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  • Writer's pictureKern River's Edge Team

What is leaf peeping and where should you go leaf peeping?

Unless you're a diehard fan of autumn, the term "leaf peeping" might not mean much to you. Put simply, leaf peeping is the act of appreciating the changing colors of fall foliage. While that might not sound like much, leaf peeping can be a truly wonderful experience—one that's well worth seeking out if you've never done it before. Here's a closer look at what leaf peeping is and why you should give it a try this autumn.

What Is Leaf Peeping?

As we mentioned above, leaf peeping is the act of enjoying the changing colors of fall foliage. Typically, peak leaf-peeping season runs from mid-September through November in most parts of the United States. That said, the precise timing can vary depending on your location. In general, though, you'll want to wait until at least mid-September before heading out in search of colorful leaves.

Why Leaf Peep?

Leaf peeping is more than just admiring pretty leaves—although that's certainly part of the appeal. For many people, leaf peeping is also about getting outside and enjoying nature during a time of year when the weather is usually quite pleasant. And if you happen to live in an area with particularly stunning fall foliage, leaf peeping can also be a great way to support your local tourist economy by spending money at businesses catering to leaf peepers.

Where to Leaf Peep

One of the best things about leaf peeping is that you can do it just about anywhere in the world where deciduous trees grow. Of course, some places are better for leaf peeping than others. In North America, some of the most popular leaf-peeping destinations include Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and upstate New York in the northeastern United States; Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in the Midwest; and Oregon, Washington state, and California on the West Coast.

What to Bring on Your Leaf Peeping Trip

In addition to your camera (or phone), there are a few other essential items you'll want to bring on your leaf peeping adventure. A thermos filled with hot coffee or tea will keep you warm as you stroll through the crisp autumn air. A picnic blanket is also a good idea, so you can enjoy a snack while surrounded by the beautiful colors of fall. And last but not least, don't forget to pack some comfortable walking shoes; you'll be doing a lot of walking as you explore all the different leaf peeping spots!

Leaf peeping in Kern County? Here are some hotspots to check out:


If you're looking for a place to go leaf peeping that's close to home, Kernville is a great option. Kernville is surrounded by mountains, with the Kern River and Lake Isabella nearby creating beautiful backdrops. There are also plenty of hiking trails around the area, so you can make a day out of it.

The Breckenridge Trail

The Breckenridge Trail is a short but sweet hike that packs a big punch. This trail is located within the Sequoia National Forest and boasts stunning views of the Sierras. The trail is relatively easy to follow and is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, depending on your fitness level. In addition to being one of the best places for leaf peeping in Kern County, the Breckenridge Trail is also a great spot for bird watching. So keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready!


Ponderosa is a beautiful drive about two hours northeast of Bakersfield. The area is home to many hiking trails, all of which offer stunning views of the surrounding foliage. Ponderosa is also a great place to picnic or go for a leisurely walk with family and friends. Add a stop to touch and feel the Giant Sequoias in our nearby ancient grove.

Kern River Preserve

The Kern River Preserve is a great place to see some wildlife while you're leaf peeping. The preserve is home to bald eagles, ospreys, and other birds of prey. You might even see some migrating Monarch butterflies! In addition to the wildlife, the Kern River Preserve is also full of beautiful autumn foliage.

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