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 fall theater, 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 from Labor Day Weekend until Thanksgiving. Enjoy the fall foliage while sipping on homemade apple cider at local ranches like Riley’s Farm.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Don Graham
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 mountain’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.
Though this delightful tribute to the horticultural magic of Southern California is known for its more than 600 varieties of camellia flower (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.
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.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Lawrence
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.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Tracie Hall
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.