Where to Experience Autumn in Orange County
Fall is officially in full swing, and if you haven’t had the chance yet, check out our blog post, Design Trends for Fall 2018, According to the Experts to really get into the season. Many people call fall—or autumn—their favorite season. And for good reason! The weather starts to cool down a bit, so we can bring out the sweaters, warm beverages, and delicious comfort foods. Along with all of those things, the cooler weather causes the leaves in our trees to start changing to various shades of yellow, orange, red, and sometimes even a color or two in between.
To really embrace the season, bundle up, and go enjoy the natural beauty of the season at one of Orange County’s various nature preserves.
This is our list of top places to go, along with everything you will need to know about them:
Irvine Regional Park – Orange, CA
Located just inside the city of Orange, Orange County’s first regional park opened in 1897. The 475-acre park is nestled among a grove of heritage Oak and Sycamore trees, including some of Orange County’s oldest coast live Oak trees. With hiking trails leading to beautiful green scenery, the park offers a great place to visit with family and friends. Irvine Regional Park is dog-friendly, with plenty of space, making it perfect for picnics and barbecues. Other things you can find at the park include a full farmer’s market, horse rentals, bike rentals, pony rides, and even a Zoo.
Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary – Silverado, CA
Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit nature preserve on the Santa Ana Mountains in Orange County. The nature preserve was started by Benjamin and Dorothy Tucker, who fell in love with the flora and fauna of the canyon after beginning construction of their home in 1926. Mr. Tucker especially loved the birds. Almost immediately following the construction of their home, Mr. Tucker began taking steps to increase the bird population and was so successful, it eventually led to the local newspapers telling stories of hummingbirds sitting on his hat. The Tuckers decided that everyone should be able to enjoy the birds and opened their land to the public. After Dorothy’s passing, Mr. Tucker donated the land as a place of research, education, and public enjoyment. Today, it is Operated by the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Cal State Fullerton. Admission is free, though donations are appreciated.
Laguna Coast Wilderness Park – San Joaquin Hills, CA
Surrounding Laguna Beach, this 7,000-acre wilderness park has amazing views to offer its visitors, while still being able to offer Laguna’s great beach weather. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park features coastal canyons, ridgeline views, and the only natural Lake in Orange County. This park is a destination for all ranges of outdoor activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, trail running, and horseback riding. Artists, photographers, and writers find plentiful inspiration on the trails. There are also regularly scheduled guided tours for a wide range of interests from fitness to botany.
William R. Mason Regional Park – Irvine, CA
Mason Park is one of the largest parks to enjoy in southern Irvine. The 339 acres of Mason Regional Park have something to offer for every member of the family. The park is populated with rows and rows of shade trees and a beautiful 9-acre lake. There are biking paths, model boat sailing, a wilderness hiking area, three separate toddler areas, and everything else you need to escape from the city, right there in the middle of it. The park is located at 18712 University Drive in Irvine, near UCI and Culver Drive.
Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park – San Joaquin Hills, CA
Just up the hills from Laguna Beach, you will find Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. Featuring approximately 4,500 acres of grassland and rugged coastal canyons. This officially designated wildlife sanctuary is home to many rare and endangered plants and animals. Within the park lands are mature oaks, sycamores, and elderberry trees, two year-round streams, and over 30 miles of official trails. These trails are great for mountain bike riding, horseback riding, and hiking. The hiking trails offer breathtaking views from high elevation, leading you back downhill to the beach. To get to the main entrance of Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, take I-5 to Alicia Parkway. Go south on Alicia Parkway and drive four miles. Just past Aliso Creek, turn right into the park.
And if you feel like venturing out a little further than Orange County, here are some other places to see fall foliage in Southern California:
Los Angeles County
LA County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens – Arcadia, CA
Whittier Narrows Recreational Facility – El Monte, CA
Stoddard Peak – Claremont, CA
Riverside / San Bernardino Counties
Big Bear Lake – Big Bear, CA
Grass Valley Lake – Lake Arrowhead, CA
Lake Gregory – Crestline, CA
Lake Hemet – Hemet, CA
San Diego County
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park – Julian, CA
Hot Springs Mountain – San Diego County
Palomar Mountain State Park – San Diego County
Laguna Mountain – East San Diego County
Do you know of any other great places to experience fall in Orange County? Let us know in the comments below.