Celebrate Fall in the Santa Clara Valley!

Every evening, the sun slips behind the Santa Cruz Mountain Range a bit earlier. Shorter days and golden, parched hills mean autumn has arrived in the Santa Clara Valley.

With the fall harvest, colorful leaves, and wildlife spotting opportunities, this is one of the best times of year to get outside! Here are some of our favorite ways to experience fall in the Santa Clara Valley.

martial-cottle-harvest-fest-october-2017-102Enjoy the Harvest Season

Get hands on with fall foods at a family-friendly U-Pick farm or visit a local pumpkin patch. On September 26, The Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch opens on a 60-acre plot on Laguna Avenue and Santa Teresa Boulevard in Coyote Valley. This land was permanently protected by the Open Space Authority in the fall of 2021 to establish sustainable, local climate-smart agricultural practices within the Coyote Valley Conservation Program Area. The pumpkin patch will run through November 6, with a variety of offerings for youth, families, and others looking for fall fun in the South Bay.

Acer Macrophylla - TC - 10-30-2009 - 3-2Take in the Fall Colors
You don’t have to travel far to see seasonal color in our local landscapes. Head out to any preserve in October and November to spot vibrant yellows and the occasional pops of orange and red in deciduous trees and shrubs.

Some trees to seek out: Bigleaf maples, turn reddish-yellow and are found in all the preserves near streams and creeks; Western sycamores, turn yellow and orangish brown and are commonly found beside creeks or wetlands; Valley Oaks, turn yellowish-brown.

Visitors can also look forward to spotting the bright red berries of the toyon shrub, or "Christmas berry," that begin to appear later in the fall and early winter. Note: some of the red shrubby plants you might see are poison oak, so be sure to admire those bold colors from a distance!

When driving through Santa Clara Valley’s wine country in the fall, along the back roads near Morgan Hill and Gilroy, watch for rich red and copper leaves on the grape vines. 

Rancho - DN - 11-02-2014 Savor Cooler Temperatures
Fall is a great time to explore the farther reaches of our local open space preserves, with cool temperatures for extended outings and little chance of rain. Explore the options and download our trail maps here.

CVAL - Says Phoebe - D.Mauk - Jan-20-2018 - 2Watch for Migratory Birds
Each fall, hundreds of species of migratory birds flock to the Bay Area seeking refuge from the freezing temperatures in the north, either to pass through winter or as a stop en route to Latin America. Our local Coyote Valley, with its large expanse of valley land connecting the Diablo and Santa Cruz Mountain ranges, is a great place to spot some of these seasonal birds. Say's phoebes, yellow-rumped warblers, white-crowned and golden-crowned sparrows, and a variety of waterfowl are just some of many autumn bird species that you can find in the region.

Learn more about some of these birds you might see in our Birdwatcher’s Guide to Coyote Valley.

Tarantula 10 - CH - 9-09Halloween is Coming - Look for Creepy-Crawlies!
The California brown tarantula may look intimidating, but they aren’t generally aggressive towards humans when left alone. In fact, their venom is really only effective against beetles, grasshoppers, and small spiders. Tarantulas are nocturnal and live underground for most of the year, but in early fall they come out at other hours in search of mates – the Open Space Authority hosted a few tarantula-spotting events back in September. You can still watch for them on your own throughout the season, and just remember to keep a respectful distance if you see one – like any wildlife! Look for them alongside the trails at Rancho Cañada del Oro (especially along the Llagas Creek Trail), at Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve, and on the Longwall Canyon Trail through Calero County Park.

October 02, 2019
For media inquiries contact:

Charlotte Graham

Public Information Officer