As the air becomes crisper and the sun a little lower in the sky, we welcome the changing of the seasons and the vivid hues that Autumn’s fall foliage brings. And what better place to witness this annual change than in Napa Valley – where the stretches of vineyards along the valley floor and hillsides, along with a plethora of native trees, turn brilliant shades of gold, orange, and crimson. Pack up your car for a stunning road trip, and be sure to experience the vibrance of Fall paired with fragranced breezes of fermenting grapes in Napa Valley during harvest!
When is the best time to see fall colors in Napa Valley?
The best time to see fall colors in Napa Valley typically occurs from late October through November. Fall hues start to appear in September, when the trees begin to change colors, and by late October most trees show off their vibrant foliage. The peak time for fall foliage happens in November, when the vineyards throughout Napa Valley display brilliant golden and crimson hues. The vines usually keep their colorful shades until the end of the month.
Napa Valley's warm sunny days and cooler nights intensify the autumn foliage colors, and the gradual transition from warm summer to cooler fall temperatures lasts several months, contributing to the prolonged fall foliage.
Where are the best places to see fall colors?
Popular spots for fall color in Napa Valley often include vineyards along the Silverado Trail and Highway 29, spots on the valley floor like Yountville and Rutherford, and hikes in the hills to the east and west of the valley like Bothe-Napa Valley State Park and the Oat Hill Mine Trail. We recommend making reservations at the wineries and restaurants along the busy roads, so you can sit and relax with a glass of wine and take in the scenery.
Below are a few location suggestions to get you started.
Wineries with scenic fall colors
Domaine Carneros in Napa
Domaine Carneros offers a breathtaking winery experience, with its elegant French chateau style building and scenic gardens set on a hilltop overlooking the Carneros region. Relax and enjoy a sparkling wine tasting on the large, beautiful terrace while taking in the scenery. In the fall, the estate vineyards turn brilliant shades of red and orange.
Far Niente Winery in Oakville
The driveway leading up to Far Niente Winery's gates is lined with 100 gingko trees, which all turn a vibrant golden yellow in the fall, making this a popular spot every year. Book a tasting appointment to continue beyond their famous iron gates where you will be treated to stellar wines, surrounded by acres of impeccably landscaped gardens and beautiful views of the valley.
Rutherford Hill Winery in Rutherford
Pack a picnic and head to this hilltop property to enjoy bottle service and scenic views of a colorful Napa Valley from the winery’s Oak Grove. Since 1972, Rutherford Hill has crafted Bordeaux inspired wines and is celebrated as a pioneer for California Merlot – perfect to pair with the autumn environment!
Beringer Vineyards in St. Helena
Beringer Vineyards is a must-see for its beauty and history, especially in the fall when the grounds display stunning fall colors. As California's oldest continually operating winery, the historic (and incredibly picturesque) Rhine House and original buildings exude Napa Valley charm. Over 200 acres of grounds with trees, seasonal gardens, and vineyards showcase fall foliage like none other!
Chateau Montelena Winery in Calistoga
Award-winning wines and Instagram-worthy photos against a colorful ivy-covered castle backdrop await at Chateau Montelena in Calistoga. After your wine tasting, walk the estate grounds which include a scenic lake with boardwalk and Chinese gardens – the perfect backdrop for autumn color.
Experiences & activities with the best fall scenery
Hess Persson Estates near Napa
Adventure by ATV through a colorful collage of rolling vineyard rows atop Mount Veeder at Hess Persson Estates’ Mont La Salle vineyard. Take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the historic estate before enjoying a wine and culinary pairing.
Hikers are in for a treat with any one of Active Wine Adventures’ private elevated hikes and wine tours. And the valley’s fall foliage provides an inspirational setting to ascend secluded trails to view the incredible vistas while savoring Napa Valley wine and picnic bites.
Napa Valley Gondola in Downtown Napa
Experience romantic and autumnal vibes aboard an authentic venetian gondola as it glides on the Napa River with Napa Valley Gondola. This route will pass the charming exteriors of downtown Napa and weave around the tree-lined banks and quiet woodland areas just north of downtown.
One of the best ways to enjoy the colors of fall is from a hot air balloon floating above the valley. With views of the vineyards and rolling hills stretching for miles, enjoy the kaleidoscope of colors from a bird's eye view. Check out these options:
Scenic walks, hikes, and drives
Drive Silverado Trail/CA-121 and Highway 29
A fall foliage trip isn’t complete without cruising up Silverado Trail/CA-121 (on the east side of the valley) from Carneros to Calistoga and then back down the valley via Highway 29 (on the west side of the valley) as the sun sets on the Mayacamas mountains.
Oak Knoll Avenue near Napa
Drive the tree-lined valley crossroad that closely cuts through the vineyards showcasing nature’s glory along the way with its vivid display of autumn colors. The tree-lined driveway from Oak Knoll Avenue leading up to Trefethen Family Vineyards is also spectacular in the fall.
A walk in this beautiful park is spectacular in the fall. Hike through a mixed forest of oaks, redwoods, and other deciduous trees, and enjoy views of the valley below.
This hiking trail near Calistoga offers scenic views of the valley, and in the fall, you can expect to see some colorful foliage along the way.
Napa Valley Vine Trail from Napa to Yountville
Explore the changing of colors by biking or walking this trail between Napa and Yountville, taking in vineyard views to the east and the west.
Downtown St. Helena
Stroll north along tree-lined sidewalks on St. Helena’s Main Street and continue beyond the shops to see historic Victorians. By car, head further north to pass through the “tree tunnel” between Beringer Winery and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Stop at the latter to enjoy the grounds, grab a snack at the café, and capitalize on photo ops at the castle flanked by a colorful hillside.