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  • Carl R. Piesch / Courtesy of Plumas County Visitors Bureau

    Aspens gleam among the firs along Gold Lake Forest Highway between Graeagle and Sierra City.

  • Carl R. Piesch / Courtesy of Plumas County Visitors Bureau

    The north fork of the Feather River follows Highway 70 from Oroville to Quincy.

Where and when to go to see fall leaves

Published: Sunday, Sep. 25, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 10I
Last Modified: Sunday, Sep. 25, 2011 - 5:49 pm

Plumas County is not the only place to go to see the leaves turning in California.

In fact, many leaf peepers make a trek from the eastern Sierra through Hope Valley in Alpine County up to Plumas to get the colors as they change.

Although tourism officials would love to tell you a day when trees will be at peak color, nature doesn't work that way.

The onset changes each year, with high-altitude areas showing their colors first.

Several websites give reports on what's changing. Among them are and

Here is a list of other places you can go to see color.

• Hope Valley in Alpine County is a mecca for leaf watchers. Head to where Highways 88 and 89 meet. You'll find a forest of colorful aspen trees mixed with dark cottonwoods.

• McGee Creek, halfway between Bishop and Mammoth off Highway 395 in the eastern Sierra, features breathtaking displays reaching up into the mountains. Also check out the mountain canyons west of the highway in Mono and Inyo counties between Bridgeport and Bishop.

• The Donner Pass area off Interstate 80 and old Highway 40 boasts color before other Sierra locations due to its high elevation.

• Several state parks are sources for brilliant fall color, including Empire Mine, Grover Hot Springs, Bothe-Napa, Marshall Gold Discovery, Malakoff Diggins, Railtown 1897 and Calaveras Big Trees. For information and directions, click on

• Nevada City and Grass Valley annually glow with autumn color, thanks to many maples and other hardwoods brought by 19th century miners. This show usually reaches its climax in early November. For a tree tour map and suggestions, visit

• Don't forget local parks. In the Sacramento area, trees start to turn color in late October and early November. William Land Park, with mature stands of trees, is a dependable display close to home.

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