Shorter days, cooler weather and crimson, yellow and orange-hued leaves mark the changing of the seasons – California-style. October through late November is a good time of year to drive to SoCal mountains, state parks and orchards to see vivid fall foliage. Besides enjoying the beautiful scenery, you’ll find family fun activities, too. Don’t forget the camera!
5 Best Places To See See Fall Foliage with Kids In Southern California
Big Bear Lake
Temperatures are ideal for a walk through the forest, which transforms into a sea of gold, crimson and amber in fall. Thousands of evergreen trees bring out the brilliance of fall colors in other trees, such as aspens, cottonwoods and oaks. Some of the best spots to see colorful leaves include Mill Creek Road, The Pine Knot Trail and Castle Rock Trail. The kid-friendly, 1.5-mile (loop) Woodland Trail starts at the Discovery Center and offers scenic fall foliage and lake views.
Good to know: The 44th Annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest kicks off Sept. 9 and continues weekends through Oct. 28, 2017.
Oak Glen, San Bernardino County
About a 90- minute drive from L.A, Oak Glen rivals the bold autumn colors of New England. See the brilliant fall foliage while picking apples and pressing cider. Oak Glen is home to more than 30 orchards in a five-mile loop. Among the oldest is Riley’s Apple Farm in Los Rios Rancho (www.rileysapplefarm.com), a working farm chock full of pioneer activities such as rope making and stacking a log cabin. Relax under the shade of apple trees and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Good to know: Riley’s Apple Farm offers horse-drawn wagon rides through the woods in fall.
Julian, San Diego
Situated about one hour east of San Diego, Julian is a historic gold mining town known for its fall colors and apple pie. More fun things to do with kids include picking apples and panning for gold at the Julian Mining Company (www.julianminingcompany.com). Learn about the area’s gold rush history on a guided tour at the 1870s Eagle and High Peak Mine (760-765-0036). Don’t leave town without an apple pie!
Good to know: November is usually the best time to see vibrant leaves.
Mount San Jacinto State Park, Idyllwild
Like hiking? You’ll find more than 54 scenic trails ideal for enjoying the autumn air and colorful foliage. The one-mile Panorama Point Interpretive Trail is a loop that winds through a mixed conifer forest.
Good to know: While you can drive to Idyllwild, a fun alternative is to ride the rotating Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which brings you to the park’s summit.
Wrightwood, San Gabriel Mountains
Enjoy cool fall breezes and bold splashes of color at this four-season mountain resort that’s about 90 minutes from L.A. Pack a picnic and hit the trails. The Big Pines Nature Trail is ideal for little ones. Stop by the visitor center for trail maps and area information.
Good to know: Warm your taste buds at the annual Chili Cook-Off and Salsa Contest Oct.7, 2017.