Explore California’s Gold Country

Take a two-week road trip through the red and golden counties of the Golden State during harvest and autumnal foliage.  From Yosemite to Sacramento, this is your fall getaway! Pay special attention to the pro-tips and sign up for Gold Country newsletters for more!

Madera County

  • Insider Pro Tips:

    #1 At Idle Hour Winery, the property is so dreamy and relaxing that you may never want to leave the crisp autumn air– and you can stay! Ask about the 12-room Queen’s Inn on the property and #humblebrag about your stay using the #yosemitemadera.

  • #2 Remember to leave only footsteps, take only photos. ‘Leave No Trace’ means packing up picnics, even the crumbs, and leaving the outdoors pristine or cleaner than you found it. Showing off the natural beauty? Tag @yosemitemadera or use the #yosemitemadera to showcase your experience and get showcased! #VisitGoldCountry

Yosemite National Park

You really autumn know! Yosemite National Park’s day-use reservation system ends for the season on September 30! This means, as of October 1, travelers no longer need to plan ahead to gain access to the beauty of Yosemite National Park. Fall in Yosemite means cooler weather, vibrant changing colors, and access on short notice. #yosemitemadera @yosmitemadera

Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides

Explore more of Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is 1,200 square miles of land, but look up 🔭, there is plenty of vertical space to explore, too. The cooler fall weather is ideal for the climbing season. Watch climbers take on El Capitan from the safety of a picnic blanket – or take on a personal big rock challenge on a guided climbing, hiking, or backpacking trip from Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia

Visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia and discover a new level of awe. The late afternoon glow is enchanting at this magical fall hideout, and back to school means fewer travelers. Bring an e-bike, or rent a mountain bike from Pedal Forward Bikes and Adventure in Oakhurst. The paved road leading to the Mariposa Grove Access Area is open to riders.

Fall Events

Art at Yosemite’s southern entrance is illustrious year-round. Come October, we celebrate ARTober with Sierra Art Trails, shows at Golden Chain Theatre, and exhibits at Yosemite Gateway Art Center. Come for the art and stay for good ol’ fashioned fun at the Oakhurst Fall Festival October 8-10. Enjoy wine tasting, local brew, handcrafted goods, rides, eats, and even a good ol’ fashioned barn dance.

Tuolumne County

  • Insider Pro Tips:

    #1 Treat yourself this fall! Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen is known for their Christmas candy canes but locals know that their Halloween candy is also the best around!

  • #2 Have you fallen-in-love with Tuolumne County? Share your experience and #VisitTuolumneCounty for a chance to be featured!

Hotel Haunts or Haunted Hotel?

With a rich gold rush history comes tall tales and ghost stories in Tuolumne County! Stay in a haunted hotel this Halloween season for a spook-tacular time!

What beauty!

By train or trail, watch the leaves change color across the rolling foothills of the Sierra!

Wine Time in Tuolumne

Take a weekend getaway and visit Inner Sanctum Cellars Basecamp for award-winning wine in a beautiful newly redesigned outdoor tasting space.

Apple Ranch

From mile-high apple pie to homemade cider, Cover’s Apple Ranch is a family-friendly fall destination in Tuolumne County!

Calaveras County

  • Insider Pro Tips:

    #1 Try the California Buck Cocktail created by Hinterhaus Distillery in Arnold. It’s a blend of ginger and vodka that they distill onsight. They have a window into the distillery where you can watch the process in action!

  • #2 The Apple Donuts served at The Red Apple are well worth a stop, but be warned it’s hard to eat just one!

Stomp it up

The Calaveras Grape Stomp in the quaint wine town of Murphys, promoted through the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance, is on October 2nd. No need to dress as Lucy & Ethel. We recommend staying for the night and enjoying the local saloon! #VisitGoldCountry

Checking in? 

Legend has it, the Leger Hotel in Mokelumne Hill has spirits and has had hauntings! Use the #gocalaveras to document your ghostly encounters!

El Dorado County

  • Insider Pro Tips:

    #1 Try one of the new Coffee Flights at Grandpa’s Cellars! Perfect fall flavors like Apple Butter Latte, Pumpkin Pie,  Gingerbread,  and Black Apple Spice Cold Brew are not to be missed

  • #2 Don’t miss a stop at Marshall Gold to see where that first nugget was picked up!

  • #3 September and November have MUCH less traffic and all the same fun as a trip to Apple Hill in October.  If  need to come on an October weekend come early. Most ranches open at 8 am, so you can get in a full morning of fun, finish with a picnic at your favorite winery, and be headed home by 1 pm.

Haunted Hangtown Ghost Tours

Our ghost walks will give you a vivid history of haunted, historic Placerville a.k.a “old Hangtown”. We will share with you, through extensive research, the history as well as the haunted myths, lore, and legends. Oh, but our ghost hunts?  We will engage with our visitors in a real paranormal investigation using some of the latest equipment. What are we looking for? With your help, we will search for the fantastic, not the fantasy.

Gold Country Ghosts

7 Haunts for spotting spirits! Tag #visiteldorado and #visitgoldcountry when you see a ghost!

Apple Hill 

Apple Hill™ is known for its apple farms and family-friendly activities in the fall. Comprised of more than 50 ranches, the Apple Hill Growers Association (Apple Hill™ ) provides farm fresh fruit and vegetables, baked and canned goods, and crafts and entertainment. Most of the Apple Farms open their doors Labor Day weekend through December.  Hard cider is not hard to find.

