With year-round weather that pretty much stays within one beautiful range, Southern California is a region that does not experience much outside of one exquisite season. For many Californians, this is a great perk to living in the coastal desert region. However, for some home owners who may be a transplant from the Midwest or East Coast or even a Southern California native with an affinity for the changing seasons, the opportunity to see the fall foliage that is coming up this time of year is an exciting prospect.
Although the cities of Southern California don’t see much change in the fall, there are a few destinations that are just a short drive away that can afford visions of the most fiery colors of fall. Here are a few of our favorite areas to get away for a relaxing weekend and to see the bright fall foliage of California in the coming weeks.
Big Bear Lake
Just a short drive outside of Los Angeles lies a haven among the trees of the San Bernardino Mountains known as Big Bear Lake. According to local officials, prime time to see the brilliant contrast of the changing fall foliage among the regions native evergreen is in mid-October to early November. The many trails in and around the park can be somewhat challenging, but the views offered from some of the hard-to-reach sites are well worth the effort.
For families with younger children, there is a 1.5-mile loop that begins at the park’s Discovery Center. Known as the Woodland Trail, this pathway gives hiking novices a great introduction to the local flora and fauna, while views of the foliage and the lake below will inspire awe and amazement of an environment not very far from home.
If you can’t wait until October to view the foliage, head up to Lake Tahoe where the prime time for fall colors occurs a bit earlier in mid- to late-September through October. Starting around this time of year, the Lake Tahoe region features an explosion of fiery reds and rich yellows from its golden aspens, maples and oak in beautiful contrast with the serene blue of the lake.
Some rather exquisite vistas can be viewed from the car as Highway 89 follows the Truckee River Canyon along the lake, however the best views can be had by getting out and hiking some of the area’s trails on foot.
If you’re interested in experiencing the beautiful fall colors while enjoying a superb glass of wine, no experience can be paralleled by visiting the wineries of Napa Valley. Despite the recent catastrophic earthquake, many wineries are rebuilding and are eager as ever to share their precious products with the world. Taking a tour of a winery such as Sterling Vineyards or Smith-Madrone Winery is a wonderful way to view the rolling hills these establishments are situated amongst while also supporting an industry close to the heart of California.
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