Fall Bucket List – the Hiking and Exploring Edition

I never quite know what to say when people ask me about my favorite season. Summer brings fun days at the beach, winter brings cold nights in front of the fire-place.

A margarita on the patio or a hot chocolate to warm my hands?

When it really comes down, my favorite seasons are spring and fall. Both have beautiful colors: the bright blossoms of spring announcing a new start and the colorful leaves of the fall marking a transition. I have a hard time picking one of them as a favorite.

Since I moved to Southern California I do miss the fall a little more. We don’t have the beautiful colors of the Northern states or Europe. I grew up with the smell of moist soil in the fall, the smell of mushrooms in the forest and the changing of the colors. And of all the things I miss from my childhood in Europe, this is probably what I miss the most.

Finding fall in a warm climate

So every year I try to search for local places to “feel” the fall. There are a number of fun events between Los Angeles and Palm Springs that just sounds too spooky amazing. As usual there are not enough weekends in the month to do them all. I have made a shortlist of sorts with places that have hiking opportunities – hopefully with some multi-colored fall leaves – and a touch of fall festivities.

fall foliage

Fall Foliage in the Los Angeles Area

Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens is located in La Cañada Flintridge, about a 20-minute drive from Downtown Los Angeles. This year I am planning to go to the Enchanted Forest of Light. It’s a nighttime experience with unique lighting. It runs from November 19th, 2017 through to January 7th, 2018.

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

The Arboretum is located in Arcadia, just east of Pasadena. There are a number of kid-friendly fall events, including Spooky Creatures in the Garden on October 28th, 2017.


Mountain Forests in the Palm Springs Area

Mount San Jacinto State Park

Mount San Jacinto State Park can easily be reached via the Aerial Tramway from Palm Springs. I am not sure if there are special fall events, but it surely will be a great day hiking the trails in the fall.

Lake Hemet

Lake Hemet is located in the San Jacinto Mountains at 4,340 ft elevation. It’s about a 50-mile drive from Palm Springs. Between now and the end of October you can visit the Haunted Village with a haunted hotel, a maze, live music, and food vendors.


Lakes and Parties Between Los Angeles and Palm Springs

Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead is about a 1.5-hour from Downtown Los Angeles or about an hour from Palm Springs. It’s located in the San Bernadino Mountains. The Annual Pine Cone Festival happens on October 14th, 2017.

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake is located in the San Bernadino Mountains, easily accessible by car from Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Haunted Hay rides, a maze, and a pumpkin patch are open until the end of October. The Big Bear Oktoberfest is happening every weekend until the end of October.

Go and venture out this fall!


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  1. Fall is my favourite time of the year! I love those yellow and red colours more than the spring or summer !! Your bucket list is very cool, I’ve got one of my own too 🙂 Cheers