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Where to see gorgeous fall foliage in the Bay Area

Written by
Matt Charnock

While San Francisco may be lacking in fall's quintessentially cold weather, you don't have to freeze your ass off in New England to see the leaves change colors (thank gawd). So, while you're loading your Instagram with photos of pumpkin patches and pumpkin spice lattes, be sure to add some Bay Area fall foliage to the mix. Here’s where you can see postcard-worthy autumn backdrops right here in the Bay Area. Use the interactive map on to time your visit so that you get peak color.

Filoli Winery and Gardens

Built around 1910, Filoli Winery and Gardens's 654-acres includes six classical gardens, two terraces and a jaw-dropping orchard. Come late-November, visitors can see fall foliage via molting maples, Virginia creepers, and other hardwood species spread throughout the gardens.

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden

UC Berkley’s 34-acre botanical garden boasts one of the most diverse collections of flora and fauna in California. Among the 10,000 types of plants—which includes rare and endangered species from as far away as East Asia—their resident oak trees start wearing their fall colors sometime in late-November to early-December.

Skyline Ridge Preserve

Skyline Ridge's many trails put hikers and bikers in the path of some of the area’s unspoiled seasonal treasures. Take the Sunny Jim Trail to Horseshoe Lake or the northern portion of the Bay Area Ridge Trail; Both will ensure you get the most out of the fall scenery. 

Sunol Regional Wilderness

This East Bay eden includes nearly 7,000 acres of greenery. For aerial views of Sunol's autumnal bounty, make the 5.3-mile roundtrip trek to the Cerro Este overlook. 

San Francisco Botanical Garden

The San Francisco Botanical Garden is home to dozens of plant varieties that start to change colors come November. The Moon Viewing Garden, featuring an array of Japanese hardwoods that turn blush-red and sunset orange this time of year, is particularly breathtaking.

Eastern Sierra Mountains

Down to take a road trip to see peak fall foliage? The stretch of the Eastern Sierras that hugs Mono, Plumas and Inyo counties offer, arguably, the best fall colors anywhere in California. Drive through either Carson Pass or Hope Valley by taking Route 88 south to Tahoe to get a window-side view of Mother Nature’s late-in-the-year handiwork.

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