alpine county fall color lake tahoe fall colors

When’s the best time to see the color of fall foliage around Tahoe?

You don’t have to live on the East Coast to enjoy Autumn’s foliage colors. Plan a Tahoe weekend getaway to feast your eyes on the fiesta of fall color happening from the end of September through October when the color changes are most dramatic. Mid-October is usually at the peak of fall foliage for a temperate fall season where the change in temperature is gradual and when the weather pattern eases into winter. If, however, there is a sudden cold front or an early snow, fall leaves can depart the trees practically overnight. 2012 fall season is looking to be mild so far as of September 19, 2012.

Around Lake Tahoe, aspens are the main trees displaying the mountains with a mix of gold and orange. Other trees changing foliage colors: big leaf maple (the first to change, between 3,000 and 4,000 feet in elevation is dressed in bright yellow) dogwood (5,000′, dogwood are pink and green), and black oak(tinged with orange leaves).

Scenic Lake Tahoe drives & points of interest:

  • Drive up the Mt. Rose Scenic Byway
  • Drive around Lake Tahoe south on Highway 28 on the Nevada side
  • Spooner Lake is a good scenic place for an easy walk through the trees around the lake.
  • Marlette Lake offers excellent intermediate hiking; providing several miles of golden aspens.
  • Drive on US 50, from Zephyr Cove to Stateline and South Lake Tahoe, fall color cascades from the mountain slopes down to Lake Tahoe shores.
  • Hope Valley, south of Lake Tahoe, is one of the best vibrant aspen color showing around. Hope Valley draws photographers galore seeking to capture the essence fall color display.
  • If you’d like to be at the center of it all, immerse yourself in the vibrant colors of fall by visiting the city of Markleeville(also known as the Alpine County seat). Plan a weekend getaway to go hiking, biking, camping and enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot spring pool at Grove Hot Springs State Park. Make your plans soon because the colors of Autumn might be here today and gone tomorrow. Before you know it, snowflakes will be fluttering to earth blanketing landscapes white.
Tahoe’s Autumn Notable Events:
  • Oktoberfest at the Village at Squaw Valley on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 starting at 11:00 am (enjoy Bratwurst,  excellent German beers, free entertainment & live music).
  • The 3rd Annual Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week, October 7-14, 2012, gives foodies an opportunity to enjoy 3-course, prix-fixe menus for lunches and dinners at 25+ participating restaurants throughout the Lake Tahoe region for $20, $30 or $40 per person. “The Tahoe Restaurant Week is a celebration of the scrumptious cuisine and culinary talent that has made the Lake Tahoe region the best mountain dining destination in the country. Delight your palate with menus that incorporate organic, seasonal and local ingredients – all served up at Lake Tahoe’s charming and historic eateries and bistros.”  – View a list of participating Tahoe Restaurants.


  1. Call hotels in the area you’d like to visit and inquire to see if Autumn foliage colors are at their peak before making a visit.
  2. Keep tabs on California locations with the most dramatic fall color changes by visiting California Fall Color.



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