It’s that time of year again, the last vestiges of the summer heat are slowly fading away and the days are getting shorter. In Nevada County that means it’s time for the hills and mountains to spring to life with vibrant shades of oranges, yellows, and reds. Weather conditions at 2,500 feet in the Sierra Nevada foothills are perfect for the formation of the brilliant colors the area has become known for. As temperatures begin to drop and the days shorten chlorophyll production is slowed in plant life. For many trees and plants this means that colors other than green can become visible. For residents and visitors of Nevada County it means a lively celebration of the colors of fall painting the hillsides and decorating the streets.
Fall is already a great time to visit the bucolic foothill cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City. The area’s rich Gold Rush history, the reduction in visitors due to the cooler weather, and the abundance of gourmet restaurants and boutique inns and hotels makes this a perfect time to visit the area. Add to that the splendor of bright yellow, orange, and red that blankets the cities and it’s not hard to see why the locale is such a hidden gem.
Serious enthusiasts or those looking to make a weekend of their Fall Colors tour have the 160 mile Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway that loops through the foothills, up to Donner and Yuba Summits, and back down circling the Tahoe National Forest. This route starts in Nevada City and follows State Highways 20, 49, and 89 as well as Interstate 80, and offers a wide variety of foliage and scenic backdrops.
It is impossible to predict the peak color weeks during which the Fall Colors are most lively but the middle of October through Thanksgiving is generally considered the best time to visit. Both the Nevada City and Grass Valley Chambers of Commerce encourage visitors to call ahead and inquire about conditions. They will be more than happy to help you determine how to plan your trip and can provide you with info on some of the best places to view the breathtaking foliage.
The link to the Fall Colors Brochure located after the article provides a map of some scenic views of autumn foliage found around Grass Valley and Nevada City.
Mary Pizzimenti, California Realtor ®