Fall foliage is truly a sight to behold. Familiar shades of green give way to red, orange, yellow, and brown during an incredible seasonal display. We might not have the vast color-changing forests that the East Coast loves to brag about, but here are a few excellent local spots to enjoy this seasonal show.
1. SF Botanical Garden
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is one of the best and most convenient places to catch fall colors in SF. This sprawling green space contains 8,000+ plants across 55 acres with several areas that truly shine in Autumn. The Moon Viewing Garden is the best place to catch a glimpse of these golden leaves, but every corner of this little oasis is worth a visit. Admission is free for SF residents.
Location: 1199 9th Avenue
2. SF Japanese Tea Garden
The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is one of the most tranquil and picturesque areas in San Francisco and is host to a dazzling display of fall color. Take time to stroll along the numerous koi ponds, visit the newly-restored pagoda, and grab a drink at their traditional tea house. Admission is free to SF residents.
Location: 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
3. Filoli Estate & Gardens
Filoli Estate & Gardens in Woodside, CA is home to immaculate gardens and an array of deciduous trees that might feel like the closest thing we have to a New England-style fall. The estate covers 654 acres, with 16 acres occupied by the historic house and gardens. They offer seasonal programs that range from “Summer Nights” to “Holidays at Filoli.” Reservations are required and general admission costs $25.
Location: 86 Cañada Road in Woodside, CA
4. Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden
Berkeley’s Tilden Regional Park is a spectacular 2,079-acre forest with numerous deciduous trees across this hilly park. The best foliage can be seen at the park’s botanic garden which contains numerous cottonwood, dogwood, and other deciduous trees that look spectacular in the fall. Admission is free.
Location: 1550 Wildcat Canyon Rd, Berkeley, CA
5. Mount Tamalpais
There’s no bad season to visit Mt. Tamalpais (Mt. Tam), but fall is especially pretty. The numerous Coast Live Oak and Bay Laurel Trees aren’t known for their brilliant color change but the golden grasslands along the mountainside provide an extraordinary backdrop for your hike. Admission is free, with a fee for some parking areas.
Location: 3801 Panoramic Hwy, Mill Valley, CA
6. Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
Located in the heart of Napa Valley wine country, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is an ideal place to hike, picnic, bike, or even set up camp for the night. For fall color the Redwood Trail offers the best views of the park’s numerous and colorful Maple Trees. Admission is free.
Location: 3801 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA
7. Rancho San Antonio County Park & Open Space Preserve
Another excellent spot in the South Bay is Rancho San Antonio Preserve which offers visitors a unique experience with a sampling of diverse environments, and a variety of activities. The area features over 25 miles of trail throughout the 3,988-acre open space preserve and adjoining 165-acre county park. The color-changing Oak, Persimmon, and Maple trees can be seen from a variety of trails that wind through the preserve. Admission is free.
Location: 22500 Cristo Rey Dr Cupertino, CA
Featured image:@_filoli via Instagram