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Top 20 Fall Color Destinations in the Sierra Mountains

Fall Alpine County

Sierra REC’s Top Recommended Fall Visits in the Sierra Mountains

As the season’s change in the Sierra, some of the most beautiful scenery bursts into sight from both the road and from the trail. Fall Colors can fade quickly in the Sierra season’s as Winter pushes its way into our lives, so we recommend not holding out on these fall hikes if given a chance.

Lake Tahoe Region

Hope Valley / Reds Lake – Located just a mile North of Red Lake and Carson Pass is a locals favorite for roadside pictures and fall splendor. Hwy 88 has its share of fall destinations, and this one is a must see each fall.

Sorensons Resort (Now Wylder Resort) – HWy classic fall fishing and color retreat, Wylder resort is literally built inside one of the best color stands in the Sierra. Parking is limited but walking the resort, and the hills above are highly recommended.

Camp Richardson Bike Trail  and Taylor Creek- Hwy 89 West side of Tahoe – For a short stretch along Hwy 89 the pine forests give way to a roadside treat of fall colors. Locals also are aware that roads back to the trailhead of Mt tallac are filled with the fall colors and a great afternoon hike.

Spooner Lake – This small lake and trail system off HWy and connections to the Tahoe Rim trail is a great location for families looking for a small fall adventure and lots of color. Take the short hike around the lake and discover what the fall season in like in the high country.

Monitor Pass – Hwy 89 out of Markleville looks a little barron at first but once you reach the top Monitor pass provides visitors with epic High Mountain scenery filled with great color. Park at the road and walk into a large stand of Aspens 8’314 feet.

Wolf Creek – Hwy 4 – Take a hike in the Wilderness (Short hike) Fall in Wolf Creek is spectacular as you follow the stream up the canyon about an half mile (maybe a bit more) until the forest gives way to a valley of Aspens mixed in the pines and high cliffs along Wolf Creek.

Round Lake – Tahoe Rim trail – The hike out to Round Lake on the Tahoe rim trail is one of our favorite fall hikes and surprising color locations. scattered on the forest along the trail are pockets of aspens and the fall color of the meadows are a perfect reflection of fall season.

Olympic Valley – North Lake Tahoe –

Southern Sierra’s _ (East Side of Sierra)

  • June Lake Loop
  • Lundy canyon
  • Convict Lake

  • McGee Creek Canyon- Off Hwy 395 10 miles south of Mammoth Lakes

Southern Sierra (West side of Sierra) – the East side is far more spectacular for fall colors but here are few to try on the Southwest side of the Sierra.

Yosemite Valley

Tunnel View view of the Yosemite Valley from the tunnel entrance to the Valley
The view of the Yosemite Valley from the tunnel entrance to the Valley. Yosemite National Park California ** Note: Soft Focus at 100%, best at smaller sizes
  • Marble Fall Trail in Sequoia National Park
  • Zumwalt Meadow in Sequoia National Park

Northern Sierra/ Lassen

  • Quincy/Bucks Lake Area
  • Chester/Lake Almanor Area
  • Graeagle/Lakes Basin Recreation Area
  • Portola/Lake Davis/Beckwourth
  • Manzanita Lake
Manzanita Lake - Lassen Volcanic National Park
Manzanita Lake – Lassen Volcanic National Park
fall color photo challenge


The Mono county region has their own Fall Colors tour guide here

About the author

Charlie REC magazine - Charlie Pankey ~ Publisher

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