Fall Foliage in the Sierra Mountain Range of California

Believe it or not, California does have seasons – but they change fast! You can catch fall foliage in the Sierra mountain range of California, though in some spots of the higher Sierra you may miss them, so plan early.

As you pass through Groveland on your way to Yosemite, you’ll notice the leaves on the deciduous trees are already falling, though we don’t get a lot of color here in the foothills.  Poison Oak, in the lower elevations, has become a very visible red (be careful if hiking as the bare sticks are still as potent an irritant as the leaves). As you travel up in elevation, you’ll see that the dogwoods are turning a brilliant, beautiful, bright red and the oaks and large leaf maples are becoming golden.  Ferns have already become an understory of beige carpeting, and mountain meadows no longer show off any greenery. 

Once on the eastern side of the Sierra mountain range, you’ll find the dazzling yellow leaves of the aspen, cottonwood, and willows.  Aspen’s proclivity to be organized in groves (they’re actually all one organism), and with their fluttering leaves, they make for a stunning splash of color against the dramatic Sierra slopes.

Orange and yellow maple leavesAutumn not only shows off a different aspect of the forest flora, the cooler temperatures and fewer visitors make this an excellent time to explore Yosemite and surrounding environs.  Though the waterfalls are wispy, the vistas are still stunning, with clear crispy blue air, golden slanting sunlight and miles of trails all to yourself.

Cooler temperatures in the early/late hours, especially in the higher elevations, make hoodies, jumpers, and jackets a necessity.  Mid-days can still be warm, so dress in layers for changeable weather.  Though the summer monsoon season is now over, storms can still move into the Sierra fairly quickly.  Make sure you are prepared with warm dry clothing, snacks to keep your energy up, and a cozy hotel room at the end of the day!


Are you planning to visit Yosemite during this beautiful time of year? If so, you’ll want to have the very best accommodations! The Groveland Hotel in Groveland, California offers top-notch service and inviting ambiance that is sure to make you feel right at home. Our historic boutique hotel is located 30 minutes from Yosemite and is convenient to many Groveland area attractions. Check our current availability and book your stay today.

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