Moving into the Bay Area yet still yearning for the colors of fall? Fear not. While NorCal isn’t known for lush forests like other places in America, there’s still plenty of red, orange and yellow to see. Whether you live in the suburbs or wish for an adventure through trails lined with creeks and golden trees, here are some of the best places in the bay area to see the fall colors and to experience the crisp, autumn ambiance.

Palo Alto

  • On the streets of Greenwood and Ramona, you can find Ginkgo bilobas enveloping the neighborhood in a golden canopy. They also gather in front of the Genencor building at 925 Page Mill Road.
  • Page Mill Road, El Camino Real, Foothill Expressway and downtown’s Guinda Street all sport sweet gums flourishing a vibrant red.
  • Boston ivy lines the Laning Chateau apartment walls at 345 Forest Ave., changing in autumn from a green coating to an orange-yellow cascade. Around the corner at 380 Hamilton Ave., a bright, pointed Dawn redwood marks the post office.

Los Altos

  • Downtown Los Altos is transformed at this time of year thanks to the Chinese pistache trees blooming with orange and red leaves and dotted with pink berries. The founders of Los Altos Nursery, the Furuichi family, donated 48 of these trees to city during the 1954 “Street Tree Planting Bee” and since then they’ve been lining Main and Second streets, sprucing up paths for pleasant walks and family outings.

San Jose

  • Monroe and Hedding Street offer neighborhoods surrounded by trees with impressive displays of gold and yellow. And although the mulberry trees on the sidewalks on San Jose State’s quad are fruitless, visitors can still enjoy the shade under its golden umbrella.
  • Nestled in Golden Gate Park, the AIDS Memorial Grove is surrounded by lush trees, plants and shrubs. The ensembles of red, orange and yellow Chinese pistache trees help grant the park its tranquil character, complementing its mission to provide a place of remembrance and recognition.

Parks and Gardens

  • The Game Gardens in Palo Alto feature sour gums with rich red colors, perfect for a wedding date.
  • If you’re itching for purple, check out Naglee Park in San Jose near the State University which offers a Raywood ash known for leaves of purple-red.
  • A tour around St. James Park will reward you with a rusty red and yellow displays from sycamores, bur oaks, and a zelkova tree.
  • While the rock formations, waterfalls, and creek of Little Yosemite Area are the main attractions, this area in Sunol still houses tall, arching trees over parts of the trail ready to blanket visitors in autumn colors.
  • No matter the trail you select, sequoias and redwood canyons will be waiting to greet all sorts of visitors at the Redwood Regional Park in Oakland.

Hiking Trails

  • Featuring a small redwood forest along the rocky creek, the Leona Heights Park three-mile loop in Oakland involves a modest hike with a gorgeous view.
  • The East Ridge Trail Loop in Redwood Regional Park features a towering redwood forest and if you’re close enough to winter, you may be graced with clusters of ladybugs on the trees lining the edges of the park.
  • The Briones Reservoir Loop can be a long hike (about 13.5 miles) but near the last three miles, you’ll be rewarded with cool air and shade from the rolling oak woodland.
  • Rust-colored oaks and buckeyes line the Wood Rat Trail at Crockett Hills Regional Park in Rodeo. But the crown jewel of the park lies under Cummings Skyway, which leads to oak woodlands and breathtaking views of the San Pablo Bay.

Did we miss your favorite place to see the changing leaves in the Bay Area? Let us know the places we should add to our list!

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