When it comes to fall foliage, California doesn’t usually come to mind for transplanted East Coasters longing to see psychedelic reds and oranges. But the state’s diverse landscape offers plenty of color—from the high elevations of the Sierras to the mellow redwood forests of Humboldt County.

The season starts with the autumnal equinox on Sept. 23, a time when the sun stands directly over the equator, according to NASA. From this point on, days and nights become more equal in length across the Northern Hemisphere.

During the autumn, temperatures gradually drop. The coastal fog that lingers through summer lifts in many areas, though it can still form along the Pacific coastline and at inland lakes. And in the desert, temperatures gradually cool from the scorching summer highs.

At the same time, the leaves of deciduous trees begin to change color in Northern California, a sight that is particularly spectacular among the towering redwoods in Humboldt County and around Eureka. But you can also find fall colors in the mountains and at higher elevations in the Shasta Cascade region. In Gold Country, where fortune-seekers planted sugar maples and American sweetgums in the 19th century, you can admire their vibrant golden hues.

The leaves of native plants and shrubs turn a range of colors in fall as well, from a bright orange to purple. In the North Bay, for example, skunkbush (Rhus trilobata) glows a striking red in fall—though its invasive cousin, poison oak, turns a much more ominous shade of dark purple.