Fall colors are still all around even as we enter December, creating a picturesque landscape just in time for the festive season. Lara Kaylor, the editor of California Fall Color, describes this year's foliage as one of the most stunning in over a decade. Although the Bay Area isn't renowned for its native fall foliage, there are plenty of enchanting spots to witness this seasonal transformation.
Exploring Fall Colors in the Bay Area:
One standout recommendation from Kaylor is the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, offering a stunning display of non-native fall colors. With peak conditions in the Eastern United States garden and the Asia collection, it's a must-visit. The nearby Wildcat Creek Trail in Tilden Regional Park provides an opportunity to combine a hike with fall color sightings in the East Bay.
In San Francisco, the Japanese Tea Garden and the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park promise an excellent display of autumnal hues. On the Peninsula, streets in Burlingame, Hillsborough, and Palo Alto are adorned with colorful trees. This year's highlight is near State Street Market in Los Altos, featuring brilliant red Chinese pistache trees.
Beyond the Bay:
Venturing beyond the immediate Bay Area, the Santa Cruz Mountains offer pockets of fall foliage in Uvas Canyon County Park, Patchen Pass, Summit Road, Roaring Camp, Highway 9, and Stevens Canyon Road. In Marin, San Rafael's downtown streets showcase trees changing color, while the drive through Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Samuel P. Taylor State Park presents breathtaking patches of gold and yellow.
For a sensory treat, double up a Wine Country tasting trip with a visual feast of grapevine leaves turning golden. Yountville is particularly recommended, with surrounding vineyards nearing peak conditions.
Whether exploring botanical gardens, hiking trails, or the vibrant streets of Bay Area towns, there's no shortage of opportunities to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of fall while we hang onto this season for just a few more weeks. So, grab your camera and take a stroll through these picturesque landscapes before it is officially winter.