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California fall colors: Easy L.A. getaway to Valyermo's red blush

Take a day trip to Valyermo and Palomar Mountain State Park to see last of the season's fall colors

If you haven't seen any fall colors in California this season, there's still hope -- but just a little. In Southern California, colors are showy in the tiny community of Valyermo in north L.A. County and along waterways at Mt. Palomar State Park in north San Diego County.

The leaves may not last long, particularly if Santa Ana winds start blowing. California's fall color season began at high elevations in September and ends in the flatlands in late November. It's a good long run,  especially when other parts of the country are already deep in snow.

Trees in Valyermo turned bright red this week and likely will last at least through the weekend.

Color spotter Frank McDonough of the L.A. County Arboretum and Botanic Garden reported in CaliforniaFallColor.com that he visited Valyermo (not far from Palmdale and Antelope Valley) and was "amazed at the intensity of the fall color. It's easily 70% to 80% there."

There are other good reasons to go to Valyermo too.

Late fall is perfect to tour the Benedictine monastery at Saint Andrew's Abbey and stop at the gift shop where monks make ceramic angels to sell to the public. Not far from the abbey is the Devil's Punchbowl, a canyon of twisted and folded rock slabs that you can hike down into.

But back to the colors.

Scott Turner reports that Palomar Mountain State Park  has come into its own. Look for black oaks turning orange which are just about at peak near Doane Pond, in the Lower Doane Valley and along part of the Weir Trail (Here's a trail map you can follow.)

For those tight on time, a quick trip to the L.A. County Arboretum in Arcadia will show exotics turning colors through Thanksgiving, the website says.

Urban landscapes in the Santa Clara Valley, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and Sacramento are peaking now too.

Info: CaliforniaFallColor

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