the Nineteen Seventies. Maintain issues within the household with a cease on the homeowners’ daughter’s location, Pennyroyal Farms, and order the complete charcuterie board, full with goat and sheep cheese constituted of the resident herd, which you’ll be able to watch grazing beneath the rows of grapevines simply off the again patio.

One other enjoyable possibility for fall vibes in Anderson Valley is a go to to Gowan’s Heirloom Cider, the place you possibly can select from seven ciders as you wander among the many 150-year-old apple timber on the property of this multigenerational orchard.

Lastly, stroll off your food and drinks with a redwood hike down the street at Hendy Woods State Park’s Massive Henry and Little Hendy groves, and end your day with a keep in certainly one of three pastoral farm cottages at The Apple Farm, or a comfy boutique resort for a great evening’s relaxation.

In Paso Robles, you’ll discover wonderful views just by taking a scenic drive alongside Freeway 46 West. Flip proper at Winery Drive for a picturesque street lined with oaks and sycamore timber. Try Jada Winery and Vineyard within the Templeton Hole to be immersed outdoors in fall colours from the again patio. Or for the final word view over the colourful vineyards, guide a hilltop expertise at Adelaida Vineyards, the place you’re pushed as much as the very best level in Paso Robles and supply a wine tasting and cheese board, full with walnuts grown on the property.

Discover extra native walnuts, together with jam, honey, pumpkins, apples, and different native produce, on the widespread U-pick farms Jack Creek Farms or Avila Valley Barn for an additional fall outing. Keep on the beautiful, centrally situated Allegreto Winery Resort for on-site tastings and meals.

Within the night, remember to take a look at Sensorio, a everlasting mild set up by artist Bruce Munro that covers the hillsides and sways within the breeze. On the weekends, the $43 basic admission ticket contains dwell music in addition to meals and drinks for buy. Opening hours differ and vary from 4:30 to 10:00 pm. 

8. San Diego

Although not an apparent first selection for a fall location, there are a number of distinctive components that place San Diego on this record. When you love the festivity of fall however aren’t a fan of the chilly, that is the place for you, as town stays an ideal 75 levels many of the 12 months, together with within the fall.

Are available in September and also you’ll expertise one thing solely locals actually learn about: heat waters. The ocean is already delicate this time of 12 months, however usually a swell comes from the south that brings tropical waters. This implies you possibly can swim within the ocean with out a wetsuit—and with out the summer time crowds—in September. For seaside lovers, it’s the very best time of 12 months to be within the metropolis. Go to Ocean Seaside, Torrey Pines, or Coronado for our favourite locations to take pleasure in a swim within the ocean.

If swimming isn’t your factor, drive alongside the Level Loma Peninsula to Cabrillo Nationwide Monument in November, after daylight financial savings has ended, to expertise the lighthouse, ocean cliffs, tide swimming pools, and views over downtown San Diego at sundown. Because of the park’s early 5 pm closing hour, that is the one time of 12 months if you will be there to look at the sundown.

Talking of which, San Diego’s sunsets are at their finest within the fall. Chances are high good you’ll see an enormous show of purple and pink clouds over an orange sky that can utterly engulf you. For an alternate location, make your technique to Sundown Cliffs. It does get crowded, however the fantastic thing about the blue water in opposition to the orange cliffs at sundown is so mesmerizing, you actually received’t thoughts.

What actually makes San Diego wonderful within the fall, nevertheless, is you can have all of it: seashores, ocean views, and heat climate, mixed with a day journey into the close by mountains for the complete breadth of autumn actions and sights.

Julian is the best cease for an enthralling mountain city and scrumptious apple pies; Mount Laguna is the place to be for climbing in forest meadows or alongside the Pacific Crest Path, with views over the desert under; and Palomar Mountain brings all of the altering leaves to fulfill your want for fall colour!

After you’ve taken in every thing San Diego has to supply, keep in Level Loma at The Pearl for a boutique, retro resort that hosts enjoyable occasions all through the season, or in North Park on the just lately reimagined Lafayette Lodge, constructed within the Forties and graced by Hollywood’s celebrities from that point.


California could also be notorious for its delicate climate and heat daylight, however hold this record readily available as you propose your fall journey, and also you’ll discover that the state continues to be stuffed with surprises ready to be found by any solo feminine traveler. Get on the street and be prepared for some sudden fall colours and experiences!

READ NEXT: The Excellent California Itinerary

Concerning the creator: Jamie English is a lifetime traveler and mama of two babes. She shares her data and experiences of household journey on her weblog, A Household Atlas.


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