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Oak Glen
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Don GrahamOak Glen

Where to see the best fall foliage around L.A.

Despite L.A.’s summery reputation, autumn does come to the city—and produces some of the best fall foliage around

Michael Juliano
Edited by
Michael Juliano
Written by
Stephanie Morino
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Los Angeles might be known for its year-round summer-like weather and beaches, but there is a reason to celebrate the fall season, as well. From pumpkin patches to Halloween events, there are plenty of fall activities to keep you from missing warmer days. In fact, one of the best is enjoying the colorful fall foliage around L.A.—yes, it does exist. From nearby gardens to the local mountains, there are plenty of spots to enjoy the colorful fall foliage all around L.A., so you’ll never have to envy those East Coasters again.

Where to see the best fall foliage around L.A.

Fall is a big deal in Oak Glen. If you’re up for the roughly hour-and-a-half drive, you’ll be greeted by trees in an array of bright colors. Nestled in the heart of apple country, visitors will also be greeted by the apple harvest, typically from Labor Day Weekend until Thanksgiving. Enjoy the fall foliage while sipping on homemade apple cider at local ranches.

Just a heads up that you may find some hillsides scorched from 2020’s El Dorado fire.

The mountains are always the best place to catch fall foliage, and one of the closest—and easiest to get to—is Big Bear. With plenty of trees surrounding the lake, the key is arriving at the right time. According to Big Bear’s tourism website, the area’s fall foliage is at its peak from mid-October to early November. You’ll see evergreen trees, aspens, cottonwoods and oaks transform the horizon into a sea of gold, crimson amber and yellow. The locations to see the autumn colors are Mill Creek Road, the Pine Knot Trail and Castle Rock Trail.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • La Cañada

Though this delightful tribute to the horticultural magic of Southern California is known for its more than 600 varieties of camellia flowers (best seen between February and May), there’s plenty to see during the fall months, as well. According to the garden’s website, visitors can expect to see fall foliage during October and November. In October, you’ll also see sasanqua camellias and roses, while in November you can expect toyon berries, annuals and ginkgo.

  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • San Marino

There’s not a bad time of year to visit the Huntington Library’s many gardens. According to the venue’s website, fall foliage is at its peak in November, when you can see trees like American sweetgum, Koelreuteria henryi and Lion’s ear in all their colorful glory. During the fall months, visitors will also enjoy seeing the bloom of fall fruits, including the berry-like fruit that grows on Washington hawthorns. Circle the blocks surrounding the gardens on your way out for some extra foliage.

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Not all fall foliage means crinkly leaves: Because the Palos Verdes Peninsula is right on the coast, wildflowers bloom year-round—even in the fall. Plants like Heteromeles, arroyo lupine and California fuchsia bloom during the fall months, offering a unique array of colors. You can head to any number of the nature preserves on the peninsula—the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, Linden H. Chandler Preserve, George F. Canyon and White Point Nature Preserve—to catch a glimpse. Don’t want to work that hard? You can also head to the South Coast Botanical Garden for more curated, traditional fall foliage.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Arcadia

These gorgeous grounds in Arcadia have been designed as an educational facility (the plants are mostly arranged by region, and tours are available), but many people simply come here for a little peace and quiet as they take in the beautiful sights. Come in the fall and you’ll see the trees and plants changing colors. If you’re on the hunt for fall foliage, you’re best bet is to check out the Celebration Garden, the Grace V. Kallam Perennial Garden and the Meadowbook Garden, where you’ll also enjoy a beautiful view of the San Gabriel Mountains.

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