Hiking Trails - Perry Van Houten

Fun fall hikes in forest, minus bugs, crowds and heat

web pvh Fall Color 4
Ojai Valley News photos by Perry Van Houten
Fall is a colorful time of year in the Sespe Creek area of Los Padres National Forest. According to USFS botanist Lloyd Simpson of Ojai, deciduous trees like cottonwoods and sycamores change color in response to the amount of daylight they get, a clue that winter is coming. The trees shut down their food-making process (photosynthesis), and the chlorophyll that makes that process possible and gives leaves their green color begins to break down. As the chlorophyll disappears from the leaves, the yellow and orange colors that were there all along begin to show.


Fall is my favorite time of year to hike in these three areas of Los Padres National Forest, since temperatures are down and summer crowds and bugs are gone. Autumn is also an ideal time to go because the trees are changing color. Be sure to dress in layers and check the weather forecast before heading out. Take a friend and tell someone where you’ve gone and when you’ll be returning.

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