About the Area

Gateway to the Sierra

High elevation lakes defined by towering conifers, deeply carved river valleys and huge granite monoliths describe the Sierra National Forest and epitomize mountain California landscapes.

Niche Map2Extreme elevation changes provide diverse vegetation from grasslands to sub-alpine meadows. The Sierra NF is the gateway to the Sierra Nevada including the intensely visited Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Nearly 50% of the Forest is Wilderness offering solitude and vast open space as part of one of the largest contiguous blocks of wilderness in the continental United States. Outfitter-guides help provide quality recreational experiences. (Select the image map to download the niche map in PDF format.)

Special Places

Viewing Nature  

Sierra National Forest is a wonderful place to visit any time of year, but fall is especially nice for a number of reasons. Fall colors and few crowds make for a wonderful and relaxing time of year.

In general, fall in the Sierra National Forest lasts from the end of September until late November, depending on elevation.

Like all natural events, fall depends on local climatic conditions. The amount of rainfall and the nighttime temperatures both play important roles in determining fall colors.

The Sierra National Forest has several species of trees and shrubs that begin to change color at this time of year. These include oaks, cottonwood, willows and shrubs at the lower elevations, dogwoods at the mid elevations and aspen at the higher elevations.