November 2022 Activity: Laguna Mountains

Join us for our November 2022 activity: once more, we’re trying to chase the elusive fall colors in San Diego — this time in the lovely Laguna Mountains, where we go for a leisurely hike on the Wooded Hill Nature Trail. Open to the public. Continue reading if you’re interested.

As usual, this is not a Sierra Club outing. No Sierra Club Certified Outing Leader will be present. You may join, leave and participate at your leisure on the scheduled date, and at your own risk.

Fall Colors in Southern California

Granted, we don’t have the massive fall color displays of the New England states or the Eastern Sierra here in San Diego County. But when the conditions are right, we do get some nice colors on the Black Oaks (Quercus kelloggii) that grow at the higher elevations. Falls colors can also be observed on willows and cottonwoods, and depending on the exact location, this might go on into January, in the desert canyons for example. But we’re looking for fall colors when it’s actually fall. 😉


  • Date: Saturday, November 12, 2022
  • Time: 2.30 PM start of hike (2:15 PM get together)
  • Location: Wooded Hill Nature Trail, Laguna Mountains (Google Maps)
  • Fees: $5 Day Pass, $35 Annual National Forest Adventure Pass, or Annual Interagency Pass (America The Beautiful)
    (Day Pass and Annual Pass can be purchased at the Visitor Center)

Wooded Hill is, as the name says, a wooded hill (really!) and a short 1.2 mile loop hike leads to the highest (still wooded) point. The occasional views do open up, especially to the south-west and south, all the way into Mexico. This is an easy hike but it does have uphill and downhill sections and the trail is a narrow, single-track trail. You should have good shoes and be sure footed.

Photographic Thoughts, Gear

With our mid-afternoon start, we’re hoping for some angled direct sunlight that will bring the autumn foliage to a nice glow. This will mean high contrast situations where you probably want to use your exposure compensation to make sure you don’t blow out the highlights. A polarizing filter is a pretty good item to have in your camera bag so that you can reduce harsh glare and capture the pure golden color.

Depending on what you want to photograph, any lens from wide angle through normal to telephoto can be useful — or even a macro lens, if you’re looking to capture details in foliage that has already fallen to the ground, and such. Or a super telephoto lens, if you’re looking for some birds to photograph, of course!

A tripod isn’t a must, but as always, it will help with more precise framing, keeping your ISO lower for noise-free images, so it is generally advised for more precision and control over what you’re doing. 😉

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