American Valley in Plumas County in the fall

Photo by Mark Kidder

Awesome Autumn Northern California

Another Awesome Autumn Anticipated for 2022

Fall colors start to show throughout Plumas County, usually late September, and last until mid-November. Plumas County has a diversity of trees, plants and a wide range of elevations creating some of the best “leaf peeping” in California. Plan a visit to Plumas County and enjoy an Awesome Autumn with the crowds. Check out our Fall Colors Guide to learn more about the best places to go and what to look for.

Update 11/03/2022

We have “snowliage”! A storm across the Northern Sierra brought some much needed snow and rain to the region. The wind knocked down some of the fall color and made for a special morning with sparkly-white dustings on red, yellow, and orange leave. This will likely be our last Awesome Autumn update of the year, but there are still some pockets of good color out there–especially in towns and at lower elevations. In fact, the award winning Blog “California Fall Color” featured Plumas County this week with photos from local photographer Michael Beatley.

The black oaks (the last to change) are holding strong around Quincy, Taylorsville, and Genesee Valley. It’s likely that the lower Feather River Canyon is still beautiful too (anyone have any pictures?). 

On November 2, we had a report that fall color is bold along highway 32 between Forest Ranch and the Highway 36 junction. Chester and the Lake Almanor Basin have been a bit behind on the fall color this year so it may be worth a snowy walk out to the Olsen Barn to peep on the willows and cottonwoods along the North Fork of the Feather River.

It’s always a little sad when fall color starts to fade. But the good news is that we can begin to plan weekend winter adventures to ski, sled, and snowshoe. If you celebrate Christmas or Yule, Plumas County is a great place to cut your own conifer–learn about getting a tree permit.

Update 10/28/2022

This would make a fantastic weekend to head out to Taylorsville and Genesee Valley to enjoy a bike ride, picnic at the Heart K Ranch, or drive up to Antelope Lake. We’ve heard the cottonwoods along Indian Creek are turning bright yellow and the black oaks along the Genesee-Beckwourth road are golden, red, and umber.

A special “thank you” to all the local amateur and professional photographers who have been providing us with these beautiful images and inspiring us to get out!

Update 10/25/2022

The weather has taken a turn with cold nights and mornings and our first hard freeze “in town”. But there is still lots of good fall color in and around Quincy. La Porte Road is beautiful and makes for a lovely drive with vibrant maples and oaks. If you want to hit the dirt on your mountain bike, moto, or off-road vehicle, Mount Hough has some amazing views and the black oaks are really starting to pop.

We have reports that fall color is a bit behind in Chester and the Almanor Basin, but Mill Creek is still pretty. Looking for a special outing before the snow flies? Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park has some beautiful fall color and is always a lovely picnic spot.

Update 10/19/2022

Fall color is in full splendor right now with reports of near-peak color around Lake Davis (aspen groves) in the east and Mill Creek (cottonwoods and willows) in the northwest. The aspens around Bucks Lake have turned golden and out on La Porte Road the show is getting good too. Take a stroll around downtown Quincy for a truly special experience this week. No time to loose!

Indian Valley and Genesee are a little further behind at about 25% fall color. We think these locations will be near peak next week. The changes start to happen fast with cooler temps and a little rain in the forecast.

Plumas County black oaks, which are the last to change, are beginning to show gold, orange, and red around our mountain valleys. If you are looking for black oaks take a drive around American Valley (Quincy) and hike the South Park trail system. Indian Valley and Genesee Valley also have large oak groves. Take a drive to the Heart K Ranch for gorgeous views and country charm.

If you work up an appetite while leaf-peeping, we have compiled a guide of local eateries offering seasonal treats.

Lastly, if you enjoy wildlife viewing, the Kokanee are running in Bucks Creek. What a special time of year to be in the great outdoors!

Update 10/12/2022

Autumn leaves are really starting to pop along Plumas County trails. By foot or by bike, some of our fall-favorite routes are the Cascades Trail on Spanish Creek for big leaf maples and dogwoods, the trails around Bucks Lake (Mill Creek and Bucks Creek Loop) for aspens, ferns, and mountain lilac (spirea), Mount Hough for black oaks, and the Bear Lakes Loop in the Lakes Basin for buckwheats and higher elevation foliage. Oh, and the Jamison Mine Trail, in Plumas-Eureka State Park, has a beautiful stand of aspens up near Grass Lake too!

For trail descriptions read our Plumas Hiking Guide and the Plumas Mountain Biking Guide.

Road biking is another great way to see fall color in the region! Read the Plumas Cycling Guide to plan your ride.

Update 10/4/2022

The weather is wonderful for being outdoors. The nigh-time temps dip into the low 40s but days are perfect with temperatures ranging from the high 60’s to low 80’s depending on where you are at. Fall colors are really starting to pop! This is the time to book your fall get-a-way. Find the perfect lodging or campsite.

Traveling with the kids? Check-out Lil’ Megs Pumpkin Patch in Sierra Valley. They are open every weekend in October from 10 am to 5 pm.  Pumpkins range from small to very large, and they have a fun corn maze and fall-themed games.   We’ve heard the fresh homemade baked goods are delicious too.

For an extra special outing take the Pumpkin Express from the Portola Train Museum to Lil’ Megs Pumpkin Patch. The train departs hourly from 1 pm to 5 pm on October 15th, 16th and 22nd and 23rd. Memories are to be made and cherished in Plumas County!

