Who says Southern California doesn’t have seasons? Grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, pack a picnic and go visit the best autumn experience in Riverside County. The San Jacinto Mountains, from where much of the water flows in the Santa Ana River Watershed, are lush with opportunity for enjoying fall foliage in places like the Idyllwild Nature Center, Hurkey Creek Park, and Lake Hemet. These rustic locales are the perfect places to see leaves that change color, catch some seasonal sights, and have an adventure close enough for a weekend drive.
The Idyllwild Nature Center is a great place to start your fall tour with its serene setting, perfect for relaxing. Or you can choose to be more active by going hiking, biking, or horseback riding on several of the beautiful trails. The area also has a wide variety of trees that are sure to get you in the mood of the season.
Hurkey Creek Park, located in Mt. San Jacinto State Park, is another great getaway with a seasonal creek, regal pine trees, and stunning mountain views. There are opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and hiking. For the Weekend Warrior types, there is a 10-mile bike course that is used for mountain biking competitions each year.
A mile away in Lake Hemet, a popular spot in Southern California for camping and fishing, is a place where you will want to have your camera at the ready. The year-round beauty of the lake is breathtaking, brimming with wildlife like majestic eagles and hawks, and the early fall is a great time to see the colors of the new season.
The San Jacinto Mountains have enough fall-time bliss to keep you there for the weekend. Enjoy the season in the Santa Ana River Watershed and all the natural beauty that it has to offer. Just remember to recycle that coffee cup, or any other trash, while you are enjoying the scenery.