Orange is the New Black, 30s are the new 20s and guess what? Fall is the new Summer. Summer trends brought road trips, unicorn rafts, and hiking adventures. What if these beloved trends didn’t have to end on Labor Day Weekend? What if there was a place where in fall, road trips to the High Sierra are filled with foliage, Gold Country had lakes still warm enough to float in, and where Yosemite National Park is not filled with people, but instead filled with adventure? Luckily there is Northern California’s Tuolumne County, located just 133 miles from the Bay Area, where Fall is the new summer. Stop reminiscing over those summer memories and create new ones. You’re invited to Tuolumne County’s summer in fall.
Sip and Float through Gold Country
Don’t deflate those unicorn rafts just yet, Don Pedro Lake is at a low elevation of 804-feet, making this gem a great place to extend summer water activities. With warm fall weather renting a Houseboat from Don Pedro Marina is the perfect way to start new Fall trends. While in Gold Country experience the best summer has to offer, but with a fall twist. Many spent the summer sippin’ on hard cider. Well Fall is the perfect time of year to visit the very place it came from, Indigeny Reserve. With tours, hard cider tastings and harvest festivals, sippin’ on hard cider will make it feel like summer all over again. Trade out the summer rosé for those bold fall reds at these Gold Country wineries, Inner Sanctum Cellars, Gianelli Vineyards, Hurst Ranch, Sierra Cellars and Yosemite Cellars. With specialty wines and cost friendly tasting rooms, all it takes is just one sip to fall back in love with summer and these varietals. For those who missed out on summer “time” travel, fall back in time at Columbia State Historic Park. The smell of fresh dipped candied apples from Nelson’s Candy Kitchen and the hot metal from the blacksmith fill the crisp air and the Park offers up fall events from cemetery tours and ghost tours to an annual harvest festival. Summer train rides take on a new look with the Skeeton Crew on the Harvest Haunt Express at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. These fall adventures are guaranteed to end those summertime blues.
High Sierra Road Trips
Instagram accounts may be in a lull after summer, but the High Sierra can revive them with fall colors and road trip on the seasonal High Sierra Loop. Head up Highway 108/ Sonora Pass to see the aspens turn a new leaf, catch the sight of unique rock formations, and take in the sheer beauty of the mountains; Hear them calling? Go! Trade in those four wheels for four legs with horseback riding at Aspen Meadows and Kennedy Meadows Pack Stations. Wind down Highway 108 cut across Highway 395 and continue to fall for the High Sierra on Highway 120/ Tioga Pass. This pass climbs up to 9,943 feet in elevation, making it the highest mountain pass in California. Watch summer fade into Fall in Yosemite National Park, as this pass goes right through the park offering sweeping views of Tuolumne Meadows. These passes close due to winter snow, so get in on this missed summer road trip while time permits.
Yosemite National Park
Summer may have held some epic hikes, but the fall season in Yosemite National Park welcomes low temperatures and less crowds. These conditions along with the turning leaves makes for perfect hiking and sightseeing opportunities, so don’t sweat the calories from those pumpkin spice lattes, actually don’t sweat period. Some resorts in the Gateway community of Groveland are celebrating fall with lower prices and exclusive events. Rush Creek Lodge will be launching their Backstage Pass to Yosemite by mixing some new fall activities with some summer faves like boga lessons on the pool. Summer may have been all about waterfalls and valleys, but fall is for exploring the other parts of the park. See this great National Park through the eyes of a professional. Outdoor guides like Y-Explore, Yosemite Family Adventures, Lasting Adventures and Echo Adventures can bring new light to some well-visited areas or new adventures to under-visited areas.