Update 9/25/2022

We had a lovely storm system roll in earlier this week making for misty mornings and beautiful sunsets. The rain knocked down the dust and gently soaked the forest. Trail conditions are great for hiking and mountain biking right now. In addition to early fall color with willows, golden grasses, and maples starting to turn, fall fruits like apples, chokecherries, and pears are ripe. With cooler temps and that little rain, fall fishing is starting too! There’s a lot to discover in Plumas County this time of year.

Update 9/13/2022

None knew what would happen with the fabulous fall foliage after last year’s Dixie Fire and the ongoing California drought. But good news! We are happy to report that the splendor of the fall season is just beginning in Plumas County with creekside willows turning golden, chokecherries ablaze in red, and hints of color change in the maples and oaks. Don’t sleep on leaf peeping this year–an Awesome Autumn it will be!

Please visit often for updates here and on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Share your Fall Foliage Photos with Us!

We love seeing your adventures in Plumas County. Send your photos and fall color reports to info@discoverplumascounty.org with the date and location. Be sure to include your name for photo credit.

For a quick share, simply tag us on Instagram @discoverplumas or use the hashtag #awesomeautumnplumascounty.

Below are some Awesome Autumn images from the past years.

Factors influencing Fall Colors

Several Factors influence foliage change. It is believed that temperature, daylight, and moisture are the main influences. A succession of warm, sunny days and crisp but not freezing nights seems to bring about the most spectacular color displays.

Drought has an affect on fall color too. Severe drought usually makes trees change color early and shortens the length of the bright color window. But even in drought-years fall colors still pop! Our hardy California native species growing along creeks, lakes, meadows, and mountain slopes turn yellow, gold, red, and ochre. Plumas County had a very dry January and February in 2022, but did see moisture during spring.

Why Leaves Change Color

As days get shorter and temperatures drop the amount of chlorophyll produced by leaves decreases. Without chlorophyll masking other colors in the leaves, orange carotenoids and yellow xanthophylls are able to show themselves.

All leaves contain chlorophyll, carotenoids and xanthophylls, but not all of them produce anthocyanins which provide the rich red hues of fall color. Years with lots of sunlight and dry weather tend to increase sugar concentration in tree sap triggering the release of more anthocyanins to help get them through the winter and thus, more red leaves.

Plan a Fall Visit to Plumas County

Fall is a wonderful time to visit Plumas County. The weather is often warm (but not hot) during the day and cool at night. In addition to leaf-peeping, fall is also a great time to enjoy local events like the Sierra Valley Art and Ag Trail and the Mountain Harvest Beer Festival. Autumn is also the perfect time for your favorite outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, golfing, and fishing.

  • Bookmark this blog post and visit often. Regular updates will begin Sept. 12th.
  • Read our Traveler Guide: Where to See the Best Fall Colors in Plumas County
  • Choose your lodging. There are some really special places to stay!
  • Learn your local leaves with the Fall Color Guide to download.
Plumas traveler guides

Where to See Fall Colors in Northern California

In early October, the leaves in Plumas County begin transforming to create stunning natural beauty. From creek beds to mountaintops, vibrant leaves contrast brilliantly against the dark green pines and firs that dominate the landscape. We’ve pulled together the best routes that offer an abundance of color and adventure. Our fall foliage guide gets you off the beaten path and into the heart of Plumas County.
Fall foliage in Plumas County
Plumas traveler guides

Winter Weekend Ideas in Northern California

Winter in Plumas County is quiet and magical. The region offers everything from cozy cabins and backcountry skiing to family activities like Christmas tree cutting and holiday events. Beat the crowds at Tahoe and other popular winter destinations for your own serene and charming Lost Sierra seasonal adventure.
Chaos Crags in Lassen Volcanic National Park
Plumas traveler guides

Summer Vacation Ideas in Northern California

Plumas County is a summer wonderland of outdoor activities with over a hundred lakes, music festivals, world-class hiking, and mountain town events. Plan your perfect summer vacation high in the Sierra Nevada of Northern California.
arrowleaf balsamroot in Northern California
Plumas traveler guides

Spring Weekend Trip Ideas in Northern California

Spring is a wonderful time to visit Plumas County– the valleys are verdant, rivers are rushing, and snow is still on the high mountains. Spring weather is perfect for activities like hiking, birding, wildflower watching, kayaking, and more.
Clouds and reflections on Manzanita Lake
Plumas traveler guides

The Best Lakes in Northern California

With over 100 lakes to choose from, Plumas County offers visitors an opportunity to soak up some of the most beautiful lakes in Northern California. Whether you’re looking to enjoy water sports with a group or relax and unplug on a solo adventure, the diversity of our lakes offers something for everyone. We invite you to unplug and feel the magic of our mountain lakes and the vast forests that surround them.
canoes on lake with sunset

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Places to stay
Bucks Lake

Set among the beautiful pine trees in a cove at the south end of Bucks Lake, Haskins Valley Campground is a popular vacation spot.

Lake Almanor

Lakefront home set in a quiet cove with a private dock.

Lake Almanor

Big Springs Resort is among the tall pines with a quiet serene atmosphere. Family and pet friendly near Hamilton Branch.