The Higher You Go, The Better it Gets

Sundial Bridge (11/4/09)

Sundial Bridge (11/4/09)

While the headline to this blog is no longer true of the Sierra Nevada, when it comes to driving north along I-5, the higher you go, the better the fall color gets.  Yesterday, I drove north from Sacramento to Redding.  The orchards of the northern Central Valley still have a ways to go, though riparian areas are near to past peak with lovely color to be found among the cattails.  The City of Redding is aglow with beautiful fall color (much of it exotic).

0-15% — I-5 (100′).  Walnut and almond orchards north of Sacramento along I-5 indicate they are turning with some light green to hints of warmer colors to come, yet still not showing much color.  Cattails north of Willow at Walker Creek are brightly colored with shades of gold, orange, bronze and lime green.  Purple to burgundy stems and branches are found among leafless brush along creeks.  The most color to be found in the Sacramento River Valley are in the cottonwoods and prune orchards which have tgurned 50% yellow-orange with some bronze to auburn edging.  A stand of Valley Oaks (among the largest of California oaks) at Road 27 are yellow-orange and near Road 16 in Orland a prune orchard is nearing peak.

50-75% — Redding.  The capital of “Upstate California” is nearing peak for its seasonal color, particularly in neighborhoods and city parks.  At Santiago Calatrava’s magnificent Sundial Bridge, native oaks and riparian trees provide some changing colors by which to frame the bridge’s impressive gnomon.  Even though the color here is not of the dramatic nature of that to be found in the Sierra, there’s still lots of color if you look for it and Sundial Bridge is worth the drive north.

Last week, I described a loop trip up I-5 to Redding, an overnight in Redding, then over CA-299 to Redwood National Park, then down US 101.  Another loop is north to Redding, then east to MacArthur-Burney Memorial Falls SP, continuing south on CA-89 through Lassen Volcanic National Park (if snows don’t close the road) into Plumas County, then back down to the Central Valley by way of CA-32 (by way of Chico) or CA-70 (Feather River Canyon).  There’s probably a week left of spotty color on either route.

Photo Credit: © 2009, John Poimiroo

Walnut Orchards Starting to Show Near Dixon

0-15% — Central Valley. The walnut orchards are beginning to show orange-yellow along Interstate 80 near Dixon.

Doubletree offers 30 Reasons to Enjoy California Fall Color

There are 30 reasons in California to take a Fall Weekend Getaway… the Doubletree hotels.  As, just announced, Doubletree is offering fall getaways at affordable prices in its new Fall Weekend Getaway Package.  Available Sept. 8 to Dec. 27, the package includes a deluxe room (up to two adults and two children with no double occupancy charge), “Blissful Sweet Dreams by Doubletree” sleep experience and a $50 food and beverage credit.

For California fall color spotters, California Fall Color recommends these Doubletree locations as nearest fall color: Ontario (Inland Empire), Bakersfield, Modesto (Central Valley and Western Sierra), Sacramento (Gold Country and Central Valley) and Rohnert Park (Sonoma County Wine Country).

To make a reservation, visit Doubletree’s Fall Weekend Getaway website at, contact a travel professional or call 1-800-222-TREE in the U.S. or Canada.   Rates vary and some restrictions apply.

Announcing California Fall Color

Black Oak, Upper Yosemite Fall (file photograph) – John Poimiroo

Some people believe there’s no change in season in California.  They don’t know where to look.

California has a beautiful and varied seasonal change, as this blog will attest.

Following Labor Day and continuing to Thanksgiving Day, will report where it’s peaking, what’s peaking, where to stay and lead readers to fall color resources.

To comment on any report or add your own, just click on a headline or email