by Jan Cox

As long summer days gradually fade into autumn, and temperatures vary with the shortened daylight, a feeling of anticipation grows within us. Our bodies in tune with Mother Nature, we carry our cameras everywhere, knowing that right around the next corner we just might happen upon a brilliant canvas of crimson, yellow, and orange. The Northern Sierras literally dance with color along roadsides, in forests, creek beds and back yards.

The intensity of autumn colors depends on several factors; amount of sunlight, moisture in the air (dry is better), and cool nights (but not freezing). As a result, each season has its own unique signature. For up-to-date foliage reports throughout the color season be sure and go to

Several different car tours wend their way through California Black Oak, Mountain Dogwood, Indian Rhubarb, Black Cottonwood, Big Leaf Maple, Bracken Fern, Quaking Aspen, and Willow. Following are some highlighted routes found on the Fall Color Guide from Plumas County Visitors Bureau at 550 Crescent Street, Quincy, CA which is half a mile west of downtown on Hwy.70 Or call 1-800-326-2247.










  • Chester CA area: Main Street in Chester welcomes you with brilliant cottonwoods and maples. If you turn by the fire station on Feather River Drive, birch and aspen lead the way toward Warner Valley and Juniper Lake. Heading out on 36 offers miles of reddened dogwoods on the way to Lassen Park where quaking aspen and beautiful vistas await your camera. If you turn off Hwy 36 onto Hwy 32 through Deer Creek Canyon, oaks, alders, yellow maples, and brilliant Indian Rhubarb present dazzling shades of autumn.
  • The Feather River Scenic Byway (Hwy 70) from Oroville to Quincy is another favorite drive. Here golden oak, crimson dogwood, Big Leaf maple, redbud and aspen all intermingle with the green of firs and pines for spectacular views along this 75 mile drive.
  • Indian Valley: From Greenville you may want to take the short drive to Round Valley Lake where you will find groves of dogwood, Big Leaf maple and cottonwood. Or Turn off Hwy 89 toward Taylorsville where the road follows Indian Creek with it clumps of “flaming red” Indian Rhubarb and its amber willows. On the other side of the road, oak and aspen form beautiful bands of color on the hillsides.
  • Quincy Area: Quincy itself is filled with autumn wonder, with silver maples, liquid ambers, sycamores and more in the downtown area. From the Quincy Junction, take Chandler Road for valley vistas of color or follow Spanish Creek toward Buck’s Lake for dogwood, Big Leaf maple and groves of aspen and creek willow a few miles beyond the lake. Just beyond Quincy, take either the steep, 45 minute drive to LaPorte and experience spectacular color along canyons, meadows and creek beds; or stay on Hwy 70 to Cromberg for another view of oak, cottonwood, and dogwood on the hillsides, roadsides and mountaintops.
  • Graeagle, Portola, Beckwourth Area: For golfers who also want to take in the fall foliage, golden cottonwoods, willows, and aspen stand along the Middle Fork of the Feather River and can also be found on the short trip from from Graeagle to Johnsville and Pluma-Eureka State Park. For fishermen, the yellow aspen are stand-outs on the way to Lake Davis . And according to the Fall Color Guide, “A must-see destination for leaf-peepers is over the Gold Lake Highway into the pristine, rugged Lakes Basin Recreation area.” Also, just east of Beckwourth, a loop road can be found which turns north onto the Beckwourth-Genesse Road and continues into Clover Valley where aspen, oak, willow, deerbrush and bitter cherry can be found (off pavement onto gravel road). Or continue on this loop road to Frenchman Lake on the road with that name. This road meets Hwy 70 once again at Chilcoot.

For further directions and a wonderful map, why not stop in to the Quincy Museum or Plumas County Visitor’s Bureau and pick up your own copy of the beautiful Fall Color Guide, or go to their website and look at the up-to-date leaf-peeper reports!

Information courtesy of (1-800)-326-2247