Where to Find Fall Colors in Calaveras and Beyond

Tracking fall colors is an art that locals know well. But to find fall colors takes patience. Some years fall colors creep up on you like a playful scamp and take you by surprise, ruffling green leaves with a dusting of yellow as early as late August. Other times, fall colors explode on the scene in unison, as if by plan. However fall unfolds in Calaveras and the Ebbetts Pass corridor, it is always a site to behold.

Wondering how possible PGE PSPS events will impact your travel in Calaveras County and the Ebbetts Pass corridor? Learn more through our Guide to Calaveras PSPS Events here. 

High Sierra and Gold Country Corridor Fall Colors

Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway
Beautiful fall colors on the byway | Laurie Ahlberg

Situated with our westernmost region in the Gold Country corridor and Highway 4 running East through the High Sierra Ebbetts Pass corridor, fall colors typically begin showing in higher elevations before moving towards our historic Gold Country towns:

Angel Camp (pictured below) I Copperopolis I Mokelumne Hill I Murphys CA I San Andreas Area I Valley Springs Area

Historic Angels Camp glowing gorgeous in the fall. I Courtesy of Instagrammer @ctlight

Maximize Fall Fun:Whether getting cozy at a local winery or restaurant between fall color expeditions, make sure to explore Calaveras’ fall itineraries  and biggest fall events such as the Calaveras Grape Stomp and Street Faire (Sat Oct. 5th 2019), Mark Twain Wild West Fest (Sat. Oct. 19th 2019), Halloween events, and Murphys Day of the Dead Sat. (Nov. 2nd 2019).

Murphys Day of the Dead | David Gonzales
Murphys Day of the Dead | David Gonzales

With fall colors come crisp, cool temperatures and welcome smatterings of rain whose fragrant hues add to the colorful sensory festival that is one of the most beautiful times of year in the Gold Country and High Sierra. To get in on this delectable fall color action, it’s time to pack your camera, light layers, and delectable warm beverage of choice as you prepare to head out for some glorious fall color.

Looking for dogwoods? Find the gorgeous fall color dogwoods show from yellow to orange, to red, and then to a near translucent pink (as pictured above) just before the leaves fall, anywhere from Avery to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The best trails to find dogwoods are at Big Trees, on the Arnold Rim Trail and at White Pines Lake.

Calaveras Fall Colors, Find Fall Colors
Calaveras Big Trees State Park Fall Colors I Courtesy of Instagrammer @susantaylorphotography

The secret to experiencing the changing hues in this part of the country is to slow down and be ready for the unexpected. Among the evergreen conifers of the Arnold Rim Trail and Calaveras Big Trees State Park, you’ll find bursts of color in the dogwood trees, and swathes of lemon yellow at the higher elevations around Big Meadow and Bear Valley among the aspen groves.

Rather than the huge forests of color that are found in the northeast, here fall colors change the familiar sights and smells of otherwise evergreen trails, adding visual depth and dimension that leaves you asking yourself if you’ve ever visited these trails and roads before. Each year the visual nuances change in subtle waves, making it all the more fun to plan to hunt fall colors at least twice in the season to notice the nuanced changes first hand. But don’t take our word for it, go out and discover the subtle magic of these shifting colors for yourself.

Looking to get creative outdoors? Let these images from around the county and Ebbetts Pass corridor inspire you to capture your own.

Fall Colors on the Arnold Rim Trail | Jason B Smith
Dogwood leaves carpet the forest floor on a morning bike ride on the Arnold Rim Trail | Jason B Smith
Fall colors: meadow | Jason B Smith
A cold fall morning brings the steam off a meadow in Avery, highlighting the golden tones of the grass. | Jason B Smith
Fall colors: Big Meadow bouldering | Jason B Smith
An afternoon workout framed by golden aspen trees in Big Meadow, near Spicer Road in eastern Calaveras County. | Jason B Smith
Fall Colors, Find Fall Colors
Fall colors at Calaveras Big Trees | Jason B Smith

Happy travels!