Scenic Drives For Viewing Fall Colors in Northern California

Though a Northeastern Autumn is something to behold, the West Coast has something spectacular to offer in regard to fall colors as well.

The changing colors of fall leaves have to do with temperature change and altitude, so the colors often reach their peak at different times in different regions. To make sure you don’t miss the best parts of the season, stay connected with people you know who live in the area. Have them update you about what they can see as they drive around their city. You can also do some research and be aware of the areas that receive the most beautiful change each year, then find out from the local visitor’s bureaus when they are expected to reach their peak before you plan your trips. The National Forest Service also has a hotline with weekly updates on color change during this season for all of the United States: 1-800-354-4595

Get your mug of hot coffee or hot tea ready, some nice music, a companion, your camera, and you’re all set to hit the road and take a scenic drive.

Here is a list of some drives in Northern California that are typically beautiful at this time of year, guaranteed to show you reds, oranges, and yellows:

oTake HWY 299 East from Redding towards Burney, take a right on HWY 89 and drive all the way through Lassen National Volcanic Park. From there take the 36 to Red Bluff and then the I-5 back to Redding to complete the loop.

oTake HWY 299 West towards Weaverville. Any chance you see to take a marked hiking trail off the highway is a guaranteed way to immerse yourself in color. Past Weaverville you can continue West to the coast, or head north on HWY 3 up the Trinity Heritage Scenic Byway.

oPlumas County is famous for its fall color shows. From Lassen NVP you could continue South on HWY 89 and merge with the Feather River Scenic Byway near Quincy.

oTo the North, the pass over the Warner Mountains is also spectacular, taking HWY 299 from Alturas to Cedarville will bring life to your drive. Ask the locals about back-country roads while you’re there.

oA drive through the Modoc National Forest from Adin to Susanville along HWY 139 is another of Northern California’s hidden fall secrets.

Enjoy the colors, they don’t last long!