Fall colors are exploding; Many places to view autumn beauty at Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Fall colors are exploding; Many places to view autumn beauty at Lake Tahoe

Cheyanne Neuffer
Lake Tahoe Action
Fall colors are appearing all around Lake Tahoe in this file photo.
Provided / Tahoe South

Before the snow blankets the mountains, Tahoe draws visitors from all over to see the dramatic change of seasons and the fiery, vibrant hues of the fall leaves.

Aspen trees stand golden in meadows and on the sides of mountains.

Between skiing and summer, there is an enchanting beauty in Tahoe that comes with less crowds and pleasant, albeit, cooler weather.

But the thermometer drop is not the sole reason for the leaves changing colors.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the main components that contribute to leaves changing color are the temperature, soil moisture, precipitation and light.

When the days get shorter with the autumn equinox, the leaves receive less light. The reduction of light produces a chemical change that creates a wall between the twig and leaf stock. The wall barricades the sugars in the leaf and obstructs the nutrient supply.

In other words, the beautiful colors are created from the death of green pigment or chlorophyll in the leaf.

Where are the best places to actually see these colors in Tahoe?

These beautiful aspens can be seen lining highways all around Lake Tahoe.

However, if you are a true “leaf-seeker” this is a perfect time to go out and experience the changing of the seasons.


Hope Valley is one of the top spots to see the autumn colors. Hope Valley is truly picturesque and looks something similar to Montana on a fall day, especially if you keep trailing down toward Markleeville and Woodfords. The fall foliage with the rustic cabins will send you back in time to the homesteading days. There are plenty of places to pull off the road and go for a stunning walk. On your way to Hope Valley, on Luther Pass, don’t forget to take in the spectacular views on either side of the highway.

Mt. Rose Highway

Just out of Incline Village, heading toward Reno on Nevada State Route 431, Mt. Rose Highway, is a short, quick drive to one of the best views in the Lake Tahoe Basin. From the Mt. Rose summit, the highest point with highway access in the region, all the trees around Lake Tahoe can be seen and fall colors can also be seen close up. Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe and Diamond Peak Ski Resort have tree-lined slopes that are full of fall colors.


Fallen Leaf Lake is quite fitting to its title in autumn. The yellow aspens slightly line the surrounding of the lake. Once the summer calms, this place is a great spot to appreciate the leaves of fall. The quick and peaceful walk to the lake is a captivating experience. The Kokanee salmon trail run takes place here every fall as well. This is one place that several people admire. Anne Heimann from Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority recommends hiking behind Fallen Leaf Lake to people looking for a great view, “I hope people enjoy it up here. There is a lot of beauty.”


Marlette Lake is a mild hike about 10 miles from the trailhead at Spooner Lake. Autumn has actually been dubbed as the most impressive time to visit Marlette Lake, not only for the beauty, but for an even more sought out treasure in Tahoe, smaller crowds.

On this trail, golden aspens will shadow the path for hikers and mountain bikers. If you can make it to the top of the granite ridge, you will be adored with breathtaking views and fiery colors around Marlette.

A favorite fall getaway, Apple Hill, is in full bloom this harvest season. Just east of Placerville, Apple Hill is great spot to cheer in the fall. Enjoy a caramel apple or hot apple cider while taking in the autumn views at any of the farms at Apple Hill.

While the mass crowds of summer have faded, people are still coming to Tahoe everyday to enjoy fall in the mountains.

“Things are not like they used to be,” Heimann said. “More and more people are coming to Tahoe every year. People are coming in right now. A couple came in this morning looking for places.”

For a full map of where the colors are currently changing click here.

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