Leef Peepers Road Trip 

If you’re looking for Mother Nature’s annual show of colors, this road trip is for you! The aspen, oak, maples, cottonwood, and dogwood trees explode in color from late September through early December. During harvest season, the grapevines reveal a fantastic color palette which, of course, pairs well with any wine-tasting adventure.

Placer County

  • Insider Pro Tips:

    #1 Don’t miss the Placer Wine & Ale Trail – 23 wineries, 15 craft breweries, and 1 distillery!

  • #2 Amazing fresh pies are baked daily at both Machado Orchards and Ikeda’s, in Auburn. Stop in for a slice at either of these iconic establishments – you won’t be disappointed. 

Mandarin Festival 

The foothills of Placer County turn orange in the fall with the regions signature citrus crop, the Mountain Mandarin. Don’t miss the annual Mandarin Festival in Auburn, held the third weekend in November. Sample mandarins from local growers, enjoy food vendors with everything mandarin, live music and entertainment for the whole family. 

Hiking Trails

Fall is a great time to explore the many hiking trails in the crisp and cooler air. Explore the many options in the Auburn State Recreation Areamulti-use trails in Hidden Falls Regional Park or the fall colors in North Lake Tahoe. Bring a picnic and enjoy the day in the outdoors, please just remember to travel responsibly and leave no trace. 

Harvest Season

Placer’s smaller boutique family-run wineries offer a chance to experience harvest in a more intimate way and you might even get to chat with the winemaker on the crush pad. Fall is one of the most enjoyable times on the Wine Trail with the beautiful scenery as the vineyards turn a golden orange. Numerous pumpkin patches and harvest festivals help bring in the season for the whole family. 


  • Insider Pro Tips:

    #1 Need a great breakfast with warm pastries? We recommend Karen’s! It’s a local favorite and has great outdoor seating.

  • #2  Need a break from holiday shopping? Check out SEAquest while at the Palladio shopping and dining district.

Hit the road, Jack

Walks in Folsom are the prettiest in fall, don’t miss the two bridges at #LakeNatoma.  Enjoy a Folsom nature walk on one of our 52+ miles of paved trails. The family and the dogs will love it!

Shop and explore like a local

Take a spin on the #JohnnyCash trail around Historic Folsom. Then, enjoy the fall bounty at #HistoricFolsom’s seasonal farmer’s market every Saturday from 8am – 1pm.

Rancho Cordova

  • Insider Pro Tips:

    #1 Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Making Brunch the most important meal of the week. Make brunch plans at Mimosa House Rancho Cordova and enjoy locally crafted (and named) mimosas. Patios are heated as the weather cools!

  • #2  Are members of your travel pod partial to craft beer or cocktails? Check out the Rancho Cordova Barrel District where you’ll find 6 breweries, 2 distilleries, and a meadery! Check out the latest #BarrelDistrictPassport for great deals.

Sierra Foothills Wine Passport

When you check in to your Rancho Cordova hotel, be sure to pick up your Sierra Foothill Wine Passport, complimentary! This passport entitles you to tastings for 2 at 5 local wineries in nearby Amador and El Dorado County- less than 45 minutes away! Make sure you plan time for the drive. It’s a lovely view!


13 nights of terror and frights in Rancho Cordova! Bring your goul-friends and wolf men along for screams in this Halloween haunted house classic- including zombie laser tag and more!

American River Parkway

Cyclists, runners, doggos, and guests of all abilities enjoy the 32 mile stretch of the American River Parkway- year round. The northern border of Rancho Cordova, this parkway reaches from Lake Natoma to east Sacramento. Stop by Soil Born farms for the latest bounty, winter gardening class and yoga!


  • Insider Pro Tips:

    #1 Don’t miss out on some of the best Nashville-style hot chicken in Sacramento. Be sure to stop by Nash & Proper for some award-winning grub. With a new location downtown, another in South Natomas, and three food trucks, you’ll be sure to catch them all over Sacramento. Follow @VisitSacramento for deals and discounts!

  • #2 You’ll have a hard time deciding what to indulge in at Fizz Champagne & Bubbles Bar. Having more than 150 champagnes and sparkling wines by the bottle and another 20 by the glass to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect bubbly. With sparkling wines sourced from all over the world and champagne from the smallest to the largest producers, you’ll be sure to find just the right bottle to pop open for all the celebrations and holidays in your life.

River Fox Train

Hop aboard River Fox Train’s Pumpkin Patch Express for an unforgettable fall harvest adventure.  This two-hour experience whisks you away to a private park with trick-or-treating, fun activities, photo opportunities and a pumpkin to take home. Although it’s not required, patrons are encouraged to dress in their favorite Halloween costume for a chance to win the costume contest. To enhance your experience even more, don’t forget to stop by and do some good ol’-fashioned gem mining while you’re there.

Midtown Farmers Market

A fun gathering place that showcases local agriculture, prepared foods, artisans and crafters, the Midtown Farmers Market is your one-stop shop for fresh locally grown foods, live music, kids activities, food demonstrations and more. Located in the heart of America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, you’re sure to feel good in supporting local farms and purveyors. Be sure to stop by Sweet Nita’s booth for some amazing banana bread. It’s so good you’ll want to buy two: one to eat then, and one for later.

Old Sacramento Underground Tour

Join Sacramento History museum on their Underground Tour where you’ll explore hollow sidewalks, sloped alleyways and learn how Sacramento got “Jacked Up!” to avoid further flooding. For those adults, with an interest is the, shall we say, “more scandalous side of Sacramento”, check out the Underground After Hours Tour.