Fall Hiking Season is Here!


The air is cooler, the visibility from the summits are usually better than in the summer, and the leaves on the trees can make the trail glow as if it was on fire.

There’s nothing like that first feeling when the fall season has finally arrived. For me, it’s usually when I’m going out the door on an October morning on my way to work and feeling that familiar chill in the air that I haven’t felt in the last six months. And in Southern California, that chill may only be for a couple of days in October because of our fickle climate. The east coast and midwest know how to turn down the heat when fall arrives but no, not SoCal.

First signs of fall on Jones Peak in Sierra Madre, CA. – September 30, 2017, 8:51 am

That’s ok because all you need to do is venture out of suburbia and into the local mountains to be pleasantly reminded that fall is upon us. Hiking in the fall is my favorite time to hike, period. The air is cooler, the visibility from the summits are usually better than in the summer, and the leaves on the trees can make the trail glow as if it was on fire.

Maples aglow in Zion – November 3, 2013, 1:00 pm

Fallen Maple leaves along the trail through Icehouse Canyon – October 21, 2017, 7:53 am

One of my favorite fall hiking destinations is Zion National Park. Not only do all the reasons in the above paragraph apply, they are also amplified. The fall colors in Zion are the best I’ve ever seen. You readers in the midwest, east coast, and other parts of the world can argue that, and I would not rebut. I’ve seen the fall season in so many photos from other parts of the US and other countries. I envy you! Zion is a close and affordable getaway for me though when I really want to get that fall experience. The hotel prices drop by 50% in the fall, winter, and early spring. It is also much less crowded. A HUGE plus when you’re on the trails, especially to Angels Landing. And the first two weeks in November will often give you temperatures very similar to Southern California. So I get to hike Zion in comfortable weather as opposed to the blistering temperatures, and congested trails of summer, and I get to see the glowing colors of fall in a grand display. Also, the flash flood season is over by then. The Virgin River is beautiful when the waters are crystal clear, until there’s a flash flood. Once that happens, the waters turn to chocolate milk for days. Not the most attractive, though some Willy Wonka fans may disagree.

The Virgin River meandering it’s way through The Narrows – November 3, 2013, 1:51 pm

So, if you haven’t been able to spend time on the trails as of late, I would like to encourage you to do so. There’s a whole other fall world out there to discover. You also don’t need to drive hundreds of miles to a National Park either. Some of you may be lucky enough to live very close (within walking distance perhaps?) to a fall wonderland. And if not, I sincerely hope you’re close enough.


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